The Probability of Miracles

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4.1 (3)
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The Probability of Miracles
Author(s)
Publisher
Genre(s)
Age Range
14+
Release Date
December 08, 2011
ISBN
1595143688
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Dry, sarcastic, sixteen-year-old Cam Cooper has spent the last seven years in and out hospitals. The last thing she wants to do in the short life she has left is move 1,500 miles away to Promise, Maine - a place known for the miraculous events that occur there. But it's undeniable that strange things happen in Promise: everlasting sunsets; purple dandelions; flamingoes in the frigid Atlantic; an elusive boy named Asher; and finally, a mysterious envelope containing a list of things for Cam to do before she dies. As Cam checks each item off the list, she finally learns to believe - in love, in herself, and even in miracles.

A debut novel from an immensely talented new writer, The Probability of Miracles crackles with wit, romance and humor and will leave readers laughing and crying with each turn of the page.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Inspirational and emotional story
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
When I first picked up 'The Probability of Miracles' I was afraid it was going to be a happy story about a girl with cancer (I know, crazy, right?). I was afraid that it was going to be one of those books that is just unrealistic and too positive to be real, boy was I ever wrong, but in a good way.

This book is so realistic, I felt like I was there with Cam and her family through the entire read. Cam has cancer and is expected to pass away soon. Her mom, as a last effort to save her, drives her to the miracle town of Promise, Maine, where miracles seem to happen. Again, I thought the trip was going to be hokey and unrealistic (yeesh, what is wrong with me?) but it was so great! It was your typical family 'vacation' via car. Cam, her mom and her little sister, Perry, are so endearing and family like that I found myself picturing all my family vacations. Fights in the car, annoying teenagers (me), greasy fast food places and corny landmarks. Wendy Wunder does a fantastic, and I mean absolutely fantastic, job of putting the reader right there with the characters. I was blown away by her writing style and found myself not being able to put this book down.

The characters are unique. Cam is not your typical teenager in that she is battling terminal cancer. Her best friend, Lily, also has the same type of cancer and they met at Summer Camp. Cam and Lily have a very unique relationship. They are the only two who get each other, know what the other is going through. They make lists (bucket lists of sorts) of what they want to accomplish or do before they die. Perry is your typical little sister, she is sarcastic, annoyed at her big sister yet looks up to Cam as well. Cam's mother, Alicia, is a free spirit who is willing to try or do whatever it takes to get Cam better.

When Cam, Alicia and Perry travel from Florida up to Promise, Maine, they are met with lots of unexpected surprises. First of all, finding Promise is a chore in itself. Not everyone can find the miracle town, and when the three of them do, Alicia is more than besides herself with excitement. Cam is not so sure and doesn't believe in miracles, so she just plays along for her mother and sister's sakes. When the three of them meet Asher, a teenage boy from the town, he invites them to stay in his grandmother's home while they are there. I loved Asher's character. Not only was he very helpful, giving, honorable and every girl in town seems to be after him. The interactions between Asher and Cam are witty, fun and heartwarming. He gives her hope, and she gives him courage.

I won't give away what happens in the book, but I will say, again, how much I adored this book. The writing style, the characters, the subject matter, all of it was fantastic! I cannot wait to read more by this author!
Good Points
Beautifully written
Wonderful characters
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User reviews

3 reviews

Overall rating 
 
4.1
Plot 
 
4.0  (3)
Characters 
 
3.7  (3)
Writing Style 
 
4.7  (3)
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The Probability of Miracles (A Room with Books review)
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Yeah, I cried. I won’t go into the sad bits any more than because I really don’t want to ruin this beautiful novel for anyone.

I’d heard amazing reviews for this one back when it came out and that’s really what pushed it to the top of my list. That, and the pretty cover. Well, the setting had a bit to do with it too, but you can’t tell me that cover isn’t eye-catching. Normally for such an amazing book I’d say I wish I’d read it sooner, but the timing was actually good since I’m dealing with something in my personal life.

I’ve never been really close to anyone has dealt with cancer, especially at a young age, but I imagine people generally deal with it in one of two ways either trying to live what’s left of their life to the fullest doing everything they ever wished to do or always thinking about the death that lies ahead and never allowing themselves hope. Cam is definitely the second. I find this to be completely understandable, but there were still times I wanted to shake her a little and tell her to embrace the joys of life around her. But at the same time, I couldn’t help but imagine myself in her situation and I’d probably feel pretty hopeless and cynical most of the time too.

But the thing is, Cam is able to change and it’s a subtle yet completely beautiful transformation. And one of the big helpers of Cam’s change? Promise, Maine. I loved the town and all the crazy things that happened. It was almost like its own character and it was simply glorious.
Of course, Asher helps Cam change too. Their relationship is spectacular and Wunder does a wonderful job of making it deep and beautiful, but very tasteful.

