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The 100 Year Miracle

3.26  ·  Rating details ·  623 ratings  ·  146 reviews
"Ashley Ream has an absolutely astounding voice--she is one of the most compelling, sharpest writers working today. The 100 Year Miracle is already one of my favorite novels of 2016."
--Gillian Flynn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Gone Girl

Once a century, for only six days, the bay around a small Washington island glows like a water-bound aurora. Dr. Rachel Bell,
Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Published May 24th 2016 by Flatiron Books
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Average rating 3.26  · 
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 ·  623 ratings  ·  146 reviews

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Dale Harcombe
The stunning cover first attracted me. The idea of tiny sea creatures that once every hundred years for six days make the water glow phosphorescent green was fascinating. It is understandable that scientists would want to study them. Dr Rachel Bell is one of the scientific team. To her though there is more involved than just studying the creatures. She has heard many mythical stories about these tiny creatures and hopes they will provide answers to her own painful secret. The other main characte ...more
Jan 26, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If you are looking for a feel-good book, keep looking. Although I found the overall story somewhat compelling, I developed no warm feelings for any of the characters. The ending of the book was irritating and aggravating on many levels and I was actually happy to have it over with.
Feb 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gripping, almost exhausting (in a good way) read. These characters and this story will stay with me for a long time.
Renita D'Silva
Poignant and haunting.
Muse Monthly
It is, primarily, a story of hubris.

The 100 Year Miracle begins with Dr. Rachel Bell, a member of a small research team who have set out to study the Artemia lucis, a small sea creature that glows a bright green during it’s mating period, which lasts for five days every 100 years, only around an island off the coast of Washington. Dr. Bell, however, betrays her research team to conduct a study of her own – investigating the mythical painkilling properties of these sea creatures in order to cure
This was one of those odd books where I never really liked any of the people in the story. I didn't care what happened to any of them so the story kind of got lost for me. Even though the "miracle" is only made up in the author's mind, I thought she did a good job of making it appear realistic. I did like that part of the story. I just wish she'd given her people some more likeable qualities. Even if we just had one or two likeable people, the story would have been better.

It was a decent story a
May 30, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

As in her debut novel, Losing Clementine, the author employs an almost flippant approach to her prose and to her character's inner conversations. In the first novel, this approach played brilliantly into the main character's own disregard for convention and paved the reader's way on a wholly enjoyable read.

In this work, however, the same playfulness serves to dampen any compelling tension as it begins to form. Loosely defined characters arrive, mill about for a while and are then discarded easil
A.M. Bostwick
Feb 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It’s been a long time since I was so caught up in a book that I forgot about (and burned) my dinner. I found The 100 Year Miracle riveting, inspiring, heart-breaking and evocative. I became a fan of Ream after reading her first novel, Losing Clementine. Ream’s writing is both dynamic in prose and narrative. She creates so many well-drawn characters. Even when someone behaves badly in The 100 Year Miracle, you can’t help but feel their pain and put yourself where they are. As someone who copes wi ...more
Jun 17, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi
This book has a fascinating premise - a microorganism living off the coast of an island in the Puget Sound becomes luminescent for six days every 100 years. Scientist flock to the island to discover the properties of this organism. A young scientist with debilitating chronic pain has read in Indian Lore that people who drink the water with this organism become pain free. She is determined to discover if this works and if this will help her personally.
The plot becomes tangled as she gets involved
mad mags
May 01, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you...

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through NetGalley. Trigger warning for suicide and child abuse.)

It did things to people, this miracle. Strange and not wholly wonderful things.

“Do you know what it’s like to be terrified of a shower?” Harry asked. Rachel did know. Unfamiliar showers sometimes had abrupt changes in temperature, which hurt her back terribly, but she did not say this to Harry, who had cont
Jun 09, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's a lot crammed into this, essentially two plot lines that begin to overlap fairly early. A scientific research team arrives on a small island in Washington's San Juan Islands to study the climax of a 100-year cycle in which bioluminescent creatures arrive in the bay to mate. Among the researchers is Rachel, who has personal reasons to study the creatures in her own private way. At the same time, a crusty local resident with a neurodegenerative disease has called his ex-wife to come and he ...more
Kelsi H
Find all of my reviews at!

