Author: Paula Stokes
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Source: HarperTeen via Edelweiss
Maguire is bad luck.Review by Nara
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.
I often see books about mental illness falling on two sides of the spectrum. Either they're very dark and feels destroying, or they're almost too light, with a large focus on the romance and the romance sort of "curing" the main character rather than the protagonist evolving on their own (with or without the support of others). That's certainly not the case in Girl Against the Universe. I do admire authors who are able to take dark subject matter such as PTSD and other mental illnesses and make them into a relatively light and heartwarming without compromising the seriousness of the conditions.
What I liked most about the book, and what I'm sure most readers would find the most positive, was how well Stokes was able to develop the relationships between the characters. The romance, the friendships, the family dynamics- all were very well crafted and believable. I think a lot of this stemmed from the fact that Maguire was such a likeable character, meaning that any of the relationships involving her were easy to root for (be they friendship or romance).
Girl Against the Universe was a fantastically written book that managed to stay heartwarming despite the heavy subject matter. Paula Stokes is certainly well on her way to making it into my list of favourite authors.
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