segunda-feira, 15 de agosto de 2016

Girl Against the Universe - Paula Stokes

Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes 
Published on May 17, 2016 by HarperTeen

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.
I read The Art of Lainey last year and it was a pretty meh read for me overall, not bad but the characters didn't connected with me so the story wasn't all that memorable but when I heard that the next contemporary by Stokes was going to tackle mental health I knew I had to check it out and am so glad for it, this is an amazing contemporary and it was automatic to my favorites shelf.

Maguire, our main character, thinks she is cursed because of a string of bad things that happened on her life, hurting everyone around her except for her so she closed herself from the world, keeping her family away, not having friends and avoiding any situation that could potentially harm anyone, this obviously isn't healthy but with the help of her therapist, new friends and family she finds the strength to start to rebuild her life. I have to praise the writing on this one, the voice of Maguire jumped out of the page and all her fears and emotions got to me, I honestly starting feeling like something bad were really going to happen whenever she engaged on an activity, it was so easy to get into those vicious thoughts and fell her guilt, I cried in so many passages of this story because I've already felt like this and knew how hard it was to Maguire to have to life with these thoughts, how hard it's to get out of your comfort zone (that in this case it isn't really comforting) and do something to change that, the fear, the guilty, the anxiety that it comes from it, it all touched me so much.

Through the story Maguire faces her fears and I loved her character arc, it is showed in a realistic way and as with any mental disorder it's a work in progress that doesn't end with the end of this book. I also have to say that I admired her so much, there was a lot of times where she would have to do something that had her uncomfortable because it triggered memories or that could hurt others because of her curse (or so she believed) and yet she went ahead and face it, I was like wow, because I don't think I would have the guts most of the times, it was such an inspiring book in this way, it made me wish to take a few more risks and face more things on my therapy. 

Talking about therapy, this was my favorite aspect of this story by far, it was so so so amazing, I can't praise it enough, in this story we read the sections between Maguire and her therapist and I think this is something so unique and necessary - a lot of people don't search help because they are afraid of what is gonna be like, the tabu revolving around it, and having a book that is target for teens to show it, I'm sure this is gonna serve of help to someone out there. I loved the author's note too and I suggest everyone to read it, it talks a bit about places that you can search for help, the different methods of therapy and telling that it's okay to ask for help.

What helped Maguire on her journey, besides the therapy, was the great supportive system that she found on her family and friends. Her family had a few touching moments with her mother and step-siblings, but what really touched me were her talks with her step-father and how he understood her and was glad to help her to do her challenges for therapy, there were tears involved (yes, I know, we already established that this book made me a crying mess). Making new friends was a big step for Maguire and I was so happy with it, she found two girlfriends on the tennis team that just made my heart so happy with all the support they gave and how they never judge her, only trying to understand and make things better. 

Another thing that obviously had a big impact on Maguire (and on me, omg they are so cute) was her friend/love interest, Jordy, they meet at therapy and them latter on because of tennis and every interaction between them had me smiling, they had a banter that made me laugh (see this book didn't make me only cry) and I shipped them pretty much since the first words were exchanged. They start interacting because of the therapy challenges and it's pretty easy to do a romance wrong in a book that focus so much on mental health but this is definitely not the case, neither of them saves and/or cures the others problems, but the way both of them support and help each other with their treatments was amazing. It was also nice to see a good foundation to their relationship, it definitely not just physical attraction (it was actually funny, how Maguire at first nearly dismissed him for his appearance and through the book she starts to notice more and more his traits that she liked) and we still get to see them together for a while, not just that kind of only get together at the very end. 

I'm so glad I give Stokes another change because this book won me over, it had an great character arc, family and friends that are supportive and pretty much amazing, a romance that had me smiling and shipping it like there was no yesterday, all of this topped with a positive picture of therapy and there was no way for me to not love this book. Super recommended to everyone, but especially people struggling with a mental disorder and/or lovers of YA contemporary.

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