Paula Stokes

Welcome to the Spring 2016 YA Scavenger Hunt!

It's that time again—time for someone to win a WHOLE LOT of books! Welcome to the Spring 2016 YA Scavenger Hunt. Here's what you need to know: 

Somewhere in this blog post, I've hidden an important number. Collect all of the secret numbers of the authors on TEAM ORANGE and add them up. (Don't worry—you can use a calculator!) Then, fill out the entry form HERE. People who have the correct number will be entered to win a copy of every book from TEAM ORANGE! 

The contest is open internationally. Anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by SUNDAY, APRIL 3, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.

There are NINE contests going on simultaneously this time around, and you can enter one or all! Find out more about the hunt and see all of the authors participating by going to the YA Scavenger Hunt page.

And business! 

I'm excited to be hosting Paula Stokes, author of GIRL AGAINST THE UNIVERSE!

Paula Stokes writes stories about flawed characters with good hearts who sometimes make bad decisions. She’s the author of several YA novels, Including Vicarious, Girl Against the Universe, Liars Inc., and The Art of Lainey. Her first new adult novel will be published in late 2016 or early 2017. Paula loves interacting with readers. Find her online at or on Twitter as @pstokesbooks.


Maguire is bad luck. Horrible things happen when she's 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.

And here's what Paula had to say: 

Hi YASHers! I had trouble deciding on a scene to share, because as many of you know, I have over 100 pages of cut scenes from Girl Against the Universe. I ultimately decided on a deleted phone conversation between main character, Maguire, and book-boyfriend Jordy.

Maguire is completing a list of seven tasks with the help of her therapist in order to get over her fear that she’s bad luck to people around her. In the earlier draft, she told Jordy she would go out with him only after she successfully completed all of her therapy challenges. This conversation occurred between challenges #5 and #6, but there’s nothing spoilery here.


My phone buzzes in the center console as I pull my mom’s car into the driveway. I cut the engine and glance down at the display. It’s Jordy.

I swipe at the screen. “Hey. What’s up? I just got home.”

“Have you picked a place for our first date yet?” he asks.

“No,” I say firmly. “Because I don’t want to jinx things.”

“Are you actually worried that you’re going to fail? Or are you more scared you’re going to succeed?”

I unclick my seatbelt. “A little of both,” I admit. “I’ve never been anyone’s girlfriend, you know? I’m not sure how all of that works.”

The closer I get to finishing my therapy challenges, the more I realize that my bad luck isn’t the only thing I’d have to worry about if Jordy and I actually got together. There’s his parents and his schedule and the way he makes me feel when we’re alone. It’s intense—a lot to process. What if I’m not ready?

“It works like we hang out and have fun together. It’s that simple.”

My eyelids flutter closed as I think about the kiss we shared at Joshua Tree. It did seem simple in that moment, but since then everything feels different. “Yeah, but are there certain…expectations?”

“What do you mean?” he asks. “Like going to my tennis matches?”

“Um, I’d love to go to your matches, but I meant more like the stuff we do…when we’re alone. You have a lot more experience than I do…” My cheeks start to burn.

“Oh.” He pauses for a second. “Maguire, I’ve spent the last few years feeling pressured from all sides. I’m not going to do that to you. Besides, I’m not in any major hurry. We can do or not do whatever you want. So don’t worry, okay?”

Relief surges through me. My eyes flick open. “Wow, you seriously are a people pleaser,” I tease.

He laughs lightly. “That’s a trait you might come to really appreciate someday.”

My face goes even hotter. “Stop it. I have to go inside eventually and I think you have me set on permanent blush.”

“Are you sitting in your mom’s car, in the dark, thinking about me?”

“Maybe,” I say. “Why?”

“Because I’m just lying here in my room, in the dark, thinking about you.”


Paula: This conversation was cut because I revised the progression of Maguire and Jordy’s relationship, but I was sad to lose the sex-positivity and the way that Jordy reassures Maguire that he’s not going to pressure her.

I’m sharing it for YASH because I think it captures the dynamics between the two of them and shows you a bit of their chemistry. He’s a little bit pushy, but ultimately supportive and decent. She’s crazy about him, even if she spends most of the book afraid to let herself get too close.

Okay—it's Kathryn again: 

Still on the YA Scavenger Hunt? There are two things you'll need to move forward. One: My secret number—33. And two: Your next stop on the Hunt. Head to Elle Cosimano's website for more great book content and goodies! 

And don't forget that somewhere on the TEAM ORANGE hunt, you'll find a sneak peek at Chapter One of my new book, HOW IT FEELS TO FLY, which comes out June 14. To celebrate, I'm giving away five swag packs via the Rafflecopter below! Want some HOW IT FEELS TO FLY goodies? You know what to do. :) 

Happy Hunting!