ARC Review: Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes

Title:  Girl Against the Universe

Author: Paula Stokes

Published by: 17 May 2016 | HarperTeen

Date Read: 12 June 2016

Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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.


Girl Against The Universe gives us the story of Maguire – a girl who believes that the universe is all up against her; She’s cursed and all the bad lucks that the world could give has made its way to her.

“There’s a thing that sometimes happens in your brain when you’re the only survivor of a horrific accident. Part of you is happy because you’re alive, but the rest of you is devastated. Then the sad part beats up the happy part until nothing is left, until all you feel is terrible sorrow for the people who didn’t make it. And Guilt. Guilt because you wonder if the Universe made a mistake. Guilt because you know you’re not any better than those who died.”

Maguire has experienced a series of tragic and unfortunate events throughout her life – a car accident, a roller coaster accident and a fire accident.

With her mind on set that the world is all set up against her she begin to start having her five-second check ritual and even carries charm or lucky trinkets wherever she goes. With the help of her therapist, she takes on challenges that would help her mental struggles and reaching her summer goal – To Ride an Airplane to Ireland.

She’s determined to move past the life that she’s living right now and step out of her comfort zone.

“And Loneliness is just like everything else – if you endure it long enough, you get used to it.”

Maguire is coping not living.

To us readers or to us who are not on her place, we might simply think that maybe she was just unfortunately placed smacked in the middle of these bad circumstances – a case of wrong place at the wrong time – easier said than done, that’s what would Maguire said to us. With these tragic events that happened to her, Maguire’s state of mind was already set differently, it makes her feel guilty so she do the best that she can to protect the people around her even if it sacrifices her own happiness.

From the first chapter, I already begin cheering on for Maguire. She’s a very strong female lead. I love her determination and courage to conquer what she’s on to and has her mind set on her goal. There are mishaps in the middle and it is definitely not an easy task to do but Maguire take it one little step at a time.

Of course, there is the romance part on the story as well. A fluffy, cuddly ball of romance. *squeee* Jordy is a famous Tennis Player and despite of the things that is going on on his own life I really appreciate all his efforts in helping Maguire. The sparks are definitely there between Maguire and Jordy. I like how they were able to relate and help each other along the way. Add in the fact that both of them loved Tennis! Playing it has become an outlet for the both of them.

I really appreciate the great support system that Maguire has on this story – family and friends. It was definitely not an easy road to take but with the right support system, in time, everything will work out, right? Maguire’s relationship with her mother and step-dad is quite rocky at the beginning but it was so heartwarming to see their support to her. Their love is evident and shoots thru the heart.

The subject of this book – PTSD, OCD, Anxiety and such – are not easy topics but what I really liked is despite the heavy topics, Paula Stokes was able to convey it on a very light way. I like how she handled Maguire’s struggles. The story feels realistic and genuine.

“Sometimes terrible things happen and its no ones fault. Sometimes we do the best we can and still have bad outcomes.”

As I turn the last page of the book, I was able sigh happily. I’m happy that Jordy and Maguire were able to conquer their struggles. Seeing both of them overcome it was all so worth the *some* stresses along the way. Girl Against The Universe is a very empowering and uplifting story filled with family love, tennis, self-challenges and a fluffy ball of romance. You will definitely want to pick this one up.


3 thoughts on “ARC Review: Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes

  1. Nerdybirdy @ Daydreaming Books says:

    I’ve been dying to get myself a copy of this book and your review makes me even more eager! Hope that I can read it soon enough. Loved your review!

  2. Rabia says:

    Oh my gosh! I’m somewhat of a name nerd and I must have this book pronto because I love the name Maguire for a girl and because of this glowing review. Thanks

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