Once every century, the water around a small island in the Pacific Northwest glows green, caused by tiny sea creatures called Artemia Lucis. The miniscule arthropods complete their lifecycle in six short days, and their occurrence becomes known as “The 100 Year Miracle.” Ream’s new novel is set in the fictional Olloo’et Bay, within the actual San Juan Islands. Olloo’et Island is the traditional home of the First Nations people who shar
How I Came to Read This Book: I was honestly intrigued by the fact Gillian Flynn named it a favourite. The publisher sent me a copy.

The Plot: Dr. Rachel Bell is on a (fictional) island to witness a miracle - the emergence of a unique sea creature that only appears once every 100 years and has been said to have incredible healing properties. Rachel suffers from chronic pain after a childhood incident and is desperate to find a way to capture the creatures and make them reproduce, but doing so qui
May 18, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
An intrigueing plot that went nowhere. Every 100 years, for only 6 days, the bay around a Washington island glows. Naturally scientists pull out all the stops in trying to determine what are the tiny sea creatures that cause the flow - within that 6 day window. One scientist is Rachel Bell, who has suffered since childhood with the burn scars covering much of her body. She is nearing the peak - or the end of pain medication available to her. Her scientific work deviates from her team's: she want ...more
Meg - A Bookish Affair
May 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 2016
3.5 stars. "The 100 Year Miracle" is the story of Rachel, Tilda, and Harry, three characters who come together in some very surprising ways. Every 100 years, water surrounding the area where Harry and Tilda glows green with bio luminescence. Rachel believes that she knows how to harness the power of the water in order to create life saving substance. It'll change the lives of her and those around her. This is a very original story that captivated my mind and imagination.

The characters in this bo
Jun 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was pretty amazing! Following the 2 main characters relive their daily pain and when they believe they have found, not a cure but a strong pain reliever which would be all natural and could possibly save the world. But sadly they are choosing to ignore the horrible side effects, while family and friends are terrified of their behavior, all for a few hours of what they consider a normal pain free life. In the end, it was all for naught because in the very short time they thought they we ...more
Jun 08, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was fascinating and intriguing especially with how all the characters seemed to center around this 100-year miracle. Dr. Rachel Belle was believable and it made you feel sorry for her at the end. What I liked most about the story was how real the characters were. They weren't perfect by any means, but that is what made the story more real to me. In fact, their faults seemed to make them more human such as Dr. Belle's paranoia and reluctance to ask for any help whatsoever. Another great ...more
Feb 18, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, august-2016
3 1/2. There is a lot to like about this, solid four star book for maybe the first 200 pages or so. I felt like it really fell apart in the end and I don't know why every storyline had to ramp into high drama. (Tilda and Tip's story was the most believable/least dramatic, everything else went overboard for me.) Nitpicking, but the "one month later" chapter at the end made it feel very rushed; a LOT happened in a month! Would've made more sense to be three months later. I really liked her first b ...more
Sep 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
My very favorite kind of book is one that you continue living in while and after you are finished reading it.

This is one of those books. It is so sensory, so sharply vivid… frankly, I am wondering if the author has cast a spell with language that causes her reader to slip in to hallucinations along with her character, Rachel.

The 100 Year Miracle doesn't need my words to dampen the spell its words cast. Get your hands on a copy as soon as possible.
Kate Schwarz
Things I really liked about this book: a local author, local settings--the San Juan Islands, a place I'd like to know better, that's now nearby. The plot was fascinating and unique. I love how scientifically minded many of the characters were.

The thing I didn't really connect with in this book: the characters. I just didn't care about a few of them as much as I would have liked to.
Katherine Olson
May 17, 2017 rated it did not like it
Slow, and not worth the struggle to finish. Spoilers.

