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.
When not spending time with her family, Wendy teaches yoga around Boston and writing at Grub Street. Her first story was published in The Gettysburg Review. The Probability of Miracles is her first novel.
This is mostly what I kept thinking while reading the book: 'Hmm...' Which equaled other sentences like 'When am I going to get hooked to this story?' and 'I'm not feeling it.' Basically this book didn't quite do it for me. I really wanted to like it. In fact, I was hoping to LOVE it. But it didn't happen. I didn't hate it though. I thought it was just okay.
The Probability of Miracles reminded me in a way of an Australian young-adult title I read last month: Girl Saves Boy by Steph Bowe. Both are quirky, both have main characters who've had cancer since childhood and have a dead parent, and both even have a "Let's save a lobster!" scene (which was totally weird because what are the odds of that happening in both books?). But I liked Girl Saves Boy a bit better, although there wasn't enough closure in that one. Unlike that book, I couldn't connect with the characters or the story in The Probability of Miracles.
For the past several years of her life, sixteen-year-old Campbell (or Cam) Cooper has been fighting a battle with cancer, and after a recent visit to her doctor, it's not looking good. With the little time she has left, Cam decides she wants to do some of the things on her Flamingo List, a list she created a year earlier of all the rebellious things she wanted to do. Cam manages to complete some before her mother takes her and her younger sister on a road trip to Promise, Maine in search of a miracle. It is there in the mysterious and almost magical town of Promise that Cam meets and falls for a guy named Asher, completes her Flamingo List and creates a new one, and finds her miracle.
As I mentioned, I didn't have a connection with the characters. Cam was dry and sarcastic, and while I usually like that in a character, I never REALLY warmed up to her. And I felt like I never really knew the other characters. This was a problem because it resulted in me not being able to become emotionally invested in the story. The story was about cancer and death and miracles, and I needed that emotional connection in order to feel for the characters and understand their actions. But sadly, I couldn't get myself to become invested in that way.
I thought some things were rushed. The romance between Cam and Asher wasn't developed enough. Or maybe I didn't feel anything for it. Or maybe it was both. Either way I felt like it happened, like most of the things in this book, just so that Cam could experience what she hasn't yet been able to and probably won't be able to. I also thought some of the events that occurred were weird and random. I think the story was suppose to be bizarre (what with the town of Promise being sort of "magical" with the purple dandelions, flamingos in Maine, Killer Whales in the bay, etc.), but it was almost too bizarre. I honestly started to think that Cam was actually in a hospital bed dying and having an extravagant hallucination or dream.
So, it was a bit strange. I may not have felt much for the story or the characters, but here's what I really liked about The Probability of Miracles:
- The cover! The font is cool, the girl is beautiful, and the pink is HOT. It fit the story.
- Cam is half Samoan and half Italian. She gets her looks from the Samoan side of her family, and her Polynesian heritage was integrated into the story.
- There was a road trip. From Orlando, Florida to Promise, Maine. They stopped in South Carolina, North Carolina, and New Jersey.
- A whole chapter dedicated to a tourist trap Cam and her family stopped at in South Carolina called South of the Border! Have you guys ever been there? I have. A couple of times. It's not that I enjoy going there (it's gross and offensive and probably the CREEPIEST place I've ever been to), but it's something I'm a bit familiar with. And I thought it was hilarious that it was in this book. Here are some pictures of that place: Notice the flamingo in the night shot on the left? ;) The bottom picture is one of the MANY billboards found along the interstate. (Note: I did not take these pictures. Found them online.)
- Writing in the ARC. It was fun. You should try it, especially if others are willing to read and write in your ARC. It made me want to finish reading it, and I was able to enjoy the story more. The picture below is what I wrote on the first page of chapter 12. (click to full view)
- The last couple of paragraphs, especially the last few lines, in the book. Those finale words... I thought it was beautiful. And heartbreaking. I wish the entire book had been written like that because it got a reaction out of me. It really made me feel for Cam and all the people who love her.
Overall, I didn't love or hate The Probability of Miracles. It was an okay read. Even though it wasn't what I was hoping it would be, I'm sure other readers will like it. I've already seen some who've read it and really liked it, and I think those who are still curious should give this book a read and make up their own mind about it. It's something you have to experience yourself.
