The Captain’s Log – girl against the universe (Paula Stokes)

Ahoy there me mateys!  Now I am not a big YA contemporary fan.  When I read YA, I tend to read sci-fi or fantasy books.  Occasionally I will read some historical fiction.  But I have to admit that the cover for this one is what drew me in:

Something about how she is sprawled on the court just made me laugh.  Plus the title is silly.  The premise of the book is that a teen named Maguire knows she is cursed.  Bad things keep happening and the only common denominator happens to be her.  So she tries to stay away from other people at all costs and fears to get close to anyone.  Her mom sends her to a new therapist for help.  I read this book hoping to have a fun, light-hearted read and ended up with a deeper read than I expected.

It begins with Maguire’s therapy sessions and then slowly branches out to the rest of her life.  Maguire is obviously suffering from PTSD and has repetitive coping behaviors.  She is utterly convinced of her curse.  But with her therapist’s help she comes up with a series of personal challenges to work through her fears and help her accomplish the goal of going on a trip with her mother that involves flying.  I absolutely loved that therapy is shown in a positive light.  Maguire’s therapist uses cognitive behavioral therapy in a non-cookie cutter approach.

One of the challenges is to join a tennis team.  It is here that the book shines.  Part of that is because the author sets up characters that seem stereotypical – like the hot evil jock girl and then upsets yer expectations.  I loved that these teens did have some depth to them.  At the same time the characters were also light and fun.  Maguire’s friendships ended up being one of the highlights of the book.  A lot of the humor in the book shines in these moments.

I thought Maguire was a great protagonist and I really did care about her journey to towards improvement.  Her relationship with Jordy was sweet and he ended up being kinda adorable.  I thought the trope used would annoy me but it ended up being fine.  I did appreciate that friendship became the focus of their relationship.

I also liked that Maguire’s relationship towards her mom and step-dad highlighted some lovely bonding moments.  Maguire learns that her perceptions of them weren’t accurate.  Grown-ups have fears and worries too.  Also Maguire’s mom learns that her daughter has been keeping things from her and how this is handled was deftly done.  It was realistic and wonderful.

I am not saying that this book is perfect.  Maguire does manage to overcome her fears in a very short time-frame with many challenges being met on the first try.  The boy she likes does happen to be a bit too perfect for her and she needs his help to “fix” her problems.  In general, all the parents overall are too absent.  And the friendships and adjustments to Maguire’s new life sometimes seemingly fall right into place.

And yet the humor, characters, and writing kept me engaged.  I thought that this was a very fun read and yet also a thoughtful one as well.  I got more than I expected from this one and so that was cool.  I am glad I took a chance on this contemporary.  Arrr!

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

From the author of The Art of Lainey and Liars, Inc. comes a fresh, contemporary story about a girl coping with PTSD and the boy who wants to help her move on from the past.

Sixteen-year-old Maguire knows the universe is against her. No matter how many charms she buys off the internet or good luck rituals she performs each morning, horrible things happen when she’s around. Like that time the roller coaster jumped off its tracks. Or the time the house next door caught on fire. Or the time her brother, father, and uncle were all killed in a car crash–and Maguire walked away with barely a scratch.

Despite what her therapist tells her, Maguire thinks it’s best to hide out in her room, far away from anyone she might accidentally hurt. But then she meets Jordy, an aspiring tennis star who wants to help her break her unlucky streak. Maguire knows that the best thing she can do for him is to stay away, but it turns out staying away might be harder than she thought.

To visit the author’s website go to:

Paula Stokes – Author

To buy the novel go to:

girl against the universe – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

3 thoughts on “The Captain’s Log – girl against the universe (Paula Stokes)

  1. Phew, All finally caught up with yer blog. I do not know if this book is for me( I tend to stay away from “girl this or girl that”books. I am however reading a book with a girl on the cover at the moment…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.