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Review: Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes

Purchase on  Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble

Purchase on Amazon | Barnes and Noble

4 Stars. 


I enjoyed this book. Maybe a little too much because I was a little upset that it was over. It dealt with some serious topic- death and mental illnesses, but it was not overly dark. It still had its light, and cutesy moments. This book was very realistic, and I often found myself wanting to hug the main character to offer a form of support. 

Like mentioned earlier, this book does deal with mental illnesses and it's worth mentioning that Paula Strokes does a great job depicting an accurate description of it. It is honest. Also, therapy was portrayed nicely and positive. 

Before I talk about the romance, I want to touch on the family aspect first. I was surprised with how important family was in this book. In Girl Against the Universe, we see Maguire and her family member’s relationship progress as the story continues. And we also see her having a happy and healthy relationship with her mother and siblings. The moments with her siblings were small, but they were very adorable. I appreciate that they were not brushed to the side. 

The romance was not overbearing, which was good, because this book is about a journey. The romance was adorable. It developed really well, and it was extremely believable. If I had to choose one word to describe their relationship, I would say natural. 

Both parties were extremely helpful with each other. I liked their banter. Also, I enjoyed that it was not overly dominated by unnecessary angst and lack of communication.  I’ll touch on Jody later, but he was wonderful. 

Like the romance, the friendships were also adorable. Maguire had some pretty amazing friends. They were encouraging and never pushed. They were the definition of true friends. 

I do not think I have ever played tennis or even watched a game, but I enjoyed the tennis aspect a lot. It was nicely entangled into the plot. 


This is my first book by Paula Strokes, and I would definitely be up to reading more by her. I really enjoyed the writing. It was good. It was easy to read, without being lackluster. It was descriptive and worked well for the type of story being told. I enjoyed Maguire’s voice. It was original.  


I first want to say that I love the name Maguire. I have seen it many times as a last name, but never a first. It’s interesting and exciting that the author chose that as the main character’s name. It adds a little something else. 

Maguire was a great main character. I loved her. She was strong and realistic. It was interesting reading about a main character who believed that she was cursed. As a reader we know that she is not, but as the book progressed the narrator begins to realize that she never had been. It was interesting to see that journey and getting the emotional aspect of it as well. 

You want to cheer Maguire on as she is on her journey. Her character growth is so prominent at the end. You can’t help but be proud of her. 

Jody was a nice guy. He was complex character, and just like Maguire he was dealing with some things. Both him and Maguire, helped each other, but they also were able to stand on their own. They never got in the way of each other, but they were always there when one needed the other. Jody was not just a romantic lead, he developed as well. 

To be honest, I enjoyed all the characters. They were not just background characters, they were all very present in the narrative and apart of Maguire’s life. 

Final Analysis

Girl Against the Universe showcases an raw and real portrayal of mental illnesses. The book features a realistic and lovable main character who you can’t help but cheer on. This book is sweat, real and worth a read. I would recommend. 

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