I was apprehensive about reading this novel. The big C has hit my family this year, and I wasn’t sure how I was going to react to reading a book about a girl dying of cancer. I was anticipating that this novel was going to be a heavy read, I thought it would hit to close to home and that I wouldn’t be able to “enjoy” the story.
I not only enjoyed reading this novel, it is one of my favorite novels of 2011. This book hits you hard, well maybe it just hit me hard, but it was a good thing.
My favorite thing about this novel was Cam. She was perfect. She is what I want all the heroines I read about to be. She’s sarcastic and brutally honest, yet you know that she cares deeply for those people she is close to. Her mother and her sister especially. Hard outer shell, warm and gooey center! Cam handles her impending death with the class and acceptance that you would expect from someone well beyond her years.
Cam isn’t the only character that is incredible well written. I loved them all! From the quirky residents of Promise, Cam’s Nana, and Lily!
Unforgettable characters and a beautiful story.
Add The Probability of Miracles to your reading lists!
I love when authors take my heart and crush it into tiny little pieces, but then make it swell like a balloon. Keep playing with my emotions, because I love to read and feel. The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder is a book that gets under your skin. Campbell Cooper, maine character, is a person who I totally was invested in and I connected with her character and rooted for her.
There is only one word that can properly describe this book and that word is bittersweet. From the moment I started it, I just knew heartbreak was inevitable and boy was I ever right! Despite knowing this, I couldn't help but fall in love with Cam and hope for a miracle. There was something about her that just pulled me right in and had me rooting for her against the odds. I also really loved the Flamingo List, I'm always a huge fan of books with lists! My only complaint about this book is that I found the ending to be a bit abrupt. But other than that, I really loved everything about this book!
I thought this book was okay it wasn’t what I expected, I enjoyed it but the writing was so abrupt to me and that’s why I took the stars off. I mean it was funny and cute and the ending was raw it was good and interesting. I might try more from this author but the writing style wasn’t good to me so idk
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.
Won't there be any cancer book out there that will not make me cry in the end? Or at least make the main character survive and live? Why do they always have to die?!
If it wasn't for the last third of this book, which was really beautiful and heartwarming, I might have really given this a 2 or 2.5 stars. Cam's too cynic attitude really didn't help me to like her and her story right away. Instead of being sympathetic of her I was a bit annoyed and frustrated. I understand her situation and what she'd been enduring for so many years and yes, it was awful and I was sorry and sad with all of that but this girl was just so so negative. Usually, I would have loved a heroine who's sarcastic, smart-mouthed and tough. I would have admired her attitude and how she handles and put up on things but in Cam's case I was like hopeless. She doesn't believed in miracles, well, I'm okay with that but what was really depressing was that she doesn't let any positive thing to come in her short remaining life. I was so tempted a lot of times to drop this book unfinished. I was so hopeless of her, and I was like this girl should have met Augustus Waters! I even told myself that I won't cry if she died in the end. But I ate back all those words. Because I did. A lot.
So I'll be straight here, I didn't like the first and second thirds of the book. I was frustrated, annoyed and hopeless. But the last thirds? I LOVED it. It was beautiful, poignant and very moving. It made me forget all my frustrations on the earlier parts and I finally found myself loving Cam and the wonderful person inside her. It was touching to see her letting things through, even if she doesn't believe in miracles she started believing that great things could still happen without needing an explanation. I love how she finally opened up and find happiness and true love before it's too late. All those things that happened in this part were really moving and I appreciated every second of it. The romance is definitely a thumbs-up, it was sweet, swooning, and definitely heartwarming. And all the characters were really wonderful, they all have been a very good part of the story making it more inspiring and enriching.
The ending was so beautiful it hurts. I was so moved and touched that fat tears started coming out of my eyes. It was heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. And yes, I loved it. Even if it left me like a mess. I was satisfied and I was glad I didn't give up on this book and continued reading it. I just wished that Cam's change of heart started a bit earlier since I really struggled during the first two-thirds of the book. But all in all, this is a very heartwarming and inspiring story and I did enjoy it. I would still love to recommend this.
O livro teria sido melhor se: - Não tivesse com a cabeça na lua grande parte da leitura (suspiro) - Não tivesse, por pura estupidez, visto o spoiler do final quando avisava que era spoiler. - Não me tivesse dado a preguiça de ler em inglês durante a leitura.
