The Probability of Miracles
Hardcover: 360 pages
Publisher: Razorbill (December 8, 2011)
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.
The Probability of Miracles was one of those that I developed an appreciation for and had a connection with because the whole cancer issue is close to my heart and ended up liking the book, but...that's where it ends. It was just a decent read. For some odd reason, I felt like I couldn't get a grasp on the main character. She was all over the place for me, and she would constantly contradict herself; it ended up driving me nuts.She'd stick to saying and thinking that miracles and believing and magical wonders are just fantasy, not something she could put her trust in. That was understandable after all she'd been through, but she'd deny that those things could happen so much so that it became obvious she didn't believe herself. A bit too "Thou doth protest too much" type of thing. Then, of course, by the climax she does a whole 180 on herself and I'm left a little dizzy with all the different attitude changes. The only characteristic I could truly admire about Cam is that she does genuinely love her family and try to make it so everyone around her doesn't just think about her as the sick girl. Her makeup and background was one of my favorite character outlines ever; it was so original. This Samoan teenager who's father recently passed, who's mom dances in the Polynesian hotel exhibit in Epcot, likes to work in the hotel's kitchen, who has a terminal diagnosis of cancer and a little Norwegian half-sister, is somebody new to me. And I liked that.
So basically her doctors tell her "Your life is over", and her mom decides it's time to do something a little more drastic, like take the summer off to live somewhere that births miracles daily. There Cam runs into the "catalog kids"--model lookalikes--who become her friends and she starts to slowly take matters into her own hands to make her last few weeks in such a cool beach-side environment to die for. While the plot does take a while to take off because the road trip included making two stops to Cam's best friends in North Carolina and her grandmother in Jersey, there were more and more characters that affected Cam's life exponentially. I did not by any means like Cam's friend, Lily, who was also terminal because the brief instance where her character played a significant part she acted just like Cam offhandedly described, like a spoiled child. I didn't get her appeal whatsoever.
Asher, the quiet team player, has the pleasure of seeing Cam's crazy family up close since they are staying at his house while he lives in the nearby cottage. Even though Ms. Wunder includes the basics of who Asher is, his personality and appeal besides his good looks is a bit nonexistent. And when Cam was right--as she usually was about everything--about his secret pleasure, I was stunned. It came completely out of left field. She predicted it because she thought she had him figured out but overall, The Probability of Miracles when a little extreme at times. I kept asking myself, "Why take things so far?
The pros that outweighed the cons for me mostly had to do with the crazy shenanigans that Cam did in Maine, and Promise, Maine in general. After reading this book, I would seriously consider convincing my mom for a lengthy road trip just to see the beach, the purple dandelions and flock of flamingos. I loved the author's descriptions of the scenery and her upfront and humorous writing style.
Source: ARC Trade