Posted in Books

#31DaysOfMHYA Day 3: Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes

Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes, HarperTeen, 382 pp.

This book was a game changer for me. The novel is about Maguire, who believes she is unlucky and thus avoids any situation where she might put other people in danger. She undergoes cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to help her confront the challenge of flying to Ireland for a family reunion and finds love, friendship and a new sense of life along the way.

Book Twitter is a series of garbage fires, but one that went around in the past year hit me particularly hard. Someone, I don’t know remember who and I don’t really care because they are a jerk as far I’m concerned, said that a mentally ill person could never be the MC in a Chosen One narrative because mentally ill people can’t even function in everyday life. So…yeah. That’s bullshit.

Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes isn’t a chosen one narrative, but it’s a book that falls into another category: the romantic comedy. Through Maguire and Jordy’s romance, Stokes shows that it’s possible for mentally ill (specifically anxious) teens to have healthy relationships and be the star in a romantic comedy. It’s a narrative about teens with mental illness that is ultimately more happy and hopeful than almost any book I’ve read.

I read Girl Against the Universe at a crossroads in my life. I was just beginning to confront the reality of my own mental illness and accept it. I was finding this community of like-minded people on Twitter and then I found this book and devoured it in one sitting. I NEEDED this book and instantly connected with it. It gave me hope about therapy and what therapy could do. This book helped me accept myself and laugh about it along the way. It will always be a book close to my heart. If you’re looking for a cute, therapy positive book about mental illness, this is it.

If you want to know more of my thoughts about Girl Against the Universe, you can read my post here.



Writer, avid reader, blogger, art history nerd, student journalist & editor, bookstore connoisseur, honeybee advocate. Proud Jersey Girl. Drew '17.

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