Review: Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes

synopsis3Sixteen-year-old Maguire knows the universe is against her. No matter how many charms she buys off the internet or good luck rituals she performs each morning, horrible things happen when she’s around. Like that time the roller coaster jumped off its tracks. Or the time the house next door caught on fire. Or the time her brother, father, and uncle were all killed in a car crash–and Maguire walked away with barely a scratch.

Despite what her therapist tells her, Maguire thinks it’s best to hide out in her room, far away from anyone she might accidentally hurt. But then she meets Jordy, an aspiring tennis star who wants to help her break her unlucky streak. Maguire knows that the best thing she can do for him is to stay away, but it turns out staying away might be harder than she thought.

This has to be one of the best mental health centered books I’ve ever read it has such a fantastic, hopeful and pragmatic representation of mental illness. It’s clear to me from everything in the book that the author did her research it’s realistic, there’s setbacks, there’s small victories, and thankfully getting a boyfriend doesn’t fix all of Maguire’s problems. It was a combination of things that help Maguire get out of the dark place she’s in at the start of the book. It was a combination of going to therapy, playing tennis, the love and support of her friends and family, and her own strength the person who helps Magure the most is herself.

Maguire is strong, brave, and so caring you’ll be rooting for her from page one, sadly the love interest Jordy is not nearly as interesting. He’s cute, sweet, loves tennis and is beginning to taking charge of his life, but he doesn’t have enough going for him to set him apart from the dozens of other sweet, YA boyfriends. Despite Jordy being a bit generic the romance is cute and enjoyable I just wish there had been a little less of it. There’s quite a lot of tennis in this book I found these scenes kind off boring but I’m not a big fan of sports and I adore nearly everything else. I love how this deals with heavy topics in a wonderful, realistic way and how despite it often being melancholy it manages not to be a supper sad book above all else it’s hopeful.