Começou muito bem, com a introdução da personagem principal, a Cam, e toda a sua condição física e psicológica. Estando naquele momento a batalhar um cancro terminal, já há muito tempo que deixou de acreditar em terapias e curas e portanto desiste simplesmente de preocupar-se com a sua doença e aproveitar a vida um dia de cada vez.
Quem tem outros planos é a sua mãe que não desiste da sua filha e ao ouvir falar de um lugar mágico onde tudo acontece (inclusive curas milagrosas), decide levar Cam até Promise, o tal lugar mágico.
This is a very early review (about 6 months too early) but I have to gush about this book. It was bittersweet, beautiful, and aspiring. It hits you so hard. (The book hasn’t even been released yet and I’m already hoping for books from Wendy Wunder.) The Probability of Miracles surprised just as I'll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan did last year. Both novels give the reader the chance to believe in coincidence and miracles and the need to live for what is perfect now.
Snarky Cam is hard on the outside but soft on the inside. Cam has a rare cancer that's slowly destroying her body that is if the treatments and trials don't kill her first. On a last ditch effort to live her life, Cam and her mother and sister move to Promise, Maine where rumor has it the place is full of miracles. After living and working in Disney World Cam is far from being a full believer. But from purple dandelions to flocks of flamingos to a unicorn in her back yard*, Cam may have to reevaluate her opinion.
With a mix of 13 Little Blue Envelopes and I'll Be There and something all its own, The Probability of Miracles will break your heart, glue it back together, and shatter it all over again.
Cam was the perfect heroine for me. She was a genuine sister and daughter who fights with her younger sister and mother, but ultimately loves and cares deeply about them. Cam wasn't a romantic or a dreamer. She was sarcastic, she was real. Can breathed life with all of its ups and downs into the novel.
Life isn't prefect, but it can be pretty darn good sometimes when you let people in and the negativity out. That was what Cam learned and we as readers learned with her. Promise was just one more hoax that Cam scoffed at, but the small town with its motley crew of people melted the ice around Cam. She became a softer version of herself and started to be the giver of miracles.
The Probability of Miracles had an array of characters, which gave the book an explosion of voices and personalities. And yet it remained harmonious because at its center was Cam. She brought them in together from the perky sister, to the ever-fighting mother, to the sassy Nana, to the boy who taught Cam how to love, to the best friend who gave Cam a purpose when she felt like giving it all up. They were a perfect cast of supporters to the perfect heroine of an amazing and profound book.
It was slow in the beginning, but worth it in the end. Oh, the end. The last line literally made me fall in love with the book all over again and again. There’s wickedness to the humor, but lightness to the romance. Savor this book.
*The Probability of Miracles is a contemporary novel and not a fantasy one. So the unicorn was my attempt to throw a little curve ball to you, but it is in the novel, just no what you might expect.
Cam has been battling neuroblastoma for the past seven years. She has been to every specialist and endured every treatment. Her most recent scan tells her there’s nothing else that can be done. While Cam is prepared to give up her fight, her mother isn’t so willing to let her go just yet. Packing up a U-Haul and moving from Florida to a town in Maine called Promise is the last hope. Does this secluded little place really have magical powers? If not, will Cam be able to complete her “Flamingo List” before she dies?
Are you a sadomasochist who reads a synopsis like the one above and immediately says “I’m in!!!!”? Yeah, me too. This book was everything I knew it would be. I bawled like a big fat baby until my husband said “why do you DO this to yourself?” Simple answer? I’m a glutton for punishment. If you want a good cry (and have already read The Fault in Our Stars and the like), this is a decent selection.
I am going to have to create a shelf called "The Big C" for all the cancer-related YA lit I've been reading. Or I could expand and call it" Death and Dying" or something like that. Fun times. Review later.
I hadn’t heard of The Probability of Miracles until I was sent it to review. I'm not sure how it slipped my YA contemporary radar (perhaps because I really do not like the US hardback cover, which looks very 80s and not in a good way), but it was just what I was looking for.
I was a little hesitant to begin with because I wondered whether it was going to be a-lesson-in-religion due to its title and because the UK cover reminds me of the In-Between in the movie adaptation of The Lovely Bones. Yet the cover is not heaven, but a concoction of symbols that represent what is so remarkable about Promise, Maine, USA. But I’m getting ahead of myself here.
Seventeen-year-old Campbell has had cancer since she was twelve. Her mother Alicia and younger sister Perry surprise her with a trip to Maine – to a town named Promise, because it is supposedly where miracles happen and is sure to be the key to her cure – Campbell has tried everything else. She’s dying, and she’s accepted it, but her family hasn't. So they leave the fantasy Disney world of Orlando, Florida, where they reside, and head to the east coast to spend the summer by the sea.