Its been quite some time since I've truly disliked a book quite as much as I do this one. I'm not sure what I missed that those who gave such glowing reviews on the book jacket clearly saw, but I found it to be incredibly hollow and honestly just disappointing. It took me two weeks to trudge through , and as a person who regularly reads one to two books per week it said something about my lack of commitment to the story and characters that I h
Paperback Paris
Ashley Ream's The 100 Year Miracle is about three people trying to figure out how to save themselves from their past.

You start off with Rachel. Rachel is a very intelligent scientist, but that is one of the reasons why she has only a few friends and no family. On top of all this, she is hiding a secret from everyone who tries to get near her. A secret that could affect those people if they were to get close to her.

Next is Tilda. She is going back to her home to take care of her ailing ex-husband
May 21, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was excited to read this novel chosen as the Whidbey Reads for 2017. While the novel takes place on a fictional island in the San Juans, the author notes that she borrowed heavily from Whidbey Island of which I am a resident and native.

The plot revolves around an event that happens once every hundred years. For six nights a bay on a small island glows, tiny creatures giving off light. The event has been a part of native lore, passed down from generation to generation. Researchers descend on th
Aug 16, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
While reading this book, I would have rated it 4 stars, I really enjoyed it. The characters were well developed, the plot was interesting, and the general idea was cool. However,(view spoiler) ...more
Tab Cipuzak
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I loved most of this book right up until the ending. I took off a star for the ending. You've been warned spoilers ahead.

First, I have to say I adored Rachel. As someone who suffers from chronic pain I can understand her drive to solve it. I don't share a lot of her traits, but I can understand that drive. Her pain basically took over her life until nothing else mattered. She was by far my favorite character in the book. I liked Harry too. Tilda annoyed me beyond belief and I just wish she and
Jan 03, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
*sigh* I’m confused as to what this story was trying to convey.

The premise is interesting enough and what intrigued me in the first place. I think what started to bore me about this was how unlikeable one of the main characters was. Dr. Rachel Bell was depicted as a loner but she’s expressed as such a cunning, detached and selfish individual. I’d consider myself a loner and I was a bit bothered with the negative connotations that were attached to the term. Even with the little backstory we got
Melanie Coombes
Sep 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was a very well written book. The characters were flawed, but very believable. Everything centers around the fact that once a century, for only six days, the bay around a small Washington island glows like a water-bound aurora. Dr. Rachel Bell, is a scientist who discovers that these strange ocean creatures may be able to save her from a debilitating injury. Rachel soon connect with a older man, Harry, who is also suffering from disease. Harry suddenly finds himself pulled into Ra ...more
Gina Cochran
Mar 17, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A compelling story about a flawed scientist, a dying man, and his ex-wife who has come to care for him during the middle of a natural phenomena and how their lives and desperation impact those around them. Ask yourself what price would you pay for hope, what lengths would you go to in desperation to save your own life? As the story builds to the slow inevitable climax that the reader can see coming, you know there will be no happy ending. The question is who will be left to pick up the pieces
Lois Bouchard
Nov 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Wow! What a great premise. I loved the idea that this exotic (albeit fictional) phenomenon could happen on an island off the coast of the US. The book had mystery, a really different protagonist -- a former woman senator. I liked the fact that she moved back to help take care of her ex husband when he became too ill to care for himself. I liked the supernatural element, which did not become goofy and seemed plausible in this instance. A good read.

To the author: as far as I know, phenomenon is st
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Ashley Ream got her first job at a newspaper when she was 16. After working in newsrooms across Missouri, Florida and Texas, she gave up the deadlines to pursue fiction. Her debut novel, Losing Clementine, which sold at auction, was a Barnes & Noble debut pick, a Sutter Home Book Club pick and was short-listed for the Balcones Fiction Prize. She and her books have appeared in L.A. Weekly, Los Ange ...more

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