Thursday, July 12, 2012

Review: The Probability of Miracles

The Probability of Miracles, by Wendy Wunder. The GoodReads summary.
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.
I’m not a fan of cancer books. Truly, I’m not. I mean, I wasn’t even that big of a fan of “The Fault in Our Stars,” which EVERYBODY seemed to love. Something about knowing that the main character is going to die tends to turn me off. That said, I really liked this book.

The number one reason I liked this book is Cam. I just really, really enjoyed her narrative voice. She’s sarcastic and sardonic without crossing the line into bitter or dark. I mean, it’s gotta suck to know you’re not going to make it to your 18th birthday, so I don’t blame Cam for being a little on the negative side. But watching her grow from being almost too resigned to her fate to learning to appreciate the life she has is not only fulfilling but a lot of fun too.

I also loved the setting. The town, with its flamingos, orcas, and purple dandelions, is just so ridiculously cool. And I love that you never really know whether the town is magic or if it’s just a bunch of coincidences that can be explained away—it could go either way, and you’re left to decide for yourself.

The cast of secondary characters is a lot of fun. My favorite by far is Perry, Cam’s little sister, but I liked everybody—her mom, her grandma, that hottie Asher, her friend Lily, the vet . . . everybody.

And really, what probably won me over the rest of the way is that Cam’s cancer isn’t a super huge part of the book. I mean, she’s sick in the beginning and the very end, but for most of the middle of the book she’s pretty normal. The cancer was always there in the background, but it didn’t really dominate the story. It was more about Cam learning to embrace the life she has left than about her dying.

I don’t always like books with messages, but this one was so subtle and well done that I actually really appreciated it. It’s all about deciding whether the pain of hope is worth it and finding the line between letting miracles come to you or creating your own.

Overall, I think this is just about the only cancer book I’d be willing to reread. The characters and the setting are really awesome, there’s plenty of humor, and it left me something to think about without making me feel like it was force-feeding me an inspirational message.

Rating: 4 / 5


  1. You know I *just* saw this book in a bookshop today and considered buying it? I feel the same way about cancer books; I'll only read them if I'm assured they're something special/different. You've convinced me to give this one a try.

  2. I wasn't planning on reading this book at all (I don't even think I have it on my TBR pile), but your review makes me add it and want to buy it! Wow, I had no idea that this book was about cancer -- books like that always make me want to cry, and as strange as that sounds, I think that's a good thing :')

    Amazing review, Karen! <3

  3. This sounds SO good! I've been seeing amazing reviews on it and it really sounds like a wonderful story. And original for a cancer book is awesome, I've read lots and sometimes I feel they're always same old. But since this one the cancer is more like a presence instead I think it could be really moving! Even more than when it's all about it if you know what I mean >.< Great review, muffin!


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