Girl Against the Universe
by Paula Stokes
Publisher - HarperTeen 
Release Date - May 17 2016
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository

Maguire is 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 the rollercoaster jumped off its tracks. Or the time the house next door caught on fire. Or that time her brother, father, and uncle were all killed in a car crash—and Maguire walked away with barely a scratch.

It’s safest for Maguire to hide out in her room, where she can cause less damage and avoid meeting new people who she could hurt. But then she meets Jordy, an aspiring tennis star. Jordy is confident, talented, and lucky, and he’s convinced he can help Maguire break her unlucky streak. Maguire knows that the best thing she can do for Jordy is to stay away. But it turns out staying away is harder than she thought.

From author Paula Stokes comes a funny and poignant novel about accepting the past, embracing the future, and learning to make your own luck.
My Review
The Girl Against the Universe is unlike anything I haven't read before and it's the first I've read of Paula Stokes. It falls under the category of 'tough topic' books that I seem to be into reading more and more. It highlights so much in a way that we ourselves as readers can't really even comprehend to really understand when the person itself is actually going through it. 

Maguire the main character thinks she is cursed and each time something happens and she is left standing and unharmed. She starts to think that everything is her fault and that only the people around her and the people she loves gets hurt. She doesn't want to live her life like that, so when she starts seeing Daniel her doctor, he gives her shrink homework in the way of challenges and a final goal to overcome her fear and the rationality of her thought process. Maguire is a very unique character, your probably thinking that's a sign to say she is crazy - well that's her excuse anyways but reality of it all is she is damaged and delicate. Every single event that has fell upon her has taken a part of her soul and now with nothing remaining, she stuck with this hole in her and for so long she has come to accept it! With her luck diary and all her lucky charms and routines in the morning it's so heartbreaking and you are just rooting for her especially as her luck starts to change in the shape of a boy and a tennis racket.
“Some people think they can just decree that everything will be fine. The world doesn’t work like that. I’m not sure the world gives a crap about anyone’s promises, well-meaning or otherwise. Sometimes the Universe just takes what it wants.” 
After every session a boy - first known as 'Dolphin Boy' starts to talk to her. His name is actually Jordy, he is a world pro tennis star and his life has been documented for the entire world to see, but his parents like to control him and so over a period of time he has lost himself in the way that he actually doesn't know who he really is. So these challenges that Daniel gives is a way to unleash a Jordy that is both acceptable in the limelight and generally. I think it's safe to say and the rest of the reader community that we all want a Jordy! Jordy is everything that we need in a book boyfriend especially for the of Maguire. Paula created someone to relate and sympathise with. To look out for each other as well  a relationship that in itself is a goal and challenge for both of them, it opens up possibilities and feelings that they didn't realise could consume you. 

Another aspect of the novel that I loved was the tennis, it wasn't just a sport for both characters but it also represents their lives, each moment whether it's their internal challenges and battles going backwards and forwards. As well as how therapeutic just the motion and how you can get sucked into the game. It's like it's a competition with Maguire seeing if she can be better than she is and Jordy seeing if he can prove his parent's wrong. that he can go straight to internationals and be pro.

Another aspect was group of secondary characters that we had throughout the novel. When Maguire was starting to trust and let people in she became friends with girls from the tennis team, it was a big step for but which really made us feel rather proud of her accomplishing so much. As well as her friends we see a storyline with her doctor Daniel. It such a small one but I love connection and seeing his relationship and persona of his character through each of Maguire's therapy sessions. It's like he open ups with her.

Paula Stokes really has a way with her style and her writing, it's unputtadownable and completely mesmerising and a totally cute and adorable read. You will fall in love with it, as have I! And if you notice like I did that Pili from In Love With Handmade has her own awesome and amazing is that!!!!! 

Rating - 5


  1. A lot of people have really loved this, I can't wait to try it!

  2. I'm so happy to hear that you loved it, Emma!! I adore this book and not because I am a character in it, although that of course makes it extra special!

  3. Dying to read this one! Glad you loved it. :)

  4. I definitely need to bump this up my TBR! I really enjoy Stokes and I'm excited that she's written a character that is so realistic and deals with issues that are stigmatized by society but absolutely shouldn't be. I'm glad you enjoyed this one, dear--can't wait to pick it up myself!

  5. It's an interesting main character, that's for sure. I've been thinking about trying it myself :) Fabulous review!


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