Title: The Probability of Miracles
Author: Wendy Wunder
ISBN: 9781595143686
Pages: 357 pages
Publisher/Date: Published by Penguin Young Readers Group, Produced by Alloy Entertainment, c2011

In the past month Cam had been to an acupuncturist, a Reiki practitioner, a reflexologist, an herbalist, a hypnotist, a taulasea— a Samoan medicine woman who made her drink breast mile–and had had a phone call with a “distance healer” from New Zealand named Audrey. They had paid eighty-five dollars Australian, plus the cost of a phone call to New Zealand, to hear Audrey hum into the phone for a while and then send Cam an e-mail with the “results” of the healing, which included bar graphs measuring the strength of her aura.
At least they got a good laugh out of it.
Cam had vowed that that was it, though. She was done trying stupid New Agey crap. In fact, if she heard another note of Yanni or Enya or anything on the harp, she was going to lose it. (36-37)

Self-proclaimed hope-resistant Cam has suffered from cancer for years, and they’ve finally received the diagnosis that there is nothing else to be done or tried. Cam’s mother refuses to give up, and packs Cam and her younger sister Perry from her Disney World Florida home to Promise, Maine for the summer. Promise is known for the unexpected, such as flamingos in the Atlantic, purple dandelions, and sunsets that last for hours. Showing no optimism and sulking over a fight with her only friend, Cam keeps receiving help from local boy Asher, who literally keeps popping up when she least expects it. Trying to make the most of her time and with nothing better to do, she starts crossing things off her own version of the bucket list that she’d made years earlier. When surrounded by people who see miracles in the everyday, Cam struggles to maintain her outlook on life and her belief that miracles are coincidences. Will Cam come to believe in miracles so that she can receive one of her own?

I’ll admit that this book has been sitting in my to be read stack for way too long. Personally, I really think it needs a new cover. But by the time you finish the book, you forget how glaring the cover is. The characters are all multi-faceted and developed. Cam’s mother is trying so hard to hold the family together. Although I think she could have been portrayed as a little more of a realist and hands-on, especially regarding her daughter’s illness, I can see she’s struggling with what the “right” thing to do is in this unique situation. Cam’s mood swings are evident, oscillating from “What’s the point” to “Let’s do what I can” to maybe even a little bit of restrained hope. Perry expresses what I think every sibling of a cancer patient must feel, but isn’t supposed to say:

“I make a lot of sacrifices for you.” Perry’s voice quavered. “Like being here. Do you think I want to spend my entire summer away from my friends? No one ever has time to think of what I want or what I need because your needs are so tremendous. You have tremendous needs. And that’s fine. Really, I’m used to being an afterthought. But the least you can do is let us believe that this might work. I do a lot for you, Cam,” said Perry, and one tear finally broke loose and slid down her face. (183)

The only person I wasn’t a huge fan of was Asher. Now, don’t get me wrong, I liked the knight in shining armor allusions and that he was always there for Cam, and the fact that he was afraid of flying added some humanity to his character. But the little we find out about his previous… “relationship” just irritates me. Yes, I guess to each his own, but still. Eh.

However, I loved the ending. I think I need to say again that I loved the ending. I can’t say anything else about the ending, because that would give everything away, but wow. The last 50 pages, and especially that last chapter, packs an emotional punch. I loved how Cam handled events, and although Asher’s actions seemed a little overly climatic, it sort of fit somehow. Cam really redeemed herself in my eyes when she puts other people’s needs ahead of her own for once.

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