Mental Health · Paula Stokes · YA · YA Romance

Girl Against The Universe by Paula Stokes

Hello everyone! It is a blog post day! Woohoo! Today’s blog post is a review on Girl 20170723_002525000_iOSAgainst The Universe by Paula Stokes. I finished this book July 19 and I was not planning on writing a review for it because my thoughts were pretty at peace with this book. So, I left it up to Instagram and BooksAmino, to let me know if they would like to read my thoughts on it. Well, over on Instagram Paula Stokes herself has voted yes to a review. PAULA STOKES. Did you guys catch that she is the author of the book for which I am about to spew my thoughts about? Naturally I told her, “no.” I am totally just kidding! I am not THAT cruel! And…here we are. Without further rambles, here we go…

Girl Against The Universe by Paula Stokes.

Published May 16, 2016 by Harper Teen.

My rating: 4/5 tennis balls.


“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 roller coaster 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 barley a scratch. It’s safest for Maguire to hide out in her room, where she can cause less damage and avoid 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 the best thing she could do for Jordy is to stay away. But it turns out staying away may be harder than she thought.”


I got this book in an UppercaseBox monthly subscription. If I were to see this book in the store I would probably pick it up and flip through it just based on the cover. It is bright, and ORANGE. It definitely will catch your eye. After reading the synopsis, however, I would have put this book back on the shelf. It sounds like every other YA Romance book out there. I am glad I gave this book a shot because it was not all I was expecting. It definitely gave me more than I thought it would.

20170713_175218435_iOSThis book sat on my TBR for over a year. I guess I just was not in the mood to read it. I was judging it, but now that I have read it, I know now that I would not have been ready to read this book a year ago. You know how sometimes the book picks you? That is what GATU did. It picked me. And at just the right time, I might add.

I’m about to get personal for a second, so brace yourself. I am currently in therapy. Seeing, and working with, a psychologist. Or as I like to call her, “Pro Problem Solver,” or, “Expert Untangler.”  I will not go into detail on why I’m going but this book deals with similar mind issues I am currently trying to straighten out. This book is pro-therapy and Paula does such a great job with it. Maguire, understandably, starts seeing a therapist in her new town and creates therapy challenges to help her get over her fear of being unlucky and causing people harm. Now that is not why I am going, but the work to help Maguire is work similar to which I am doing as well. This book sort of just drove all the exercises, the out of office work, the mantras home and reinforced all this is going to help me. This book is more of a pick me up, the wind beneath my wings, the extra push I need to keep going.

I find a lot of parallels to myself and Maguire in this book too, and I really like how Paul uses exercise, like tennis and running, as a way of helping Maguire cope. I myself use running in the same manner and I will swear by it helping my mental being strong today for it. Running, exercise in general, is doing wonders for my mental state. To see another person using that is awesome to me. It is a wonderful and healthy outlet to use. Another parallel is Maguire’s use of her fear and anxiety as a weapon to fight her off her thoughts of, well, fear and anxiety and it is her greatest tool. She uses them against each other. This is something that anxious people do daily and it is always nice to feel less crazy.

20170710_232000028_iOSThe most important thing that I like about this book is that Paula shows us this path to happiness, away from anxiety and depression, is a journey. It is not something that can be done immediately. It is not something that is easy, or painless. It is a process and it is a long one. It is hard, and most definitely painful. Some days are really bad. Maguire is going through serious emotions and actions that push her to the breaking point. This book is a delicate way of dealing with a very deep and misunderstood condition and I admire Paula in her writing it. She makes it fun to read the bad parts, she makes it easy to read the worse parts, and she makes you laugh even though your heart is breaking. It is not a deep plunge into the world of therapy, it is a gentle caress telling you it is okay to seek help and reach out when you think you need. Taking care of yourself is important. THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING. I think, anyways. Because if you are not right, nothing else will be right either.


I encourage people to read this book. Even if you are not the one going through the therapy. Even if you do not know anyone who is. This is a great book for everyone. It could help you in a way you were not expecting, or it could help you understand someone close to you who is going through some stuff. It could give you the strength to reach out for help, or be the one helping someone who needs it. I am glad this book is an Uppercase Box choice because that means it is going to touch someone else’s heart and mind like it does for me.

Thank you, Paula Stokes for this book, it helped me when I needed it most.


Live Long and Prosper,


Chelsea K.

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