Blog Tour: Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes (Giveaway)

Blog Tour: Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes (Giveaway)

GUYS! I am SO crazy excited to be able to share my love for this book with you today!! It is no big secret that I am a HUGE fan of Paula Stokes, and this book quickly became one of my favorites! Girl Against the Universe is such a moving book, the characters are AMAZING, and the therapy aspect is so realistic. I just completely love how everything in this book is done. Also, there is Jordy, and he is just SPECTACULAR! ♥ I can not express enough how much I NEED everyone to read this one!

There are two awesome giveaways so make sure to enter both!!


Blog Tour: Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes (Giveaway)Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes
Published by HarperCollins on May 17th 2016
Genres: Adolescence, Friendship, General, Love & Romance, Romance, Social Issues, Social Themes, Young Adult, Young Adult Fiction
Source: eARC from Author
Buy the Book • Goodreads

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

From the author of The Art of Lainey and Liars, Inc. comes a fresh, contemporary story about one girl’s tragic past and a boy who convinces her that maybe her luck is about to change. Perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen or Jenny Han.Maguire knows she’s 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 her brother, father, and uncle were all killed in a car crash—and Maguire walked away with barely a scratch. But then on her way out of her therapist’s office, she meets Jordy, an aspiring tennis star, who wants to help Maguire break her unlucky streak. Maguire knows that the best thing she can do for Jordy is to stay away, but staying away may be harder than she thought.


When I create a playlist, I “watch” the book like it’s a movie in my head and select songs that fit individual scenes. I also try to find songs that match the tone of the story. For Girl Against the Universe, the tone is mostly upbeat and hopeful, with occasional pensive moments and a dash of Irish flavor. That made finding songs tough for me because I tend to listen to dark and depressing stuff. But thanks to some help from a few reader-friends and my sister, I’ve managed to compile a Lucky Thirteen playlist that ought to leave you feeling just as warm and hopeful as the novel does. Enjoy!

Click here to listen to the Girl Against the Universe playlist on Spotify.


Try by Pink

This might technically be about a romantic relationship, but the lyrics can be applied more generally to the idea of avoiding the things that scare you. At the start of Girl Against the Universe, Maguire is avoiding all sorts of things. But then she gets a reason to face her fears.

Titanium by David Guetta, featuring Sia

This song works well for the entire plot of the book, but I’ve picked it for a scene early on during tennis tryouts when Maguire is just starting to build up some confidence while practicing with Jordy. This is one of the first times in the story where she is able to escape her constant worrying and five-second checks and really focus on how good it feels to play tennis again.

Airplanes by B.o.B., featuring Hayley Williams

“Airplanes” always leaves me feeling happy in the way that I hope Girl Against the Universe will leave readers feeling happy. I love both the music and the lyrics. I love the mix of rap with piano. When Maguire and Jordy are sitting on the bench at the scenic overlook and the jet plane flies past, I immediately thought of this song.

One Lonely Visitor by Chevelle

For the first part of the book, Maguire struggles a lot with making new friends because she’s worried one of them might get hurt by being around her. She ends up pushing people away, and then struggling with that choice, leading to a scene where she’s crying late at night. “One Lonely Visitor” captures the isolation and despair she’s feeling.

Fireflies by Owl City

Both Jordy and Maguire are growing up quickly because of their individual issues, and this song is all about embracing youth and making the most of the time you have. I imagine it playing when the two of them are at Joshua Tree National Park, lying on the picnic table looking up at the night sky.


Ghosts n Stuff by deadmau5, featuring Rob Swire

Likely to inspire a spontaneous fit of dancing and singing, “Ghosts n Stuff” mixes catchy, playful music with thoughtful lyrics about finding your people and feeling like you belong. Maguire plays a crucial tennis match about two-thirds of the way through the book. Because this is also a turning point for her when it comes to feeling like she’s truly a part of the team, “Ghosts n Stuff” is the perfect fit for this scene.

A Sorta Fairytale by Tori Amos

After the crucial tennis match, Maguire and Jordy leave a party thrown by one of the other team members and end up back at his house alone. This hauntingly beautiful song captures both the good and bad things that happen next.

California Love by 2Pac, featuring Dr. Dre

This is one of those timeless classics that for me will always and forever capture the spirit of California. One of the places in the book that feels very California-esque is when Jordy, Maguire, Jade, and Penn all go to Belmont Park together. I’ve envisioned sections of that chapter when they’re walking through the park and playing carnival games as a montage, with this song for accompaniment.


Can’t Hold Us by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, featuring Ray Dalton

“Can’t Hold Us”, with its fun sing-a-long chorus and lyrics about chasing your dreams, could work for a number of different scenes in Girl Against the Universe. However, not too long after the carnival games comes a moment with Maguire and Jordy that’s begging for a high-energy song about putting your hands up…


Just Breathe by Down Brownrigg

“You came in like a wave…And I’m at best an island and you’re an ocean.” There are so many lyrics in this song that fit Maguire and Jordy’s relationship. It would be perfect for a scene near the end of the book when the two of them are driving together.