The Probability of Miracles is wacky, whimsical, sometimes ridiculous, and always completely eccentric, but never in a way that is ever silly or irritating. It encompasses all of my latest favourite things: young adult contemporary with a splash of romance, road trips, and Maine (if you know me well, you'll know I've been slightly obsessed with Maine ever since I watched the video for Mine by Taylor Swift two summers ago). Although it takes a less conservative and idealistic view of the state, it still sounds pretty damn awesome to me. Its relaxed nature is contrasted with Campbell's hectic home: Disneyland Florida, where she lives among entertainers and is an expert hula dancer.
The Probability of Miracles really is a wonderful novel, full of self-discovery, belief in science and pushing on even though life is unbearably difficult and you end up having a seizure in a supermarket car park. Campbell keeps a Flamingo List (i.e. a bucket list but less senior) with her best friend Lily, which includes 'dabble in some innocent stalking behaviour' and 'experiment with petty shoplifting' in an attempt to be a 'typical teenager' while she still can. Campbell remains strong throughout the novel; she takes chances and experiences new things even though she'd rather be tucked up in bed with Disturbing Behavior or The Sound of Music. Campbell's an interesting protagonist, and I really do mean that. I never, ever got bored of her story.
Although there is a love-interest – Asher, a local boy who has a devastating story of his own – and an awkwardly-developing-but-seriously-adorable romance, this was never the main point of the story for me. I'm still thinking about it after finishing, about the little things that stood out to me and the sentences I read again because they were so hilarious. The Probability of Miracles is an extraordinary, captivating book and one I feel deserves more attention along the lines of Before I Die, The Sky is Everywhere and If I Stay. Do not let the 'fish raining from the sky' or 'purple dandelions' deter you from reading this story, it's all part of its irrevocable charm.
Thank you Razorbill for providing this book for review!
Gah! I have got to stop reading terminal illness romance books. They kill me every time. Usually when a book makes me cry it means it is a really good book. But honestly, how can you not cry at books like this?! Please, this is not rhetorical; I would love to know the secret on how to stop this crying. It's the worst!! *Sigh* To be honest, the actual writing was sub-par at best. I don't exactly know why I'm giving The Probability of Miracles such a high star rating. It doesn't deserve it, but I feel like this book maliciously targets hopeless romantics (e.g., me). So, yes, the romantic side of me if giving this such a great rating. But I will also say I really like how she wrote the ending, even if I wasn't a big fan of the ending itself. The Probability of Miracles was an okay book. I'm not sure I would recommend it, but it is good if you are looking for a quick, easy read. Just if you cry at sad books, you've been warned.
Alright, so I was originally going to give this book only three stars but...I have a lot of unexpected love for this book. That I did not except to have, especially when I first started it. RTC. I promise???
this book was kind of a disappointment to me. it was not science fiction it was fiction. i was thinking that it was going to be some kind of book about space. instead it was about this girl who had cancer and she wanted to complete a list of tasks she wrote for herself to do. she falls in love and so on. i did not want a love story book but i got a love story book. it wasn't the worst book in the world, it was a bit enjoyable. the most enjoyable part to me was when she tried to drive her car off a cliff, but her being her she took a lot of pills before. she overdosed and hit a bouncy castle.
Let me start by directing you towards the author's name. Wendy Wunder. Book about miracles.
Now, I may not be one to believe in miracles, but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate a good coincidence. (And then make a name pun. With the initials 'A.K.A.', I think it's a requirement.)
The Probability of Miracles (thankfully containing no actual math) leaves it up to the interpretation of the reader whether the strange things that happen are truly miracles or just odd coincidences. Campbell Cooper, our sixteen-year-old dry wit protag, is prone to erring on the side of caution. There are no miracles. Cam's had a pretty bad run of life--divorce, followed by her father dying from cancer, followed by her getting cancer... And all while living at the Happiest Place on Earth, Walt Disney World, where Cam's mom, Alicia, works.
Alicia believes in miracles, though, and when Cam's prognosis requires one, she packs up Cam and her younger sister, Perry, to spend (what will likely be Cam's last) summer in Promise, Maine, where there are flamingos and purple dandelions and sunsets that last for hours. Maybe here, they will find Cam a miracle. Even if it isn't one anyone is expecting.
