Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes
Hardcover: 382 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
My Rating: 5 stars
Romance Heat Scale: Sweet (check out the scale here)
*There is a moment where they are fully clothed but making out on a bed and then his shirt comes off. The moment is interrupted and goes no further.
Synopsis: 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 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. (goodreads)
I LOVED this book. First tennis? I picked it up because the cover is a tennis player. Yes please! I wanted to read the book without ever reading the book flap or anything about it. A small testament to the power of a good book cover.
Second, this book deals with mental illness. The main character, Maguire, starts in therapy sessions to deal with her PTSD and slight OCD. I don’t have PTSD or OCD but I can relate to Maguire in a few ways.
1) She deals with life by doing “five second checks” where she does quick glances at her surroundings to check for impending danger to other people. When my anxiety gets bad (because it’s kinda like a roller coaster and I have good spells and bad spells) then my little OCD ticks kick in more. I have to check things multiple times, I have to do them certain ways, nothing can change routine. Lack of control of a situation becomes unbearable.
2) I have the need to feel in control of my environment. I am nowhere near as bad as Maguire, but I don’t like to ride in cars with other people driving. Not because I fear I will bring bad luck and cause them harm, but because I have no control over the situation and I stress the entire ride.
3) In a non-mental illness related way, I loved that she was an “inexperienced dater”. I didn’t have my first kiss until I was 17, a senior in high school, and I totally related to her questions about whether they were dating, what to do in this situation or that, and how to deal with his mom. (Spoiler: umm yes, I would have run away too!)
4) Lastly, TENNIS! Not very many books are written about tennis players and tennis has my heart. I loved that she goes out for the tennis team, and I LOVE that he is a semi-pro tennis player (swoon).
Regardless of whether you play tennis, suffer from OCD (or anxiety), kissed lots of boys or kissed none, this is a great book about first love, finding love, and sharing love.
GO READ THIS BOOK!