The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder
Razorbill, 357 Pages
US Released: December 8, 2011
Challenges: Completely Contemp Challenge, Library Challenge
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.
Love...might be real. And love endures. Relationships endure. Because thoughts are energy, energy is matter, and matter never disappears.
I'm not sure this book is really about miracles. It's mostly about Hope, and Belief, and Family, and real love and how all that can come together to create some magical, mystical life. About how dreams can actually be real, and how a life can be a Life no matter how little time one is allowed.
I'm going to be truthful here and say that it's entirely unfair to this book that I read it almost directly after I read The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. The books aren't similar at all, but they have the same general premise: cancer, and life, and how one can go on with and in spite of the other. And even though I know they're separate, and that there isn't really a comparison...I still compared. Campbell and Asher vs. Hazel and Augustus, one life against the other, Make-A-Wish wish vs. Make-A-Wish wish. And I think we all know that absolutely nothing compare to TFiOS.
I think my problems were mostly in the main characters. I'm down with sarcasm and dry humor and wittiness and a bit of pessimism (I think I just described myself); but Campbell was just a little too cynical in some parts. She was funny for most of it, but there were some parts that were just too Debbie Downer for me, a little too selfish and mean. I understand she's been dealt a rotten hand in life -- and I'm sure if it were me I'd be way worse -- but there were definite parts I just wanted to tell her to at least fake it for her family's sake. I also felt like there could have been more development to her, a little more given to her other than "has cancer." Like the shoplifting thing, that could have been developed so much more in her psyche!
Asher was my other problem. I know he's supposed to be a little elusive and mysterious and secretive anyway, but it was too much: I never connected with him. Sure, he's sweet and thoughtful and a bit of that Knight in Shining Armour, but he never took on a real personality. His parts felt very predictable, and truthfully, a bit forced. It felt like I was just supposed to accept him as the love interest, rather than grow to love him myself.
However, I loved Alicia. I really loved Perry (Peri!), who was the only character to really make me feel something. There's a certain part of hers towards the end that was the only time I found myself sniffling a bit. I thought Wendy Wunder had phenomenal description and creativity (the Catalog Kids? Love it!), and I really enjoyed the incorporation of Disney in it. It seemed deliciously ironic that they had to leave Disney to find their dreams and miracles.
Overall, it's a good story - it just didn't quite get there for me.
3.5 Stars / 5