If you've read the blurb from the back of the book (that'll be the description starting with "dry, sarcastic, sixteen-year-old Cam Cooper"), throw it out now. The blurb has almost nothing to do with the actual plot. No, the book is far better than the back blurb would have one believe. I read the book in one night, looking up when I had finished to see that it was suddenly now eleven at night and I still hadn't written anything for NaNoWriMo that day. It's just the tiniest bit super enthralling that way.
Cam may be an undeniable pessimist, but she's the nice sort of pessimist, the sort that's pessimistic because, well, she's dying (just a bit of a bummer, that), but at the same time recognizes her pessimism and occasionally tries to lighten it up a bit for her mom and Perry. I adore Cam. She's witty without seeming overdone, witty to a spoken degree, rather than a writer-sitting-at-a-desk-has-all-day-to-think-of-a-clever-line degree. She tends to go off the deep end rather often. She makes crappy choices. She's dying after all, and finds herself trying to fit an entire bucket list into a few short months. While I may have occasionally thought she was moving too fast and too unsupervised (dare I say, where are the parents in YA?), I never found myself disliking Cam, nor thinking ill of her because of her choices--the author has done a remarkable job of keeping the character believable and identifiable, even as she dies, even as she makes some almost remarkably bad decisions.
This is in part because of the quick pacing of the novel. One event quickly moves on to take the place of the next. There are days-long gaps in between chapters every now and then. Time passes quickly. There aren't many real obstacles. Characters decide to do something. Characters do it. It seems rushed, then you remember that it's been four days since the last chapter ended--there has been time for x, y and z to be planned, the author has just skipped over that phase, because frankly, it'd be boring to read and the book is 350 pages long as is. I didn't notice until I was halfway through the book that Cam, Alicia and Perry still hadn't made it to Maine. The 350 pages go quick, and because Cam is so likable, anything unrealistic or overly quick melts into the background. A lot happens in those 350 pages, but I never questioned any of it, nor how easily each new event came--characters decide to do something, characters do it. Not much time for reflection, and backstory is melted into the plot in short bursts. Pure plot, baby. Just like NaNo. Except not at all, because there is foreshadowing and things are revealed over time and everything makes sense and the book is actually good.
A bit grim and a bit serious at times (have I mentioned how the main character spends the entire book dying?), The Probability of Miracles comes highly recommended, even if it is a bit of a downer. Keep some chocolate on hand, and a good chunk of time set aside to finish it in one go, if necessary. And now I leave with one last horrible name pun: it'll be a miracle if stores can keep this book on their shelves! Ha. Ha. Ha.
The Probability of Miracles was so great. First of all, the narrator sounds JUST like Emma Stone (Easy A, Zombieland, The Help etc.) So the entire book I just kept imagining the main character, Cam, was Emma Stone. Which I loved, of course. Anyway, about the book. It was hilarious and at the same time a tearjerker. I loved it. It made me think about how lucky I am. And how a lot of people treat life way too carelessly. Cam's sarcastic and brutally honest attitude was hilarious. And even though she was rude to everyone around her, you could tell that deep down, she really cared a lot about people close to her. I could go on and on about Cam. She has that confidence about herself that makes me jealous. Basically whole story line of this book was just so perfect. The writing was incredible! I actually haven't read the paperback, yet. But I am dying to. I enjoy reading actual books more than listening to them on audio, I just don't have time for it anymore. Which really sucks, but at least there are some really great audiobooks out there, like The Probability of Miracles!
So be sure to put this book on your TBR list asap. Seriously. You won't regret it. Unless you really hate crying and having your heart fall apart from sadness.
This book was so bizarre, like literally. WTF was that?! All the characters were unlikable and ‘cray-cray’ The romance was so lame, I cringed. I also felt the author RUSHED the story which made each chapter make NO SENSE. I did laugh, smile, understood the plot, but this book just didn’t have strength in the story.
Pour croire aux miracles, à l'impossible. Pour sourire niaisement face à Asher. Pour rigoler, pour déconner, pour rouspéter, pour trembler... Pour pleurnicher et éclater de rire en alternance. Ce roman est décidément une jolie découverte.
I'm a self-centered reader; I need to be comforted at all times. I also need my happily-ever-afters as much as I need a bit of romance. And this is why I stay away from angst-heavy books (i.e. Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma) but I can forgive some if the story did its darndest to ease me into the doomed eventuality that it won't end the way I wanted it to end.
