Expected Publication: May 17th by HarperTeen
Goodreads description: 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.
My rating: 5 couches
My review: Girl against the Universe by Paula Stokes was a gem. This book stars Maguire, who has a streak of bad luck, which makes her think that she is dangerous to others, and thus, she withdraws from family and friends to protect them. Her therapist encourages her to make a list of 7 challenges in which she does something to overcome her fears. She meets a boy in the waiting room named Jordy, who utilizes her in his own therapy homework. Little do they know they'll fall for one another as they become stronger individually, closer to the people they want to become.
I absolutely love this book. Maguire is the perfect balance of a protagonist. She is realistic, sympathetic, and complex. But she also has this spark in her, a bit of spunk, that allows her to be strong and stand up for herself. Even though Maguire has a lot of reason to whine or seem pathetic, she somehow never is, which is an amazing accomplishment by Stokes. Jordy, her love interest, is a total cutie, and the guy I wish I could have dated back in high school. Their chemistry is palpable and totally drives the story. The secondary characters are just as interesting; Jade was a personal favorite (I love a joke she plays on Maguire early on in the novel), but Penn and Kimber are close runner-ups. That said, the most surprising and endearing character is Tom, her stepfather. I teared up in several of his scenes. Who says that YA can't have great parental characters? Stokes has proven this "necessary" trope wrong.
While the book may seem formulaic, the challenges that Maguire creates for herself are exactly what they should be, and are very character driven, not plot driven. And as I am in the medical profession, I was thrilled to see that the medical facts were very accurate and well researched. It's rare to see this bit of verisimilitude.
Overall, another wonderful book from Stokes with realistic and wonderful characters that shine on every page.
And last but not least, you can win this lovely hardcover copy of #GATU courtesy of the best bookstore in the world, Left Bank Books! Sorry, US only!
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