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Summer Standalone | Book Review: Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes

Girl Against the Universe is definitely a YA contemporary you’ll want to pick up!

Book Review: Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes

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girl against the universe paula stokes book review

Title & Author: Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes

Genre: Young Adult – Contemporary

Release Date: May 17, 2016

Series: Standalone

Publisher: HarperCollins

How I Got the Book: ARC via the publisher


“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.”

Thinking Positive Thoughts

Let’s start this post off right: GUSH TIME. Girl Against the Universe is such a great contemporary book with a long list of things I love.

I’ve been a fan of Paula Stokes’ work for awhile (I especially enjoyed her most recent book, The Art of Lainey), but this is by far my favorite book by her.

About this book: Maguire is a pretty normal girl…well except for one tiny thing. She think’s she’s bad luck and is pretty sure she wrecks havoc wherever she goes. She’s working through her fears in therapy, and meets a cute boy who’s also working through his own challenges. And just maybe they can help and encourage each other.

Here are a few reasons why I loved Girl Against the Universe:

  • I loved the portrayal of therapy – I’m a huge proponent of therapy and loved that Maguire’s irrational thoughts are addressed and worked through the entire book. So healthy and wonderful.
  • Jordy is a wonderful teen boy character – Don’t get me wrong. He’s still a teenage BOY, but it’s so refreshing to read a male character who isn’t stereotypically overly cocky and/or girl crazy. He’s just adorable and realistic and precious.
  • Book parents are present and accounted for – So many parents in YA lit are absent. I get why (parents ask too many questions and would definitely foil plots), but I so appreciated Maguire’s family – how they stuck it out were generally very supportive.
  • I loved the journey – Fear and irrational thoughts are so challenging to overcome. I was completely engaged in Maguire’s progress and growth. She’s definitely a character I felt I could root for.

This has been the year of the contemporary novel for me. And, at the top is definitely Girl Against the Universe.

And even though many people can’t relate to Maguire’s specific issue, I loved how her problems were still very relatable. I understand believing something that isn’t true about yourself and letting it control your self-worth and self-esteem.

Also, the romance is so wonderful in this one. I don’t think I mentioned that enough – ADORBS.


If you’re looking for a fun but deep summer read, look no further. Girl Against the Universe is a strong standalone contemporary for fans of Miranda Kenneally and Kasie West – recommended.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.
  • AnneBennett

    I’m thinking this is a book for me and for my library. 1. It sounds like it has some humor in it. We need more humor. 2. It sounds like the therapy is credible. I hate it when the author didn’t invest in good research on this topic. 3. I like solid, kind boy characters. 4. I am sick of books where the adults are absent. Yay, this one breaks that mold.

  • Chat Ebooks

    Loved the book! I think this is one of the most interesting books worthy of re-reading. The author’s portrayal of mental illness and therapy is believable, making it more interesting. Highly recommended!