Friday, May 27, 2016

Review: Girl Against The Universe

Girl Against The Universe by Paula Stokes
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: May 17, 2016
Source: ALA Midwinter
Date Read: 5/24/16 to 5/26/16
382 pages

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.

I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Quotes taken from ARC may or may not be in the published edition.

Can I just say that this book is simply amazing? And that once again, Paula Stokes has blown me away with another a contemporary. Because this is my second book by her, and I have yet to be disappointed. And probably never will be, let's be honest.

Maguire has been really unlucky. Everyone around her seems to get hurt, and because of that, she associates herself as being cursed. With so many accidents, she can't seem to believe that they are all coincidental. That is, until Jordy comes alone. Jordy, a star tennis player, is trying to break free of his parents' control on his life. His parents want him to not only focus on tennis, but also attend college as a backup plan, which is not something Jordy wants.

Both Maguire and Jordy meet in between therapy sessions, and there begins a great friendship. Both help each other complete their daily "challenges" (set by themselves, or I guess their therapist). Maguire even joins the tennis team, unknowing of Jordy's fame at the time. Even though I know basically nothing about tennis, I found the sport to be integrated effortlessly into the novel. Before I started reading, I was afraid that my lack of knowledge on tennis would prevent me from enjoying the novel. I'm really glad that wasn't the case!

Reading about Maguire slowly learning to overcome her fear of harming others reminded me a lot of my own life. There have been many times where things don't work out the way I want them to, but in the end, it works out even better for me. So I believed that I had this sort of luck that only worked to keep bad things from happening. But it's the same as with Maguire. It's not really good luck or bad luck, it's just the way things happen. If you constantly think of the bad events that happen and keep worrying about said bad events, then when they happen it will no doubt be the main focus. We spend so little time thinking of the happy (even small) events that occur, no wonder we think (or in this case, Maguire) that the universe is against us.

There's nothing really more I can say, other than read this book. Even if you have never played tennis before, or believe you are the luckiest person in the world and therefore won't connect with Maguire, I strongly urge you to go check this out anyways!
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