I had no idea what I was in for, going into Girl Against the Universe. Paula Stokes hits on the tough issues—OCD, PTSD, teen stress and anxiety—all with poise and tasteful humor. Girl Against the Universe had me laughing, tearing up (because I cannot remember the last time I cried over a book—shame!), and quickly turning pages all through this year’s summer vacation.
Maguire is cursed. Or at least has horrible case of bad luck. From being the only living survivor in a terrible car wreck to house fires and crashing roller coasters, the universe clearly has it out for her. To keep those she loves—and innocent strangers around her – safe, Maguire decides the best thing is for her to hide her life away in her room. Only after a chance meeting with Jordy, a tennis start from her school, does Maguire really start to come out of her shell. Jordy has his own battles to fight. Growing closer, Maguire and Jordy learn to fight their battles helping each other to grow stronger.
With such heavy topics covered, it seems hard that this could be such a lighthearted, enjoyable read, but with her quick, witty prose Paula manages to make it just that. I loved the addition of tennis. I have not read many books where tennis was such a big part of the story line, and after reading Girl Against the Universe I am ready to dust off my racket and play again (if only Arkansas summers were not so miserable). I adore Paula’s secondary characters almost as much as Maguire herself. Jade and Penn are the perfect supporting characters. I am not sure there was a character I did not like—including “mean girl” Kimber (who turned out to be not so mean in the end). I enjoyed following Maguire’s journey from girl scared of the world to her making friends and finally as a girl ready to take back what is hers from the universe.
This is a fun, quirky book that hits on some tough subjects, but manages to keep it (mostly) lighthearted. Girl Against the Universe a fun read for your hot summer days.
Christen is a ravenous reader, wanna be author, Litfuse Nester, and slightly addicted to coffee. Lives in Arkansas with her husband and three mini people. Connect with her at her blog: http://ChristenKrumm.com or Twitter @ChristenKrumm.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by HarperTeen. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.