Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: May 17, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 382
Format: e-ARC
Source: Edelweiss

Purchase/Pre-order: Amazon ◊ Barnes & Noble

From the author of The Art of Lainey and Liars, Inc. comes a fresh, contemporary story about one girl’s tragic past and a boy who convinces her that maybe her luck is about to change. Perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen or Jenny Han.

Maguire knows she’s 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 her brother, father, and uncle were all killed in a car crash—and Maguire walked away with barely a scratch. But then on her way out of her therapist’s office, she meets Jordy, an aspiring tennis star, who wants to help Maguire break her unlucky streak. Maguire knows that the best thing she can do for Jordy is to stay away, but staying away may be harder than she thought.

Quick Thoughts and Rating: 4 stars! Ms. Stokes has an effortless way with balancing the beauty of real-life angst and falling in love in all of her novels. With genuine characters on deliberate paths to bettering themselves, you can’t help but fall in love with Girl Against the Universe and cheer on Maguire and Jordy as the Universe conspires against them and they fight back.

♥ Review: In Girl Against the Universe we discover two teens struggling to find a balance in their lives. Maguire is a girl plagued with one tragedy after the next, ones that always seem to happen around her, and even though she knows it isn’t logical, she’s come to believe that she’s cursed. It’s when her mother forces her to seek a therapist’s help that she runs into Jordy, a local tennis player on the fast-track to pro athlete stardom and having issues of his own. With parents that dictate his life and publicists that tell him where to be, how to look, and what to say, he feels like he doesn’t have much of his own voice or thought left anywhere in his body. Each of them is on a journey of self discovery, Maguire trying to take back what the Universe stole from her and Jordy trying to find his own self amidst all the other voices commanding every choice he makes about everything in his daily life. In each other, they find a partner to help with “shrink homework” and their own personal challenges to achieve the ultimate goal they’ve set for themselves. And maybe they’ll even get lucky and find love, too!

There’s really not much else I can aside from the things that I’ve already teased about at the top of this review. Stokes really does have a way of pulling you in to her stories and writing characters that are so achingly real, that you can’t help but hurt for them, be happy for them, and ultimately cheer them on toward their happily ever afters. Often times we like to read books that take us completely out of our own world, but then there are other times when you want to read about characters that you can relate to and sympathize with, stories that make you feel connected. This author is one that seems to write those kinds of books with ease, and her latest publication is no different. I really loved Maguire and Jordy—enjoyed watching their individual progression and seeing the chemistry build between them as a loving relationship blossomed. I thought they were perfectly suited for one another, and I delighted in watching everything unfold naturally between them as they worked on their own personal battles. I truly liked their personal growth and how it seemed authentic in its development, complete with setbacks and successes. Stokes also included some magnificent secondary characters, a few of those being very involved parents, and I enjoyed their addition in the story and how they helped our characters and the pacing of the book along.

Basically, the short of it is this: If you love books that contains characters you can connect with, a storyline that pulls you in and takes you on journey of hurt and healing, and an author that has the ability to manipulate your feelings, you don’t want to miss out on Paula Stokes’ latest publication. I’m pretty sure I’ll carry this novel in my heart for a long while.

♥ Teaser Quote: I’ll save Jordy’s swoony and funnier lines so that you can savor them on your own. This one feels like it covers Maguire’s plight/mentality better anyway.

    Jordy nods. “I promise I won’t let anything happen to you—to either of us.”
     I shake my head. “Don’t say that. Don’t make promises you can’t keep.” 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.
~ quote taken from the eARC of Girl Against the Universe at 37%

Book Rating Breakdown
General Book Feels
Cute, Fuzzies, Flutters

♥ Rec It? Yes! Paula Stokes always delivers in great characterizations and realistic storylines. I can’t wait for her next book!

♥ A very special thanks to HarperTEEN and Edelweiss for providing me with an advanced copy of this title.

*Disclaimer: An eARC of these title was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. However, that did not influence this review in any way. All thoughts, quotes, and opinions will be of this version and not of the published edition.

Full of giggles, flails, snark and Southern endearments. Avid Reader. Lover of swoony boys, kickass heroines, yummy kissing scenes, and pretty prose.

I like to draw hearts in the sky (eternal optimist) and wish on stars (forever dreamer). Documentaries, sweet tea, sleep, and brightly colored knee-socks are a few of my favorite things. ♥

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