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review 2016-07-05 01:27
Girl Against the Universe - Paula Stokes

***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato

Girl Against the Universe is a clear indication of how much Paula Stokes has grown as an author since The Art of Laineycame out. I really liked The Art of Lainey and I loved Liars, Incbut Girl Against the Universe was a phenomenal novel and one I am proud to claim as a favorite of 2016. Through this novel, Stokes beautifully explores mental illness and grief. Also this novel is full of a lot of fucking emotions so please be prepared. I haven’t had such a strong emotional reaction to a book in a while. I spent a good chunk dry crying and PAULA STOKES, YOU ARE AMAZING.

I tend to be picky about books that deal with grief because I always feel like there is an element of ‘romance cures all’ but that didn’t happen in Girl Against the Universe . Jordy and Maguire share a therapist and thats how they meet. For the past couple of years, Maguire has avoided people because she thinks she is bad luck. She doesn’t meet Jordy and change overnight. In fact, she makes it clear that she won’t just get better by being friends with him. It’s a process that happens through therapy sessions, help from friends, conversations with parents and she is not magically cured ever.

Healthy depictions of therapy and parental relationships is one of the things that makes this book stand out in general but Maguire really steals the show. Her journey to accept this terrible tragedy that happened to her and her interaction with the people around her is amazing. The way she slowly starts to heal and learns to seek help is SO IMPORTANT. I am probably going to phrase this terribly even though I am trying but I love the ways in which her mental illness is depicted. It is realistic and not at all seen as ‘quirky.’ There are people around Maguire who are genuinely worried about her and pay attention to her behaviour.

When your father and brother die, you don’t just magically heal. Even if it was years ago. The way Maguire deals with her grief is really what makes this book special to me. No one in my immediate family has passed away recently but this year has been full of a lot of death for several of my close friends which is why this book really hit home with me. The way Maguire deals with her grief is heartbreaking and honestly made me want to curl up in a ball and cry (and I mean, I did dry cry.) UGH. I am tearing up thinking about this book.

JORDY AND MAGUIRE ARE THE CUTEST COUPLE EVER. Their romance is slow burn and I LOVE that even though they like each other, they are friends before they are anything else. Especially since Maguire isn’t ready for a significant other at the beginning of the book (she has spent years avoiding people, so she definitely needs friends more than she needs significant others.) Jordy is just so precious and I LOVE that he respects Maguire but also calls her out when she does something inexcusable, hurts him or when she is making bad decisions.

Jordy is also a well developed character outside of his role as a friend/boyfriend. He has his own problems and I love that Stokes takes the time to explore those as well. Maguire may be the main character but Jordy is also important.

Note that I received an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

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review 2016-05-23 00:00
Girl Against the Universe
Girl Against the Universe - Paula Stokes I had high expectations for this book, but I didn't expect for it to grab me the way it did.

This is a story about a girl who's struggling to stay above water, but finds herself drowning time and time again. I think we can all relate to this. It's about being afraid of things happening to other people more than oneself. About taking on too much responsibility and survivor's guilt. I think we've all been there, more or less. And that's the thing about this book: It's so relateable!

I don't know whether I actually learned something from this book, but it definitely made me think about some stuff. Stuff that's been piling up for a long time, and that I was now able to think about and figure out. I don't know if I would've worked up the courage to do so on my own, but this book definitely inspired me to just do it. I'm grateful for that.

I loved Maguire. I loved the therapist. I loved the love interest Jordy. I basically loved everyone!
The way Maguire fell in love, but still struggled with her life was so realistic. Love doesn't just cure everything! Sure, loved ones can be helpful through hard times, but they can't just make everything better like that. It takes hard work from the person themself. This book got that part exactly right and I really loved reading about it. I feel like maybe this book could help break down some taboos.

The writing style is working really well too. This book is full of humour, heart and wise words. I love how it made me go from laughing to tearing up within the same paragraph. I don't care what Paula Stokes writes, because I'll read it all.
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review 2016-05-20 23:16
Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes
Girl Against the Universe - Paula Stokes

  Some books hit you right in the feels and this book did more then that. It felt real in it's portrayal of mental illness and the slow baby steps it takes in therapy and the way Paula Stokes showed how therapy really works was something I applauded. I think this was the best portrayal of how real therapy works I've ever read.

 Maguire was a wonderful heroine who trials tugged at my heartstrings. Each step she took you were cheering for her,every challenge she conquered you felt proud for her. All the people she meets along the way shine in their own way from her friends Jade and Penn to our hero Jordy who has his own fears to overcome.

 The beauty of the romance between Jordy and Maguire is that it felt natural and not force. Neither one was the crutch for the other, they both helped each other and letting the other stand on their own two feet standing by their side.

 The even pace was never hinder by over the top drama or any pity party on Maguire mental illness. It was just matter of fact and her journey. The trouble I did have was the ending felt a little to down pat, while it wrapped everything up nicely I just wish it may have went a different direction.

 Still, I hold this book close to my heart for those of us who are still on our journey...

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