The best way to read a book that has a not-so-happily ever after is if the author eased me into idea that the characters will not walk into the sunset hand-in-hand. Wendy Wunder told this story by using a heroine with a sharp tongue and even sharper mind. She's sarcastic and sometimes caustic. She's funny; she's got an opinion about a lot of things and she's not afraid to insert her foot in her mouth. She wholly accepted her fate and didn't wallow in self-pity. She lived her short life on her own terms.
This book was published in 2011 so I'm a little late for the party but I'm glad I crashed it when everyone's pretty much on their way to make their curfews. It had me in fits of laughter and bouts of sniffles. It couldn't decide whether it wanted to be a funny book or a life-altering, enlightening wonder. During my lunch hour break at work, I cried over my soup. It wasn't a pretty sight. I had to blame my escalating cold to everyone who'd asked me if I was okay.
The Probability of Miracles is about a girl who was inexorably dying. As in, there's no hope in high heavens that she's going to survive the summer or that she's going to go into a remission. For someone who's upbringing was culturally and spiritually varied, Cam was a firm non-believer of any high power. She's perpetually blasé about life, about death and especially about religion. She believed in what could be explained and miracles are nothing but the result of global warming. Surprisingly enough, she turned me into a believer. I believed that every weird, unexplainable event that had happened in Promise, Maine were really just a by product of man's continuing quest to destroy earth. And it made sense. She also made me believe that life is what we make it. Opportunities to be happy are right before our eyes and it's up to us to either grab them or to ignore them in the hopes of something better will come (humans are greedy by nature).
So her ever hopeful family decides to find this mystical place called, Promise, Maine; where it snows in July, where a flock of flamingoes hibernate and nest, where a lost bird finds its way home from States over; where a very sick puppy suddenly find its will to live on the day it was to be put down. Where miracles happen that was sure to convert a non-believer like Cam. Where a bucket list of a dying girl would all be crossed off and there's not a damn thing anyone or anything could do to stop her. Not even an almost perfect boy who's terrified of leaving Promise.
This was a wonderful, heartfelt, devastating and more often heartbreaking read. Box of tissues required.
So this review will probably make people roll their eyes or disagree but it's my opinion of the book so whatever.
Right off the bat, the book mentions that the main character works at Disney World. I got soooooooooo excited! I have work at Disney World for 12 years, live right behind the Magic Kingdom, and even got married at Disney World this past June. Calling me a Disney-holic is not even close! So yeah, I just knew this book would be right up my alley. But then...then. The parts of the book started coming in...wrong! The facts about Disney were wrong! Yes, I know its a fiction book. But if you're going to write about such a famous place, you have to get the details right! (The cast memeber who is Tigger would not be able to ride the monorail in character after he got off of work, Cinderella doesn't walk around in the World Showcase in Epcot, there are no dance clubs at Downtown Disney and even when Pleasure Island was open several YEARS ago there was no under-18 club, and a 25 minute wait time for Small World is NOT normal!!), and they're not going to let teenagers stay in the suite in the castle without chaperones! So these bad facts turned me off on the book. Yes, its a small thing, but to me it was just bad. Research your facts! Gah!
Anyways, I never really liked Cam. I get that she's had a hard life and that her being sick for most of it probably turned her the way she was. But maybe not, since I liked Lily and Lily had also been sick most of her life. Cam just seemed so negative and dark. I wanted her to be a sympathetic character. I did really like Asher, however. He seemed like such a sweet guy. Definitely a small town heartthrob.
The ending did get me however. I actually liked Cam right at the very end. And it even made me a little teary-eyed. So yeah, the books rating went up for me a little, just for the ending.
This book has issues. Making fun of lesbians, racial stereotypes, etc. But this book knows it has issues. It points them out, and (sometimes) corrects them. Ultimately, this book’s strengths outweigh its weaknesses.
I loved how Campbell went from a cynical, jaded teenager who’s dying of cancer, to a somewhat optimistic believer in miracles, all the while keeping her sense of humor and her intelligence. Yes, this is a love story, but I don’t really see it as a romance. It’s about a girl finding closure, and being truly happy with her life.
This book also doesn’t skirt around the hard stuff. It confronts it. I mean, the book ends with Campbell dying, and it’s hard to read. It talks about death a lot, and it really awakens something inside of you that makes you ask yourself, “What would I do if I were dying?”
