Book Talk: Girl Against The Universe by Paula Stokes

Book Talk: Girl Against The Universe by Paula StokesGirl Against The Universe by Paula Stokes
Published by HarperTeen on May 2016
Genres: Contemporary YA
Also by this author: Liars, Inc.
Format: ARC
Source: For Review

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!




Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”



Maguire considers herself unlucky and a danger to be around after she survives, without a scratch, a fatal car accident that kills her brother and father and then a few more incidents happen in the following years that has her coming to this conclusion. To keep others safe, she stays at home a lot and tries to be around the least amount of people — all the while constantly checking for things that could be a potential hazard. When she meets Jordy at her therapist’s office he’s determined to help her see that she’s not actually unlucky and helps her to complete the tasks her therapist has helped her come up with but everything within Maguire tells her to not let Jordy get to close and risk something bad happening to him.

a2 twirl


This book was just sooooo delightful! There needs to be a proper word for something that makes your heart a little sad but equally giddy. Maybe there is a word for it? I don’t know but this book is whatever that word is. I’m sad I made my YA contemporary beach read list already because this one would have definitely been at the top — compulsively readable and just heart-melting. And YOU GUYS…one of the sweetest, swooniest dudes in YA.

I LOVED the relationship between Maguire and Jordy. So banter-y. So cute. I want you to discover it for yourself so I don’t want to say too much about it. I just loved how they met and how they opened up to each other and helped each other.

I love books that deal with grief/loss and read a lot of them but I actually really loved that this one wasn’t directly dealing with the grief and loss of losing her father and brother. I loved that it was still showing the lasting effects of losing someone especially so tragically as well as some of the other things she went through. While on the surface it seems silly that she would really think she’s cursed and live her life in the careful manner she does, it’s actually amazing what your brain convince you. I really felt for Maguire especially because I could relate. After my mom passed away from brain cancer in 2006 I convinced myself I was dying or that I was going to die. Like some days I just laid in bed so scared of dying. It really hit pretty personally how one can hold themselves back from living because of a fear and belief so tight within your gut that no matter the logic people try to use on you you just can’t shake it.

I think the shining star of this novel is how positively therapy is portrayed. Honestly I wish I had this book after my mom passed away because maybe I would have gotten the help that I needed to deal with my issues. Watching Maguire put in that work and do these scary assignments, that to others would seem easy, was just wonderful. I really enjoyed watching her (and Jordy) tackle them even though they were hard. I really loved that therapy wasn’t just a convenient plot thing for her and Jordy but I really felt like the author showed how important it was for her.



factors+ characters, romance, positive therapy representation, mix of fun fluffy goodness and ~serious issues~
  Nothing really.

Should you read it? If you love contemporary YA, it’s definitely a must read of 2016 for me!

Should you buy it or borrow it? I think if you are likely to reread feel good type books when you get in a reading rut or when you are in a bad mood, you will totally want to own this one.

a5contemporary YA lovers, fans of books from Sarah Dessen or Morgan Matson, people looking for a cute YA beach read

a8Girl Against The Universe is a perfect summer read (or a perfect read anytime you want a good contemporary YA). It’s absolutely just as delightful and smile-inducing as it is inspiring to watch a character work to face some pretty serious fears.

review-on-post-itgirl against the universe paula stokes


a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?
Also, any other books with positive therapy rep?



The Perpetual Page-Turner

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. EEK your review has made me so eager to read this, Jamie! The romance sounds SO CUTE and I adore books that deal with serious topics in a way that doesn’t make one feel incredibly sad after reading it. Wonderful review!

    • It’s SO adorable! I don’t even think the summary does it any justice. And YES it’s honestly like that perfect book that deals with some Serious Things but it doesn’t make you sob or feel so sad. Which makes it a perfect summer read!!

  2. I enjoyed this one a whole lot, but couldn’t get myself to love it so much as to rate it 5 stars. I still don’t know why. Which is frustrating. But I loved it and I loved Jordy.

    • No I feel you! It takes A LOT for me to hand out 5 stars (or in my rating scale — “beyond loved — a new fave!” rating). Like I’m stingy with handing them out. Like I loved this book but not 5 stars for me which is still super awesome so I understand 🙂

  3. Kelsey Cooper says:

    OMG JORDYYY. I loved this book, and honestly I didn’t think I would when I first got it. I figured I’d read it and forget about it. But every spare second I got I had to open it up and keep reading. A fun story to follow, while dealing with some serious issues, and showing its okay to find yourself and find a way to work through your struggles. I seriously loved this one.

    • No I wasn’t sure about this one either! Like I heard good things but also the summary really wasn’t doing much for me. THis book is SO much better than the summary lets on!! I couldn’t put it down either.

  4. I just finished this book yesterday and LOVED it!!! I also wish I’d had something like this handy when my mom passed away–I feel like YA is exploding with more material in this area and I love it so much. Nice review!

    • *hugs* And I agree! I love that YA has sooo many great stories in this area because I’ve even found so much solace in them and have had some healing myself through them even as a 30-something.

  5. I will definitely have to see if my library has this one! Very intrigued by the positive therapy message of the book, as that’s not something we see a lot. I’m so glad books like this exist because while I’ve never lost very close family, I know so many people that did in high school and this could have really helped them out!
    -Monica @ Tomes Project

  6. Contemporary is definitely not my genre, but this book blew me away. I loved how it was fluffy, yet powerful. It really made me think about life and it actually spurred me to do a few things I’ve been waiting to do – just like Maguire. Maguire/Jordy were perfect together 🙂

  7. I just love gif-reaction. That alone will make me want to read the book 😀

    // Josephine