Book Review: Girl Against The Universe

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“Some people think they can just decree that everything will be fine. The world doesn’t work like that. I’m not sure the world gives a crap about anyone’s promises, well-meaning or otherwise. Sometimes the Universe just takes what it wants.”

Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Maguire has had her fair share of grave casualties that transpired within her immediate environment – a car mishap causing the death of everyone in the car except her, a food poisoning during a sleepover sending all but one to the hospital (yes, that’s her, too), a roller coaster accident seriously hurting everyone but her (let’s say, she was almost left unscathed), and more minor mischances that seemed to happen whenever she’s within the vicinity (the Luck Notebook could very well provide us with the list). It was safe to infer that she brings nothing but damage to anyone who’s hapless enough to be in her presence.  She was so sure the universe is somehow working against her.

Hence, she started using lucky charms, she did stuff to throw away bad luck (constantly knocking on wood for one), opted out from riding public vehicles, ate at the cafeteria alone, and basically anything that kept her away from other people.

And then she meets the Perfectly Assembled Boy. From this point on, it’s pretty obvious that this is going to be a struggle between preventing bad things to happen and allowing good things to… well, happen.

There are a couple of things I like about this Paula Stokes’ book.

Maguire is a very good-natured kid. Her dilemmas were created in such a way that they don’t look petty, overdone, or annoying. Then there’s the perfect balance between her weak and strong nature.

Secondly, how many times have I encountered tennis in books? Never. Until Girl Against the Universe. You can’t imagine how that makes me extremely happy. Our perfectly assembled boy is a turning-pro tennis player. I love it.

Lastly, I finally read a book with a therapist who is not portrayed as useless and stupid. Having been in the medical field for 7 years, I sometimes ask myself why authors like to create therapists who characters treat as useless, unknowing/all-knowing assholes.

I love the pacing. I love the writing style. It’s a refreshing read.

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