Beautiful Now by Zedd featuring Jon Bellion

After listening to “Beautiful Now” and watching the video, I was left with the feeling that it’s ultimately a celebration of life and its possibilities. There’s a critical scene near the end of the book where Maguire and her mother are a sharing a moment of silence for the family members they lost. For me, that part of the text would translate visually to a series of flashbacks from Maguire’s childhood interspersed with more recent memories, a mix of sad and happy moments that are all a part of her beautiful life.


The Blood of Cu Chulainn by Jeff and Mychael Danna

Cu Chulainn is an Irish mythological hero and this song is actually the theme song to one of my favorite movies, The Boondock Saints. Because Maguire’s therapist, Dr. Leed, is a big fan of music, and also a really cool guy, I’m pretty sure when she comes in for her appointment after Christmas that he’s playing this song just for her.

Umbrella by Rihanna, featuring JAY-Z

What I want readers to be left with at the end of Girl Against the Universe is a feeling of hope, a feeling that there are people out there they can depend on. This story has so many “umbrellas”—Jade and Jordy and Tom take care of Maguire, Jordy and his sister take care of each other, Kimber takes care of Jordy, Maguire takes care of her mom and little sister, etc.—that I couldn’t think of a better song to play while the “book credits” roll.


About Paula Stokes

Paula Stokes writes stories about flawed characters with good hearts. She’s the author of several novels, most recently Vicarious and Girl Against the Universe. Her writing has been translated into eleven foreign languages. Paula loves kayaking, hiking, reading, and seeking out new adventures in faraway lands She also loves interacting with readers.


Week 1:

Giveaway #1

$25 B&N gift card, or in the event of an INT winner, choice of one book from The Book Depository or Wordery.
Swag pack winners
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway #2

Tell us in the comments which song on this list is your favorite, and why, and one random commenter will win a $15 iTunes gift card. Sorry, gift card is only good in the US. If your comment doesn’t link to your blog, be sure to include your twitter handle or some way to contact you in case you win. Winner will be announced at the end of the tour. 


  1. Aila @ One Way Or An Author says:

    I love these songs, especially Titanium. I think that really captured the atmosphere of this wonderful story. 🙂 And the fact that most of them are upbeat and have really positive messages!

    GATU was one of my fave contemporaries this year. And like you, I really adored Jordy. <3

  2. Pili @ In Love With Handmade says:

    I re-read GATU for the 6th? time (I think? I’m not sure) this weekend for the first time listening to the playlist and it was simply fantastic! So many of these songs are so uplifting that the whole playlist can work to improve your mood on a days when you might have the blues!

    • Crystal says:

      I need to re-read soon! I just need the TIMEEEEE!!!!! I definitely plan to though because I want to read the finished copy!

  3. Brooke Banks says:

    Awww, I love Airplanes and Umbrellas. I will say I like the remix of both better though. I’m probably weird. But Em’s verse on Airplanes that stresses getting up and doing it amps me up more than just the original.

    • Paula Stokes says:

      Brooke, your comment has won the iTunes gift card! Please email me your mailing address to pstokesbooks [at] gmail [dot] com.

      I like the Eminem version, but I feel like he sort of steals the show away from Hailey and BoB, so I like the original version better. But both are great and so inspiring 🙂

      • Brooke Banks says:

        yeah, Em steals the show on the re-mix. It’s one of the few times I can listen to his verses so I’m not so made at it. Plus, there’s plenty more Hailey and BoB I can listen too. 😀

        P.S. email with address sent.

  4. danielle hammelef says:

    Fireflies is my favorite–not only do I love Owl city, but I have special memories of my fourth grade daughter’s class singing this for their “graduation.” They tossed glow in the day “fireflies at the end of the song!

  5. Alexandra says:

    I felt really lucky when I first began my university studies and only once did I feel unlucky; I would really want to be in the US so I could participate on the bookish events! Thank you for the lovely post and the giveaway!

  6. Irene says:

    Whyyyy didn’t I listen to this while I read the book? Big mistake on my part! Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to reread it soon then… 😀

    • Crystal says:

      LOL I can’t listen to music while reading 🙁 But I’m glad you thought this went well with the book!

  7. Carina Olsen says:

    Just letting you know that your post is gooorgeous Crystal 😀 Thank you for sharing about it sweet girl. <3 I'm so glad you love this book sweetie 😀 Sadly, I did not love it at all.. Sniffs. But I do love how many others love it, hih 🙂 And your guest post is so awesome. <3

    • Paula Stokes says:

      Thanks Britt 🙂

      Yeah, it’s such an uplifting story–I tried to pick a lot of songs that gave me the happy feels. Thanks for being part of the blog tour!

  8. Hannah says:

    Fireflies has been my favorite song for so many years because I always feel like I can dance to it and as a dancer, that’s kind of how my brain works with music, if I can’t dance to it easily, I don’t like it. I just love how it sounds, too.

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