Aug 22, 2016

review: Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes

“The world is full of holes and uneven seams, wrinkled places that you can’t make smooth, no matter how hard you try.”
― Paula Stokes, Girl Against the Universe

Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes 
Publication Date: May 17th 2016 
Pages: 382 
Series: Standalone 
Genre: Contemporary, Mental illness

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 roller coaster 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 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 may be harder than she thought.

Mental illness done right! 

Recently, some YA books have been romanticizing mental illnesses. A mental illness isn't romantic in any situation. A mental illness isn't some glamorous "lifestyle". People with mental illnesses aren't in any shape to start/have a relationship. Girl Against the Universe doesn't fall into those statements. 

Maguire believes she's bad luck. Her dad, uncle, and brother died in a car crash. But Maguire only walked away with a few cuts and bruises. People broke bones when a roller coaster jumps off its tracks but Maguire didn't break anything. She believes she set the house next door on fire and got everyone sick at the junior high sleepover. Maguire feels safest in her room, away from any possible victims. Until she joins the high school tennis team and meets Jordy.

So, I really loved Maguire! I loved her spunk and sarcasm but I really, really, REALLY loved Maguire because she decided she is going to be her own savior! Sure, she had help from Jordy, her parents and her therapist, but guess who really pushed Maguire? Herself.

Then we have Jordy. He's the hot, popular, professional tennis player. But, like Maguire, he's going through his own mental illness recovery. Magurie and Jordy friendship does turn into a relationsh- OKAY PUT DOWN THE  PITCHFORKS YA'LL. They both agree that they'll help each other out through their recovery's THEN advance their friendship into a romantic relationship. *sighs*
Let's just appreciate this book okay? :,) 

 The actual plot is back and forth with tennis, therapy sessions, Jordy and a few family moments. The story doesn't really spread out, I was fine with that. You probably assumed that Girl Against the Universe is this dark, emotional, deep story. I can't blame you! This book is focused on a mental illness recovery. But this book is isn't very dark. It stays bright and hopeful through Maguire's recovery! Also easier to read.


Highly recommended! Maguire's story is a meaningful and wonderful tale.

Happy Monday bookdragons! Are you going to read Girl Against the Universe? Have you read anything by Paula Stokes? Romanticizing mental illnesses: yes or no? Let's chat about!
 photo Anna sigh off _zpsldolpi09.png


  1. Ooh, this book sounds very interesting, I'll definitely be getting a copy of that. Maguire sounds like a great character too!


  2. This sounds really interesting! I'd like to read it:)

  3. This book sounds so good! I especially loved your paragraph about romanticizing mental illness. It's SUCH a big issue in books, media, life, etc. I love reading books that focus on mental illness but I often avoid them because I don't want to accidentally read something that is disrespectful and fails to portray the truth about mental illness. But I might give this one a shot! Loved this review, Anna! PS: I FINALLY did the Raven Cycle tag you tagged me in.

    1. Thank you! Much agreed. I was very pleased with this book (with the mental illness). Oh yay! I'm checking it out right now.

  4. Now I really need to read GAU!

  5. This one sounds really good! I didn't plan to read it, because I honestly thought it's just another book where it romanticized mental illness. But now I would definitely read it. I really like how they decide to help each other first BEFORE trying to start a relationship. Lovely review Anna!<3

    Tasya // The Literary Huntress

    1. I was debating that too! Me too. Thank you, Tasya!

  6. I hope I'll be able to get my hands on this one when my next paycheck comes. It's nothing like I've ever read before, but it sounds like a great read.
    I'm a bit out of the loop when it comes to books, so I haven't picked up on the romanticizing of mental illness. I don't think it's a good thing, of course. There are so many people out there who will think it's great to have a mental illness and will talk themselves into having one...

    x Envy
    Lost in Translation

    1. Yay! Enjoy, Envy. Oh it's very upsetting.

  7. I'm so freakishly excited for Girl Against the Universe, thanks to all the great stuff I've heard about it + you wrote about it. Plus, I've been meaning to read something by the author for AGES and I think this is a good place to start... this, or Vicarious, maybe. I hate when mental illness is romanticized - personally, I've never suffered from any type of it, but I saw people close to me battle their mental problems and it's obviously not something that'll just conveniently go away if one falls in love. Whoever came up with that concept... *rolls eyes*
    Wonderful review + pictures! :)
    Veronika @ The Regal Critiques

    1. Ahhh thank you so much!! Oh much agreed, Veronika.

  8. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one! You know how much I want to read it, so I'm really glad you enjoyed it. It sounds like the perfect blend between a deep and emotional story, and one of happiness and recovery. Your pictures in this post are so beautiful, too!

    1. Haha, me too! ;) I now hope you enjoy it Denise. Thank you!