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young adult book reviews & more

The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder

Campbell Cooper has spent the last seven years of her life in and out of hospitals, with her mother sparing no expense to find the latest treatments, hoping that this one will finally put Cam’s cancer in remission. But all these years of medical treatment seem to have done naught but put off the inevitable, unless you count eliminating hope from Cam’s vocabulary. Cam may have already given up on herself, but her family refuses to. Their search for a miracle sends them on a road trip to Promise, Maine. Cam is the last girl to believe in a miracle, even though she desperately needs one, but she can’t deny that the purple dandelions and flamingoes in the Atlantic make Promise seem almost magical. As she weathers her last summer, Cam will learn to believe in love, in herself, and maybe—just maybe—even in miracles.

I always find that books containing cancer are some of the hardest to approach, and The Probability of Miracles is no different. There seems to be no “right” way to approach the topic, because an exclusive focus would be much too depressing while a mere mention would be inappropriate for something so serious. Wunder finds a good balance in her debut novel by acknowledging the enormity of Cam’s illness but also shifting the focus to other issues, such as Cam’s relationship with her family and her conception of love. This, as well as Cam’s irrepressible sarcasm, made reading such a tough story a little less tough to read. I didn’t love this book, but I do think it is a worthwhile read. Cam’s tough-girl act holds readers an arm’s length away most of the time, so it’s hard to develop a real connection with her character, but her personal journey and trials are undeniably somewhat cathartic. I applaud Wunder for her careful handling of such a delicate topic; The Probability of Miracles is a book that is sure to coax a few chuckles and infinitely more tears from all readers.

The Probability of Miracles should be read by readers who also liked Alive and Well in Prague, New York by Daphne Grab, Don’t Stop Now by Julie Halpern, and Life, After by Sarah Darer Littman.

Rating: 4.25

Review copy from publisher Penguin

3 munch(es) :

rockyriverteenlibrarian said...

This is on my TBR list. I am glad to hear it's a worth while read. Thanks for the thoughtful review.

the Vintage Bookworm said...

I have been dying to read this. I've heard a lot of great things about it. Thanks for sharing your review. It was great! =D

Melanie said...

I haven't heard much of this book, and I have to admit, I'm not fond of the cover. It sounds like an important read, though.

Thanks for the review!

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