The Nutshell: I could probably write page upon page of praise for this book, but you’d never read it, so I’ll try to stick to the really important stuff. The Probability of Miracles is a truly beautiful book and I believe everyone should read it. Wunder manages to bring sarcasm, beauty, laughter, and life into a book based around a girl who’s dying of cancer and it works. I mean it really works. There’s laughter, growth, sorrow, and more that I can’t put into words contained in the pages of this book and it deserves to be read. If you’re a fan of contemporary this is a definite must read.
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Okay.
Overall rating 
 
3.0
Plot 
 
3.0
Characters 
 
2.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Maybe it was just the mood I was in, but this book didn't do it for me. I liked it, but I felt like it dragged on. Also, I have grown to despise books written in third-person. I can't connect with them.
It really had everything to do with Cam. In the beginning, she annoyed the piss out of me. I couldn't stand how she would throw her environment activist, save the trees jargon at me every other paragraph. Yeah, we get it, the environment is in danger. She redeemed her selfish personality towards the middle, though.
Also, I really need to stop reading books with a cancer premise. It hits to close to home with me, and just makes me cry the entire time. Yes, Cam and Asher made me cry. Their relationship was the only solid thing in the book that really kept me going. And Cam's realization towards the end is quite sweet, too. And sometimes, the dialog would make me laugh, but most of it just felt dry.
I'm sure there is more I can say about it, but I cant find the words at the time. I finished this book late last night, and am still recovering form crying myself to sleep.

And if anything sticks with me from this book, it is this:
“The magic thing about home is that it feels good to leave, and it feels even better to come back.”
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Amazing!
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
BEAUTIFUL. Simply beautiful.

I had no idea what to expect when I started this book. I don't typically like books that tend to be heavy. I like my books light and fluffy. Afterall, they are my escape. The synopsis does a pretty good job of summarizing the book, but it doesn't tell you how beautiful the writing is. (sigh)

I loved Cam and Asher. I loved Nana and Pery. All of the characters were great and did such a great job of complimenting one another. Nana is hilarious. I found it hilarious that she got Cam to steal a leaf off a sacred tree that had "healing powers," but she ran off in the middle of the heist because she saw her arch nemesis. So funny. Pery is your typical teeny bopper. She's playful and innocent, but also incomplete.

Cam and Asher were mesmerizing. Cam was sarcastic and real. You could feel her fear and insecurity. I totally understood why she was trying to protect herself (her heart). And I LOVED how she changed throughout the book. It was so heartwarming. Asher is a little different. He's not dying like Cam is, but he is guarded. He has a fear of loss, so it's hard for him to leave Promise. He feels like if he leaves his mystical home, everything will come crashing down on him. All of these characters were flawed and real. More real than I could have imagined. Their imperfections were captivating.

The plot is pretty straight forward in this book. Cam is dying. In a final effort to find a saving miracle, her mother packs the entire family up and goes to the mystical Promise, Maine because she has heard magical things happen there. Cam is skeptical and guarded at first. She's an odd one (she asked to adopt a lobster from a local sea food restaurant) and doesn't want to get attached to anyone or anything because she knows she won't be around much longer. Somehow, though, things start to change. She slowly decides that maybe pretending to believe in miracles will help her family. There are some hilarious antics with Cam's forced miracles. My favorite being when she kidnapped the vet's donkey, James Madison, and doused him in flour and duct taped an aluminum foil horn to his head in order to fake a unicorn sighting for her younger sister. So. Funny. Of course, that event didn't turn out the way she wanted (like most things in her life), but it proved to be monumental. It was almost like it was the catalyst for her change of heart. And what a change it was.

There are no magical healings in the book. Cam does not overcome her sickness. It was very tragic and so real. I cried while reading the final 40+ pages. I didn't cry out of sadness though. The writing was so beautiful that it brought tears to my eyes. But most importantly, the transformation that Cam-- as a person-- had undergone was what was so amazing. I expected to be so overwhelmed with grief at her passing, but I wasn't. Instead, there was an unbelievable sense of completeness and closure. I can't put into words how the end of the book moved me. The emotions that I felt while reading are too much for simple words. But I can honestly say, it was one of the most beautiful books I have ever read.

I know there is a lot of discussion about YA books being "too dark." I would counter that argument with this book. Yes, the material is very sad and heavy, but it's not dark. It's a beautiful story of hope and change. Yes, the main character dies in the end, but it's not a sad ending. It gives hope and closure to a part of life that seems to be avoided because it brings so much grief. This is a must read. Plain and simple. You owe it to yourself to read this book, and experience the beauty of this story.
Good Points
Wonderful characters.
Beautiful writing.
Imagery was excellent.
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