The time it was about Girl Against the Universe

Posted May 25, 2016 by Stacee in Blog Tours, Giveaways, Interviews | 12 Comments

I was lucky enough to read an early draft of Girl Against the Universe last year because I’m a spoiled brat Paula was looking for someone who lived in SoCal to read it and see if it made sense. I devoured it, loved it, and named it one of my top 5 books for 2015.  Oh and when you get to the part about the California burritos? Yeah.  You’re welcome.

So of course when it came time to be on the blog tour, I couldn’t wait to get Paula on the blog to talk all things GATU.

GATU Banner

Before we get to her answers, let’s check out the book.

CoverMaguire 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 rollercoaster 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 meeting 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 is harder than she thought.

From author Paula Stokes comes a funny and poignant novel about accepting the past, embracing the future, and learning to make your own luck.

Sounds good, right?


1. Please give the elevator pitch for Girl Against the Universe.

A teen girl who believes that she is bad luck and brings misfortune to those around her enlists the help of a therapist and a group of new friends in order to confront her fears.

2. Where did the idea come from?

When I was on a solo vacation in Mexico, I was in two accidents in the span of a week, but didn’t get hurt in either. I was the only person present for both of these events. My immediate emotional response was one of the guilt, that maybe if I hadn’t gone on vacation the accidents wouldn’t have happened. Even after I returned home, I couldn’t stop thinking about fate and free will and randomness and bad luck. Two bad outcomes might be a horrible coincidence, but three or four starts to feel like a pattern. I upped the number and the severity of the accidents and Bad Luck Charm, which was later re-titled Girl Against the Universe was born.

3. Why do you love Maguire and Jordy and why should we root for them?

Maguire and Jordy are flawed people who have good hearts. They mess up, but take responsibility for their actions. They’re honest with each other. They communicate. When their relationship is struggling, it’s not because of some misunderstanding that five minutes on the phone would’ve handled–it’s because who they are and what they want at certain points in the book simply isn’t compatible. Also, they both have great hair.

4. You have a great cast of supporting characters. Who was the easiest to work with?

I gotta give it to Jade. She was the first supporting character to make an appearance in the manuscript and she always knew exactly what to say and when to say it. I think she’s balanced and layered and manages to be funny and real without being rude or coming off like a plot device.

5. Without spoilers, what was your favorite scene to write?

I’m going to say the scene where Maguire and Jordy go rock climbing at Joshua Tree National Park. When I was in college, I top-rope climbed a lot with my brother and my family went to Joshua Tree one summer. Writing that scene was like going back in time and reliving some very empowering memories. Josh is a hard place to capture with words and I’m not sure I did it adequately, but hopefully there’s enough in the book to send people to their computers to Google it if they’re interested in learning more.

Speed [ish] round:

1. You get the call/email/letter that says you’re being published for the first time. Describe the next 5 minutes.

But, but, that was like five years ago and I can barely remember yesterday! Okay, honestly, this is a downer, but I got that call about two days after my father died of a sudden heart attack, so mostly what I felt was regret that it hadn’t happened a little bit sooner. I know he would’ve been proud of me.

2. What three things would you take to a desert island?

Do I have to actually currently possess these things? Can I say, like, Iron Man, so that we could play Avengers: Deserted Island and then fly away someday if I ever actually wanted to go back to my soul-sucking existence of answering emails all day? (Not likely, though I might eventually miss the creature comforts of civilization, like Pringles and Cadbury Crème Eggs.) Yeah I’ll take Iron Man, a toothbrush because I hate gritty teeth, and a dolphin that we can play with, because everybody loves dolphins :D  {I have the urge to say that I hate dolphins and if you’ve read the book, you know what I’m talking about.}

3. You can only read one book for the rest of your life. What is it?

Going Bovine by Libba Bray.

