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The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder

The Probability of Miracles (original 2011; edition 2012)

by Wendy Wunder

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2184753,416 (4.14)8
Title:The Probability of Miracles
Authors:Wendy Wunder
Info:Razorbill (2012), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 368 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:audio book, YA

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The Probability of Miracles by (2011)


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In a sea of dystopian, vampire, zombie, and awkward teenage romance novels, The Probability of Miracles is a fresh new novel from Wendy Wunder. While the idea of a teenager with cancer isn’t new, the whole take on it is. We’re used to the “survivor” types who have the will and urge to live, and those who have come to accept it, but Cam is a whole new type of cancer kid. Cam grew up around Disney, and as a result works there and has seen all the magic it holds. Her mom and late father work at the Polynesian resort as dancers, and much to Cam’s mom’s dismay, Cam herself does not dance on stage anymore after cutting her hair short for treatment. After finding out that her cancer is back, Cam has decided to just let things take their course and live as normal a life as possible. Her mom however has very different ideas and has heard of a magical place called Miracle, Maine. So off they go with Perry, Cam’s little sister, for a summer in Maine in the search of miracles.

I know that sounds super idealistic and typical of a cancer kid YA book, but believe me it’s not. This book is so sarcastic and dry there were points at which I thought Wunder had taken lines from my own life. The awkwardness of Cam is not over done in the cutesy way we see so often, but in the way we all feel from time to time. Wunder also has that wonderful ability to make it seem as if you are really there and experiencing everything with Cam, from the ocean to the long drive. It is a brilliant debut novel that should not be overlooked.

With all that said, there were a few misses with it. A couple of the characters felt one dimensional and flat, but that could very well just be because in Cam’s mind, that’s all they were. There were a few unrealistic things with the Disney portion, like how her friend just stuffed his Tigger costume in the car and drove her home, or how he took off his head. Granted most people reading this will be of the age we know Tigger isn’t really Tigger, but how many theme parks do you know that don’t require an employee to check in and out their costume? I know, I know, creative liberties, but a little more care should have been taken with the whole being an employee of Disney thing. There’s also the best friend situation with a fight and make up that was just a little too convenient as a plot point to push Cam on, but I’ll let you read that part.

Over all, this is a must read book. Truly one of the best ones I’ve read this year and I’m pretty stoked to have it living on my shelf now. Granted, part of that is because it is just so dang pretty to look at. Wunder’s writing, imagery, cadence, and snark are beautiful things that make this novel one that you won’t want to put down, or stop reading. Cam, Perry, Alicia, Lily and the entire crew will not be ones you forget any time soon. This is one of those books that sticks with you for a bit after reading.

Final Thoughts:

This book took me to places that other novels haven’t lately. The culture that Cam grew up in , the Samoan one, not Disney, reminded me of the time I had spent living in Hawaii and the culture and hula classes I had taken while there. Being able to draw up my past experiences and knowledge of the dances, smells, and history added an extra depth that wasn’t expected and caused an emotional bond with these characters. I loved most everything about it. From Cam’s dry humor to Perry’s naive outlook on life to the stark contrasts between Florida and Maine, this book was moving and endearing. Wunder’s realistic writing makes it feel as if you’ve known this cast your entire life, which only makes it all the harder at the ending of the book. This is the first book that has moved me to tears in a long time, and I don’t regret one single second of crying over it. So do yourself a favor, go pick up this book, and start paying attention to the coincidences in your life that make up the tiny miracles. ( )
  Rebecca_Hail | Jan 3, 2015 |
The Probability of Miracles is not a light read (as I'm sure you derived from the synopsis). However, for fans of contemp. it is a very good read I'm sure. Unfortunately, I'm coming to terms with the fact that contemp YA lit is not my cup of tea. This book has solid writing & great characterization, I just couldn't ever get into it. I didn't connect with any of the characters & never had that can't-put-it-down feeling. I attribute this to my own personal preference rather than the book itself. If you do enjoy contemps, be sure to check this one out. ( )
  Kelly_Mills | Dec 13, 2014 |
I've wanted to read Probability of Miracles for quite some time now, and am pleased to finally get that chance. Ever since falling in love with Lurlene McDaniel's books when I was younger, I have been attracted to any stories with cancer or illnesses, so of course the synopsis caught my attention.
This is more than a story about cancer though, it is a journey of family, accepting that sometimes life deals crappy hands and deciding how to live the life that you have. It is also a different kind of protag. Cam is a Samoan, which is a culture that I don't know much about, and glad to read about. She grew up at Disney, the Polynesian resort, and as a Disney lover myself and member of vacation club, I loved the backdrop of the setting before they head off to Maine looking for their miracle. Cam is also fiery and sarcastic, and I love her brand of humor. She is pessimistic but then learns to hope and wants to help her family who believes in miracles while she doesn't.
Her mom is a non-traditional but she is involved in Cam's life, and supports and loves her and Perry, Cam's little sister. I loved Cam and Perry's banter, light hearted for the most part but they have some real conversations.
As for Asher and the romance. I very much enjoyed it, and that it didn't revolve around her illness. He saw her whole person and they helped each other to live more than they thought they would or fuller than thought possible. There are some hot and also fade to black scenes.
The ending was fitting but sad. I wasn't completely satisfied right as I put it down, but looking back I think that the real miracle was the closeness she got with her family, the time that she wasn't thinking about dying and being sick and finding love with Asher.

Bottom Line: Sarcastic main character going through a hard time with her illness goes on a journey that brings her closer than ever to her family. ( )
  brandileigh2003 | Feb 11, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
In some ways, I feel like I'm not an ideal person to write a review for this text. I tend to have a very negative reaction to bright pink books and books about teens with terminal illnesses. However, that said, I actually enjoyed this text more than I would have expected given the two strikes it already had against it and, while it isn't something I would read again, there is a certain segment of teens who will eat it up. In general, the writing was strong, though there were spots of cliche. I had the hardest time with the ending. While I think it reflected the narrator's state of mind fairly well, it still felt a little forced and too rosy for my tastes. I would recommend it to girls and readers who like a tear-jerker and don't have too strong an attachment to realism. ( )
  TeenCentral | Nov 9, 2013 |
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. ( )
  Crowinator | Sep 23, 2013 |
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When Campbell's father died, he left her $1,262.56 - as much as he'd been able to sock away during his twenty year gig as a fire dancer for the "Spirirt of Aloha" show as Disney's Polynesian Hotel.
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Having spent several years in and out of hospitals for a life-threatening illness, pragmatic sixteen-year-old Cam is relocated by her miracle-seeking mother to a town in Maine known for its mystical healing qualities.

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