To summon it up: Move over John Green. We have a new Hazel, and she kicks ass.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
I loved The Disney references in the beginning of this book but felt more and more detached as The book went on. A girl has cancer and is on the edge of death. Her family decides to take her to a mystical healing town in maine. The plot started out being fun but became very cliche towards the end. I just felt that I had read books very similar to this in the past and nothing made this stand out dramatically.
Very different reading experience from TFIOS. I really enjoyed it but it was incredibly overwhelming and sad. Very realistic so if you want something with a bit more depth, read this. It had a cute romance and a honest ending. I don't know, its an amazing read but not something I'd want to really reread.
*sniffles*Sorry guys, this book just threw me on a roller coaster of emotions.
Cam, Cam, a most terrific character, though at times she was a bit too critical and at times she was a bit too judgy about things, and I didn't like it. At times I wanted to tell the girl that things didn't go like that and that she should shut up her trap about things she probably has no knowledge about. But I can also imagine why she was so critical of a lot of things, why she didn't believe in miracles, why she didn't want to believe. She has cancer, she is dying and she has been sick for 7 years now, and I can imagine that one will not have any hope or any believe at that point. It was so painful how her mom and her sister wouldn't get that, would want her to keep believing, would point her to things that were pretty miraculous. I just wanted them to understand, I just wanted them to not act so angry when Cam dismissed things. Maybe they were in denial, but it hurt me, that they wouldn't understand that after 7 years and hearing you will die, that you kind of give up on things. Or at least Cam did, I am sure there are people who will keep fighting until the very end. But mostly she was a character that I loved and that I wanted to get to know more. She is funny, she is a great friend (more on that later) and she is very intelligent. As the book progressed, I could see why Harvard would want her. Not because of her sad story about her suckish life, but for her intelligence and for her wits. It was really wonderful to see Cam go from sick and looking totally like death to someone who is more alive, who has joy and happiness, who is trying to make friends and goes to do all kinds of fun things. Though I guess, looking back at it all, we could have kind of predicted how the book would end. I won't spoil anything of course. People will have to find out what happens to Cam. And yes, the book broke my heart but I am known to cry for happy endings and for sad endings, for saying that both break my heart.
I loved Asher, his sneaking up and surprising Cam reminds me of my own boyfriend, who is also skilled with walking around silently and suddenly standing behind me and startling me. :) I loved how he was with Cam, he was so sweet to her, even when she was so angry or so distrustful at times. They really grew together, and that is all I will say about it. Going further would spoil things. I can also imagine why he never left the town, though I hope with the ending, that he will be able to travel more. Seeing the world that is out there.
I loved the town of Promise and how you can get there, it sounds like a truly amazing place, filled with stuff happening that are probably miracles, and otherwise pretty great magic tricks. I would love to live in such a calm, easy town where anything can happen.
While the book has some pretty light-hearted stuff, be warned, it is still about cancer, about an illness eating someone from the inside out. Cam will have seizures, she will feel crap, she will have various things that won't go right. Cam will wonder about death, about how people will feel afterwards. She will talk about silly bucket lists, she will take risks and several other things. At times you will forget about the cancer, you will laugh with Cam, will smile when she does something silly again (like kidnapping a donkey, or rescuing a lobster). You will laugh about what she calls the U-haul in which she and her mother and sister travel in. But at other times you will get kicked in the gut again, you will feel your heart shatter when you see what happens to Cam.
Cam also has a wonderful family. I didn't always like Perry, I found her annoying and frustrating, at times highly mean and stupid, but at times I saw a different and kinder Perry. A Perry I had hoped to see more of. Her mom was amazing, trying her hardest to find a miracle to save her daughter from the cancer. To find some light in the darkness.
So be warned, this book will make you cry, it will make you angry, it will frustrate you, it will make you laugh. You are truly in for a ride of your life. Bring some tissues, some chocolate or other comfort food, you will need it. I would highly, really highly, recommend this book to everyone. Read this amazing book.
Eigentlich nur als kurzes Zwischendurch-S-Bahn-Lesebuch aus der Gruschkiste gedacht - und was passiert? Zum Schluss heule ich doch wieder in der Bahn, nur dass dieses Mal die Tränen von meiner Mund-Nasen-Maske aufgesogen wurden. Wunderschön!