Girl Agains the Universe by Paula Stokes
Published: May 17th 2016 by HarperCollins
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
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 barely 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 that the best thing she can do for Jordy is to stay away. But it turns out staying away may be harder than she thought.
“Time doesn’t heal anything. It’s like drinking. The best it can do is help you forget, if you’re lucky.”
This was one of the books I received from Uppercase, and I am so happy that I had a chance to finally read it! This is one of the books that gets you hooked in the beginning and you just keep on reading until you are done. I don’t read contemporary often, but when I do and like it, I tend to read everything by that author. This was one of those books, I loved it so much!
Maguire suffers from PTSD and a little bit of OCD and it has affected her life in a major way. She definitely has survivors guilt, and thinks that every bad thing that happens around her is because of her and her curse. Stokes handled Maguires mental illness very well, you could tell how serious her condition was without the story being very dark.
‘‘Bad stuff happens around me.’’ I fold my hands in my lap. ‘‘You’re risking your life just by being in this room with me.’’
The story starts off with Maguire at a therapy session, and afterwards we get our first peek at Jordy. After the second or third session, Jordy starts to integrate himself into Maguire’s life. With Maguires curse, we see how she treats strangers and is always doing her 5 second checks to make sure everyone is safe. I love how the book starts off with Maguire in therapy and walking by this guy she has no idea who he is, and at the end we come full circle. Maguire is in therapy, discussing all the things she was able to accomplish, and now Jordy has become a constant figure in her life. By the end of the story, you could see how much Maguire has changed and struggled to get over her mental illness’ and try to live a normal life.
Besides Maguire and Jordy, the supporting characters and her parents are also great. The friends that she made from tennis are supportive and helpful. They don’t treat Maguire any differently after finding out about her problems. Maguire’s parents are also in the picture, so we don’t have that cliche of a single parent or absentee parents. Her mom and step father are very much in the picture, and helps Maguire in any way she needs. I really liked how this was mostly Maguire dealing with life and getting over her dad, uncle, and brothers death, but then it turns into her mom struggling also with their death and how they overcome it together. This to me, made the story more real and didn’t just ignore the fact that her mom may or may not be dealing with the deaths just like Maguire.
Overall, if you are looking for a quick read that isn’t too heavy on romance or a dark subject matter, then this book is for you! I can’t wait to check out some of Stokes’ other works.