4. Who is your favorite book boyfriend and book BFF?

I have been in a huge rut where for the past eight months or so all I have read is non-fiction books for research, early review copies for blurb/promo, and my own manuscripts over and over and over (and over and over.) Some of the ARCs were great, but no one has stood out in the BBF/BFF sense in forever. So I’ll go with two “old school” guys I always think of fondly—Cassel from The Curse Worker’s trilogy and Cas from Anna Dressed in Blood. Yeah, I know it’s weird how close their names are. Random coincidence. Oh and Jonah Griggs from Jellicoe Road—everyone’s classic book-boyfriend choice. As far as book bestie, I’m going to say Vanessa Park from Dahlia Adler’s Behind the Scenes. And bonus, my favorite book-cat is Dewey from When Joss Met Matt. Dewey is one of the most memorable characters I’ve come across in the past couple of years. Sorry, Matt. Joss and Dewey = OTP :)

5. What is the one thing about publishing you wish someone would have told you?

That being an author is basically like being a small business, and that involves accounting, marketing, promotions, sales, advertising, research, travel, graphic design, and more. Being successful means that the time you spend not writing (AKA time spent not getting paid) is usually equal to or more than the time where you actually get to create.

6. You wake up and discover you are Bella in Twilight. You know how it plays out. What do you do differently? {Huge thanks to Bookish Broads for letting me use this question}

Where do I even start? The obvious answer seems to be “go live with my mom in awesome Florida” but the truth is, I hate the sun, so that won’t work. I’m going to go with “used protection.” Sorry not sorry, Renesme. You creep me out bigtime ;)


Paula Stokes 2 web resPaula Stokes is half writer, half RN, and totally thrilled to be part of the world of YA literature. She started out writing historical fiction under a pen name and is now branching out into other YA genres.

When she’s not working (rare), she’s kayaking, hiking, reading, or seeking out new adventures in faraway lands. She’s petted tigers, snuggled snakes, snorkeled with stingrays, and once enjoyed the suction-cuppy feel of a baby elephant’s trunk as it ate peanuts from her palm. Her future goals include diving with Great White sharks, learning Krav Maga, and writing a whole slew of novels, not necessarily in that order.


Huge thanks to Hannah at Irish Banana Tours for the invite and to Paula for spoiling me rotten taking the time.  Make sure you’re checking out Paula’s website, following her on Twitter and Instagram, liking her Facebook page, and adding her books to your Goodreads TBR.

Definitely check out all of the tour stops and keep scrolling for a giveaway!

Tour Schedule:

Week 1:
5/16: Reading Teen – Review
5/17: In Love With Handmade – Deleted Scene
5/18: The Irish Banana Review – Review
5/19: Snuggly Oranges – Deleted Scene
5/20: Fiction Fare – Review

Week 2: 
5/23: Bookiemoji – Playlist
5/24: Mary Had A Little Book Blog – Review
5/25: Adventures of a Book Junkie – Q&A
5/26: Lili’s Reflections – Review
5/27: Please Feed the Bookworm – Dream Cast

**Good Luck!!**

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12 responses to “The time it was about Girl Against the Universe

  1. Oh my, the interview was great! Paula’s answer to question 6 on the speed-ish round got me laughing so hard!
    Girl Against the Universe has been in my want to read shelf on Goodreads for quite a while now. It sounds so good and I can’t wait to read it!

  2. Emma Rose

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! Yes, Bella should have used protection. We all could do without the creepy name. I saw a post on FB about Renesme being one of the most popular baby names still, and my reply was “Twilight, the gift that keeps on giving”.

    I’m really looking forward to checking GATU. I’ve been looking forward to it for awhile now.

  3. There is so much great sounding Contempotrsry YA out there this year. I wish I had more time to read. I know a couple of bloggers who say they read one book while listening to another via audiobook. I tried it and I didn’t even come close to being able to do it. Ha ha. Great interview as usual. :)

    La La in the Library recently posted: BEYOND THE BOOKS #12
  4. I love Paula Stokes, so I am super excited for this one too! I really liked her other books The Art of Lainey and Liars Inc so I’m crossing my fingers this one is just as good (although, from what I’ve been hearing, it sounds like I won’t be disappointed). Thanks for sharing and, as always, fabulous interview! ♥

    Zoe @ Stories on Stage recently posted: A Little in Love
  5. Chelsea B.

    This book sounds funny and sad, but also relatable at the same time! I’m really looking forward to it! :)

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