Thursday, May 19, 2016

[Review: Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes]

"Girl Against the Universe"
Author: Paula Stokes
Series: None
Pages: 382
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Date Published: May 17th, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format Read: eARC provided by publisher (via Edelweiss) for honest review


From the author of The Art of Lainey and Liars, Inc. comes a fresh, contemporary story about one girl’s tragic past and a boy who convinces her that maybe her luck is about to change. Perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen or Jenny Han.

Maguire knows she’s bad luck. No matter how many charms she buys off the internet or good luck rituals she performs each morning, horrible things happen when Maguire is around. Like that time her brother, father, and uncle were all killed in a car crash—and Maguire walked away with barely a scratch. But then on her way out of her therapist’s office, she meets Jordy, an aspiring tennis star, who wants to help Maguire break her unlucky streak. Maguire knows that the best thing she can do for Jordy is to stay away, but staying away may be harder than she thought.

My Thoughts:

This book is straight up huggable. It's cute, but it's also daring. Add in the fact that there is a dark streak that runs through it, and you have a very dynamic book. On top of all of that it's a story about mental illness, sports, and finding a way to help yourself.

I found myself instantly taken in by Maguire's struggles. She believes that she's cursed, because she's lucky. She manages to live and walk away from things that leave the people around her either hurt or dead, and she carries that around in a way that only makes sense to her. She's also a real tough cookie, and she's learned how to live her life in a way that makes sure no one has to know what she's dealing with. It's wonderful to see her walls come down, and to see her realize that her life doesn't have to be what she's been making it into. She's a likeable character, and it's easy to find yourself rooting for her as she deals with her heavy dose of survivors guilt, as well as other mental health issues. 
Stokes handles Maguire's struggles in a real, tangible way, and creates a story that everyone can connect to. And she adds so many light moments into the novel that it never feels too heavy.

I adore that Maguire and Jordy meet at their therapist's office. It makes the book so much more than just a book about tennis. It makes it about the struggles that people have as they try to uncover who they really are, and how they want to live their lives. 

Speaking of which, Jordy is an adorable love interest. He's got so much going on in his life, and yet he still takes time out of his busy, overly controlled, schedule to help Maguire learn how to help herself. He also gets a lot out of it himself. It's the cutest, and I'm so glad that this element is part of the book as well.

Add in the fact that Stokes throws in a bunch of secondary characters that are just as fleshed out as her main characters, and you've got a whole cast of awesome people, usually being awesome.

If you adore feel good books that deal with some tough issues, and hot tennis players, give this book a go!

  4 Unicorns = Close to perfect!

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