Girl Against the Universe

Girl Against the Universe

Girl Against the Universe

by Paula Stokes

Genre: YA Contemporary, YA Romance
Published: May 17th 2016
by HarperTeen




Sixteen-year-old Maguire knows the universe is against her. No matter how many charms she buys off the internet or good luck rituals she performs each morning, horrible things happen when she's around. Like that time the roller coaster jumped off its tracks. Or the time the house next door caught on fire. Or the time her brother, father, and uncle were all killed in a car crash--and Maguire walked away with barely a scratch.

Despite what her therapist tells her, Maguire thinks it's best to hide out in her room, far away from anyone she might accidentally hurt. But then she meets Jordy, an aspiring tennis star who wants to help her break her unlucky streak. Maguire knows that the best thing she can do for him is to stay away, but it turns out staying away might be harder than she thought.


Sometimes terrible things happen and it’s no one’s fault. Sometimes we do the best we can and still have bad outcomes.

I read Paula Stokes’ first two novels, The Art of Lainey and Liars Inc and enjoyed them, but I have to say that, in my opinion, Girl Against the Universe is Stokes’ best book yet.

Maguire is insistent that she has horrible luck. Numerous incidents happen where people around Maguire get hurt – or even die. To keep the people around her safe, Maguire stays locked up in her room, day after day. But Maguire learns that if she wants her luck to change she has to face her past.

Maguire is such a relatable and well-written protagonist. She’s gone through so much and it’s not hard to see why she feels like she’s cursed with such horrible luck. Maguire is the kind of protagonist you can’t help but root for, and her mental health is written in a way that is honest and realistic.

One of the best things about Girl Against the Universe are the wonderful relationships between the characters. Maguire is shown to have a wonderful relationship with her mother and stepfather, and there’s also a large emphasis on strong friendships. Every single relationship was written extremely realistically and with a surprising amount of attention to detail.

This book has it all: present familial dynamics, strong friendships, great characters, and a solid romance. If you’re a fan of contemporary YA, this is not something to miss.

Sometimes you don’t realize all the things a person does for you until they aren’t there to do them anymore.


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