Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder

Summary (courtesy of GoodReads):  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.

And here's what I thought:  I did not want to stop reading this book.  Every time I had to put it down to go to work, or to get some sleep, I looked forward to picking it up again.  And, when it was finished, I wished there was more.

As you can tell from the summary, Cam has spent a lot of time being sick, and when we meet her in this book, she's in pretty good condition, but it's clear that good health isn't a given for her, and her health issues have really ruled her life.   However, she never seems to feel sorry for herself, and while she's a bit sarcastic at times, I really liked her.  She seems like the kind of girl I would have wanted to be friends with when I was 16.   Obviously, her time spent being ill has shaped how she views the world, but I found her character to be really interesting, and actually, very real.

I will admit, part of what I liked about this story was where Cam, her mom and her sister go to Maine.  I have visited Maine twice, and both times, had a wonderful trip, so I guess I have a soft spot where that's concerned.  However, Promise isn't like anywhere I've been --- things happen there that don't seem possible... but it's not over the top.   What I mean is, it's not obvious miracles/magic etc. --- it's more like the setting for Practical Magic (by Alice Hoffman).  

I liked how the author wrote the other characters, as well.   I felt all of them were believable, and they work well to give insight into Cam, as well.   I also liked that the author set part of the story at Disney, where Cam and her family work --- it was like seeing a bit behind the curtain there.   In fact, when I think about it, the two main settings in Florida and in Maine are like characters unto themselves, which is pretty cool.

I refuse to give up any spoilers here.   But ---- when I finished the book, I did get a bit choked up.  I think it was a combination of what happened in the story, and also the fact that I had finished the story ---- I was enjoying reading this book so much that I just wanted more.   There was something about this book that just resonated with me, and while I know that isn't going to happen with every reader, I'd definitely say this is a book I think a lot of people will enjoy.   So, right now, in the mood I'm in --- giving this the first 5-bottle rating of 2012!

First lines:  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 "Spirit of Aloha" show at Disney's Polynesian Hotel.  Coincidentally, that was exactly how much her fat uncle Gus was asking for his 1998 Volkswagen Beetle in Vapor, the only color worth having if you wanted to have a VW Beetle.  Cam had been coveting it every since she was six, and it was worth every penny.  It blended into the mist like an invisible car, and when she drove it, she felt invisible, invincible, and alone.

Thoughts on the cover:   I thought it was an interesting way to do the cover, where the photo is inside an outline of a feather.  Eye-catching, and I thought it went well with the book.


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