Title: Girl Against the Universe
Author: Paula Stokes
First published May 17, 2016
400 pages, Kindle Edition
Paula Stokes’ Girl Against the Universe tells the story of Maguire, a sixteen-year-old girl who’s convinced that the universe is against her. She’s had more than her fair share of bad luck, and no matter how hard she tries, things never seem to go her way.
After surviving a car crash that killed her brother, father, and uncle, Maguire is left with a debilitating case of PTSD that makes it impossible for her to trust herself. She’s determined to stay away from everyone who might be hurt by her bad luck, but then she meets Jordy, an aspiring tennis star who wants to help her break her unlucky streak.
As Maguire struggles to come to terms with her past, she discovers that maybe she’s not as alone as she thought. With Jordy’s help, she just might be able to find the courage to face her fears and take control of her life once and for all.
About the Author
If you need to get in touch with Paula Stokes, you can find her contact information on her website, authorpaulastokes.com. Paula is a talented writer who is passionate about young adult literature, and she also works as a registered nurse.
She started off writing historical fiction under a pen name, but she has since expanded into other genres within the YA category.
When Paula isn’t busy with work or writing, she loves to explore the great outdoors. She enjoys kayaking, hiking, and reading, and she’s always on the lookout for new adventures in far-off places.
Paula has had some amazing experiences, such as petting tigers, holding snakes, and swimming with stingrays. One of her favorite memories is feeling the suction of a baby elephant’s trunk as it ate peanuts from her hand.
Looking to the future, Paula has some exciting goals she wants to accomplish. She hopes to go cage diving with Great White sharks, learn Krav Maga, and write many more novels (although not necessarily in that order).
Overall, Paula is a driven and adventurous person who is always looking to push herself to new heights.
In “Girl Against the Universe,” author Paula Stokes takes on the important themes of mental health, grief, and personal growth in a young adult novel that is both insightful and entertaining. First published on May 17, 2016, this book is a compelling read that blends romance, sports, and psychology in a unique way.
Stokes has built a reputation as a skilled YA author, and she doesn’t disappoint with “Girl Against the Universe.” The genre of YA fiction is known for its relatable teen protagonists and themes of coming-of-age, and this book fits the bill perfectly. It’s a fast-paced, character-driven story that explores the inner world of a girl named Maguire who is struggling to overcome trauma and fear.
The plot follows Maguire, a high school student who has survived a car crash that killed her family members. Since the accident, she has become convinced that she is responsible for any negative events that happen to the people around her, believing that her misfortune has become contagious.
When she meets a boy named Jordy, who is determined to help her overcome her anxiety, they bond over their mutual love of tennis and begin to connect in ways Maguire never thought possible. But as Maguire’s anxiety continues to manifest in dangerous ways, she must confront her fears head-on and learn to trust herself and those around her.
The novel is set in California and revolves around the world of tennis, which adds an interesting dynamic to the story. Maguire is an accomplished player, but her fear of causing harm to others has prevented her from pursuing the sport at a higher level.
Stokes uses this background to explore the concept of control and how it relates to mental health, a theme that is relevant to readers of all ages. One of the strengths of “Girl Against the Universe” is the way it handles heavy topics like anxiety and trauma with sensitivity and compassion.
Stokes doesn’t shy away from depicting the raw emotions that accompany these experiences, but she also shows that healing is possible with the help of supportive friends and family. The characters in the novel are well-drawn and relatable, especially Maguire and Jordy, who both have unique personalities and quirks that make them stand out.
In terms of weaknesses, some readers may find the plot to be predictable or formulaic. The romance between Maguire and Jordy is sweet but not particularly groundbreaking, and some of the conflicts and resolutions in the story feel a bit contrived.
Additionally, while Stokes does a good job of exploring Maguire’s anxiety, some readers may wish for a deeper dive into the psychology behind it. Overall, “Girl Against the Universe” is a solid YA novel that explores important themes of mental health and personal growth.
It’s an engaging read that will appeal to fans of romance and sports fiction, as well as those looking for a thought-provoking story about overcoming fear and finding one’s place in the world. I give this book four stars out of five, based on its well-rounded characters, sensitive handling of heavy topics, and overall readability.