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Maybe a Miracle

3.6  ·  Rating Details ·  737 Ratings  ·  114 Reviews
In this disarming debut, Brian Strause has written a vastly entertaining novel about an American family transfixed by a series of mysterious events. From a comfortable suburb of Columbus, Ohio, emerges a story of rebellion, faith and hope, bridging the cultural gap between those who believe in miracles and those who wish they could.
Monroe Anderson-as quiet on the outside
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published October 11th 2005 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2005)
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Katie Hawkins
Apr 11, 2011 Katie Hawkins rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some GREAT quotes in this book.

Here are a couple:

"Maybe its not what you believe in, just that you believe in the first place."

"... you can spend your whole life living up or down to other people's expectations, but in the end, the only thing that matters is living up to your own."

"For those who believe, there's no explanation needed. For those who don't believe, no explanation will suffice."

"It's like life's this slippery slope and we're never really in control and sometimes it seems like runni
Mar 26, 2013 Victoria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading this book. When I bought the book a few years ago, its opening scene stuck with me this whole time. It was certainly memorable! Monroe’s narration of his sister, Annika, and her remarkable story flowed very naturally. An audiobook version would probably be really terrific as well. Strause balanced the touching and emotional scenes with some fun, realistic and genuine-feeling dialogue. While the miracles in the novel have appeared in other pieces of literature, the unique ...more
Mar 01, 2007 Mallory rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: theologians, Catholics, anyone with a soul
A strange and haunting novel about a young man who, on the evening of his High School Senior Prom, finds his little sister floating face down in the family pool. Annika falls into a persistant vegetative state (PVS - think Terry Schaivo) and the family takes her home to care for her. Strange things begin to happen, however, as Annika begins to stigmata.

Using Catholicism, mysticism and a beautiful style, the author creates a coming of age story for his protaginast that rivals The Catcher in the R
Nov 13, 2007 Kendra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
On the night of his senior prom, Monroe finds his younger sister, Annika, floating facedown in the family's pool. I'd have been MORE interested if the book was just about the effect that Annika's coma has on the family, but instead, Annika becomes famous as people all over the country become convinced that she is a "victim soul" who can cure others by taking on their pain and suffering. I did like the book, but I got irritated with all of the "miracle" crap -- even though Monroe, our narrator, d ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I was on the way of giving this one 5 stars as I headed toward the middle of this book. Once I hit the middle, the rating went down and I could only give it 3 stars. While the ending was beautiful, getting there became so distasteful and over the top that it was a painful journey to get there.

Told entirely by Monroe Anderson, an 18 year old about to graduate from high school, it is irreverent, socially incorrect with terms and vocabulary that is not considered to be in good taste. Well, it is to
Dysphasiatic Danz
Jun 02, 2014 Dysphasiatic Danz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is like a Catcher in the Rye for atheists, only I found this protagonist much easier to empathize with. The core characters were believable, even when unbelievable things were happening to them. If I were to pick out one fault that bothered me, it's that the young sister, Annika, had dialogue that seemed older than her years. I can excuse that because the story is told by her older brother who admittedly has conversations with her in his head. He is as guilty as others of remaking her in th ...more
Kat Kovar
Nov 21, 2014 Kat Kovar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book "Maybe A Miracle" kept me turning pages and I just couldn't put it down. The story line of a high schooler who saves his little sister from drowning and is kept on edge while waiting for her to come out of a coma is hauntingly interesting. The novel is quick paced and pulls the reader in instantly. I liked how this book continued to surprise me often leaving me wondering how I fell into the authors trap so easily. Religion also played a major part in this book and I found myself looking ...more
Jan 24, 2012 Crystal rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The story seemed ok, although I just couldn't get into it. What really turned me off of this book though was the amount of times "retarded" and "fag" were used as derogatory terms. The non-chalant use of these words in the form of insults is just not ok with me.
Over the course of January and February I read Maybe a Miracle by Brian Strause and I really enjoyed this book even though I thought I wouldn’t. The reason why I liked this book so much was because I loved the detail and the word choice. For me, its really hard to find a book that will want you to know what will happen next and Maybe a Miracle had that little spark that, to me, all great books have.
So, Maybe a Miracle is about a teenage boy named Monroe and his sister Annika. On the nig
Aug 28, 2015 Coleen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Monroe, shortly before graduating from high school and on the evening of his senior prom, finds his younger sister floating facedown in the family's pool. He dives in and saves her, but she remains in a coma indefinitely. The story continues on from there, primarily exploring how each family member comes to terms with this.

