Monday, January 2, 2012

The Probablilty of Miracles by Wendy Wunder


The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder
Published: Dec. 8, 2012 by Razorbill
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. {goodreads.com}



Death, or soon-to-be-death, is never an easy thing to read about in books.  There is always that premonition that it will cause sob-fest induced tears and leave you in a million broken pieces when you finish reading the story.  However, THIS story did the complete opposite.  It filled me with laughter, insight, and awe-inspiring moments (and yes maybe a few tears).  I can honestly say I walked away from this book with a better feeling than I had when I started it.  There is a bigger lesson to be learned here, that yes we all have an end date, but what we do with our time in between is what's most important.

Campbell Cooper is dying slowly from the inside out due to a retched disease we are all too familiar with: cancer.  She has spent the majority of her life being probed my needles, and whisked off to different cancer treatment facilities promising a new outcome.  With her courageous and quirky mother, and her free-spirited little sister by her side she's always seemed to be the one comforting them when each new treatment fails.  Cam is the root of the family.  She stands tall by supporting her mom and sister during these emotional times.  When Cam begins to accept her fate, it's her mother who refuses to give up and throw in the towel.  Instead, she packs Cam and her sister Perry, with their belongings, inside a U-Haul and travel from the sunny state of Florida, north to a town called Promise, Maine.  It's literally off the map, down a worn path, nestled between the gray cliffs and choppy bay.  The one thing Cam feels slipping through her fingers, yet her mom and sister are so desperately trying to cling to, may be found in this small town: Hope.

Cam's dry personality and realistic outlook on life was a nice off-set to the heavy subject matter that laid dormant in the background of this story.  In the beginning we discover a list that Cam has created for herself of things she'd like to accomplish before her time is up.  One by one, Cam begins to check these things off the list.  They aren't your extravagant wishful hopes and dreams.  They are mundane, and normal.  Just the way Cam wants it to be.  Her ultimate wish: to live an every day kind of life without the fear of it being her last.  I admired her courage to tackle the list, but what I loved most is how she quickly forgot about the tasks and simply lived her life.

Two things stood out in this novel for me: the cozy beach town of Promise, Maine and the boy Asher who stole Cam's heart.  Discovering little bits of happiness when you least expect them to be unearthed, is what carried this book so far in my eyes.  Cam does not believe in miracles.  She thinks every thing is made of scientific matter, with hard evidence to prove it's outcome.  So when this town presents itself in such an unrealistic, enchanting way, Cam is skeptical.  But it's Asher who unravels Cam's questions and shows her how to believe... even in miracles.

Wendy Wunder has done a fabulous job of presenting a very tough subject matter, such as childhood cancer, and given it a very hopeful and believable identity through words on a page.  There were a few, quiet moments that really tugged at my heart.  How someone can sit back and watch a life pass by that may never be theirs, has to be one of the most cruelest tricks ever.  But when that person is able to find the strength and courage to comfort their family they'll be one day leaving, and still fulfill their own heart's desires; amazes me.  This book has left me wanting to create my own list of things to accomplish in life.  What would be on yours?





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16 comments:

  1. Yep, I need to read this STAT. I love characters that are sarcastic and have a dry sense of humor and even though the MC is dealing with cancer, it seems like a really inspiring story.

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  2. I super want to read this one. I usually stay away from books with terminally ill characters since I try to avoid the super sad ones, but this one just sounds so amazing that I'm going to give it a shot :]

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  3. I just finished this one and I loved it. Your review was incredibly insightful without giving anything away. I'm in awe. Great review Ginger!

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  4. This sounds like a great read. AND I love the name Asher. 

    Thinking about what we want to accomplish in life is a big question for a book to ask...and I think it's really rad that it does. 

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  5. This is definitely on my must-read list. Great review. I really really need to get my hands on this but by the looks of things I may read it in five years. haha. So much to read & so little time.

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  6. Oh my goodness, wow! This sounds AMAZING. Holy awesome review!! Like, whoa! 

    A blogger friend just sent me a copy of this one and I'm so excited to read it! I think this review just pushed it up the que though!! 

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  7. ]The more I hear about this book the more I Want to read it. thanks for sharing this lovely review.

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  8. I just read this book and it will be posting on my blog this week, I think. I too really enjoyed this book. I was worried it would be sad and well, sad, but it wasn't. I loved that Cam didn't believe in miracles, but wouldn't allow her family to stop believing either. There was such sweetness to this book.

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  9. Ginger, this is a great review.

    I'm nervous about reading this book - I worry that it's too difficult a subject for me. But your review makes me think I could make it through and that it would be worth it.

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  10. This book sounds so amazing.  And your review really highlighted that.  The way you talk about it tells me I have to read it at some point soon, Ginger.  Great review, as always. 

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  11. Terrific review, Ginger! This book sounds amazing.

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  12. Gosh - this sounds like a great read. And I like the cover a lot! Have you read Deadline by Chris Crutcher? The protagonist is a teenage boy who knows he only has a few months left to live, and it is easily one of the most uplifting, funniest, altogether BEST books I've ever read.

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  13. La Toya, Literally.February 1, 2012 at 7:40 PM

    This sounds like such a gorgeous book! Great review :)

    xo,
    La Toya (La Toya, Literally.)

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  14. Yay I'm starting this book In the next week -- can't wait!

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  15. This sounds like a great though intensive read. I'm not sure if I'd be up dealing with such a heavy and tough subject but you seem to like this book very much, so I might add it to me TBR list for a time when I feel like reading such a book. Happy New Year! 

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  16. Natalie @ Mindful MusingsFebruary 1, 2012 at 7:40 PM

    I'm pretty sure I've heard nothing but great things about this book so far, so I'm adding it to my to-read list! Sometimes I think it's only when we realize just how short life can be (and is, in the long run) that we are able to truly live, and I'm constantly trying (and failing) to remind myself of that. Maybe this book will give me some needed inspiration! 

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