Author: Paula Stokes

Girl Against the Universe ~ Review

17 Jun, 2016 by in Uncategorized Leave a comment

I received this book for free from HarperTeen in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Girl Against the Universe

by Paula Stokes
Published by Harper Teen on May 17th, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 382
Format: Hardcover
Source: HarperTeen
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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.


Wow! This book is long overdue and essential reading for teens struggling with anxiety, PTSD or OCD.  MacGuire is struggling after the loss of her father, brother and uncle in a car crash she survived. In a series of unrelated events, she’s convinced she causes accidents around her and is bad luck. After years of isolating from family and friends, her mom makes an appointment with a counselor. MacGuire is less than thrilled, determined to give the Dr. the silent treatment. But the stranger she meets in the waiting room may change the course of counseling. I laughed in parts and felt sad for the loss both main characters experience. But, the tone of the book is one of hope and change and progress. Paula Stokes lets teens know it’s okay to need help. She gracefully explores cognitive behavioral therapy and mental illness as it hits all groups, including popular athletes. Bravo for a precisely written YA contemporary that is not too heavy handed.

Content: teenage drinking, making out, sneaking out, mild swearing.


about_ the_author

Paula Stokes is half writer, half RN, and totally thrilled to be part of the world of YA literature. She started out writing historical fiction under a pen name and is now branching out into other YA genres.

When she’s not working (rare), she’s kayaking, hiking, reading, or seeking out new adventures in faraway lands. She’s petted tigers, snuggled snakes, snorkeled with stingrays, and once enjoyed the suction-cuppy feel of a baby elephant’s trunk as it ate peanuts from her palm. Her future goals include diving with Great White sharks, learning Krav Maga, and writing a whole slew of novels, not necessarily in that order.