The plot of this story had similarities to a novel I read a couple years ago (Rebecca Johnson's And Sometimes Why), but I felt this one was better executed and overall I enjo
Feb 08, 2016 Amy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Amy by: bookclub
I felt equal parts dislike and ambivalence towards this story. Ultimately it is a tale of a brother coping with his sister's long standing coma with added unusual circumstances. The relationship with the brother and his sister and his actions throughout actually make for a good story. But the unusual circumstances are unfortunately the focus here. Unlike The Age of Miracles where the cosmic phenomenon is merely a vehicle for metaphor and some pushing along of a girl's coming-of-age, here the wei ...more
Mrs. Clot
Jan 05, 2013 Mrs. Clot rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 05, 2013 Dave rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
There is a higher power among us, but how egotistical it is for us to presume to know exactly what It is. Monroe has the typical middle child syndrome as psychoanalysts would divulge--apathy, lost-in-the-shuffle mentality, a teen's tendency to describe even the crispest colors of autumn as graying and drab. But it's hard to blame him when his brother is a world class golfer and first rate a-hole to boot. And his sister is the wunderkind, training for Olympic diving. The family, believable and ne ...more
Apr 26, 2007 Rosey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
really enjoyed this one a LOT!!! It was about a teenager boy who was on his way his senior prom, but saw his younger sister, Annika, laying face-down in the family's swimming pool. He rescued her and brought her back to life, but then she slipped into a coma. This event changed the family a lot in various ways, and what I enjoy the most was the main character, Monroe's thoughts to himself. The reviews compared him to Holden Caulfield of The Catcher in the Rye. He was very witty, and so real. I e ...more
Jun 03, 2010 Kelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"There are two ways to live your life-- believing that everything is a miracle or that nothing is." - Albert Einstein"

"People always say dance like no one's watching, but the thing to remember is this: they are watching and you can bet they wish they were dancing too."

"I shouldn't be surprised Emily's a really good dancer. She takes my lead, not that we're doing anything fancy, but I can feel her trust. It's easy, like a conversation you don't have to think about-- when you're really listening t
Apr 01, 2009 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I heard the author read from this book at Grinnell College in Iowa. I bought it right away because I really liked Brian. It isn't the fastest read but it definitely is worth the time spent. I thought of it as the sort of book you have to suspend your sense of reality to enjoy. You can't question why things happen, or whether things seem real, you just accept it as part of the story and wait to see how it all comes out. Maybe A Miracle is a sensitive, witty, ironic and irreverent story sharing al ...more
Oct 25, 2011 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2006
I thought it was okay; not great, not something I probably would have picked up had I known more about it, just so-so. The back cover really doesn't give much information on the book so I wasn't expecting the heavy religious theme. The story centers around a family in which the daughter falls into a coma/vegetative state and small miracles happen all around her. (Healings, stigmata, etc.) The ending was a bit of a twist which I appriciated and opened the door to some deeper thoughts about the w ...more
Suzanne Goldsmith
What really propelled me through this novel was the consistent, believably lost-but-using-sarcasm-to-deal-with-it voice of the narrator. The magical things that happen, well, they were important to the plot but were never explained and it was as if they didn't need to be. I was annoyed by that. But Monroe? He's an excellent character and so is his sister. I finished this book with gusto. Couldn't decide between 3 and 4 stars. Call it 3 1/2.
Jan 29, 2013 Katherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2007
I grabbed this book while in the grocery check-out one morning simply because of its cover (Im pretty bad about that!). I began reading this book over my lunch break and finished it within three days. Bits of this book moved too slowly for my taste, but it never lost my interest. It was well written and very real in the language. I think the general concept is slightly far-fetched, but nevertheless it made for a very good read. Monroe is a believable character that you want to get to know. Annik ...more
Melissa Lee-Tammeus
Aug 28, 2013 Melissa Lee-Tammeus rated it liked it
Shelves: borrowed
Narrated from a late teen male's point of view, this book is what I would call a coming of age, religious zealot journey, stigmata crazy yet incredibly normal storyline. It would seem as if you could not fit all this into one book and make it work, but Strause pulled it off. In a nutshell: Teen is close to younger sister. Sister is swimmer. Brother finds her in pool unconscious and becomes a reluctant hero. Sister is in coma for a LONG time. However, the strain on the family, which would be enou ...more
Jan 12, 2009 Sara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was given this book by my then housemate as a Christmas present. He, himself, had never read it or even heard anything about it. It's always an interesting experience going into a book knowing nothing about it good or bad other than that it's on your shelf in the to-be-read pile.

The book is centered on a teenager whose little sister is in a coma. The story is about how he manages to cope with the situation while surviving the coping strategies of the rest of his family. It's kind of surreal at
Sep 12, 2007 Jenny rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I think I wanted more from this book than it was able to give. The narrator's preteen sister falls into the family swimming pool and the narrator saves her, only to have her fall into a coma for over two years, during which all manner of miracles seem to be caused by the girl. I liked the interplay between faith and reason, and I liked how authentic the narration felt, but I think I wanted more credence given to the miracles, and the faith these inspired in the mom of the family and in all manne ...more
Oct 21, 2008 Hannah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: advisorybooks
This was an excellent book. I found my self not wanting to put it down due to the fact that there was never a dull moment. The book was about a girl that goes into a coma and how her family copes with it. I found it very interesting because it shows how different people cope with tragedy. The story goes through the two years that she is in a coma. The mother finds religion, the father leaves, drinks and eats, while the brother struggles with his emotions. The brother, the only reason why his sis ...more
Jul 11, 2016 Delaney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely phenomenal read. Humorous and heartfelt this narrative held my attention captive. It is a little dark and explicit in some parts but overall super amazing. Made me laugh out loud and would definitely read again.
Jul 22, 2008 Rachael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit
Hilarious! Monroe's little sister, Anika, drowns and ends up in a coma. Suddenly, there are miracles all around her: the smell of roses, stigmata, people being healed. She becomes a religious attraction, which Monroe details in the book in a well-executed voice. He's the best part - a sarcastic little piss-ant. I appreciated the conclusion, with Anika coming back to conciousness to bad mouth all the ridiculous 'religious' beliefs, but that's not surprising, since I have little patience for such ...more
Megan M
Jul 28, 2010 Megan M rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Definitely an interesting and unique story. I loved the dry, sarcastic humor and appreciated the provocative views on religion and faith from the narrator. The book not only challenges some of the social establishments in our society, but also reinforces the importance of hope with the same vigor.
As someone in my early 20's, I felt the author did an excellent job in epitomizing the thought process of a young adult. Also, being from Ohio and a huge OSU and Cincinnati Reds fan, the Ohio references
Oct 09, 2007 Bridget rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: generalfiction
This book surprised me. A friend told me about it, and I found it a surprisingly engaging story. The story is told by a teenage boy, who comes home one day to find his little sister at the bottom of the pool. He gets her out, and she ends up in a coma. It follows the family over the next year or so, and how the family/friends react. The interesting part is the miracles appear to happen around her, so she becomes a media sensation. Now, normally I would think this sounds very hoaky, but I really ...more
Jul 18, 2016 Lori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Funny, satirical of religious fanaticism. Lots of quotable lines from the mind of a teenage boy.
Carrie Z
Sep 06, 2014 Carrie Z rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Different; kept my attention. Loved author's style. End a little flat, but still highly recommend.
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