360 pages, Razorbill
"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."
I heard about this book as one of those terrific debut novels and the synopsis had me intrigued so I just had to get it. I do have a confession though. Before reading The Probability of Miracles, I had just read The Fault in Our Stars. And as you know, both are books about main characters with cancer and as much as I wanted to ignore the comparisons in my head, I couldn't help it, which probably took away from me enjoying The Probability of Miracles, Seeing as how I much preferred The Fault in Our Stars.
The book takes off with a background of Cam's life. Her father has died, her sister Perry is someone that she's envious of, her mother works at Disney World, and she has cancer. Cam has more or less accepted the fact that she's dying and the reader can see this in her pessimistic nature. Her mother, Alicia, is always trying outlandish things to cure Cam because she believes in miracles. So when they learn of a place, otherwise known as Promise, they venture on a road trip to Maine in the hopes of an actual miracle. I really liked the idea of the plot. A small town hidden by the brush of trees filled with wonder and hope.
I think where Wendy Wunder really lost me was her characters. I am very big on characters, and for some reason, I just could not make that connection with Cam. Sure, I loved that she was sarcastic and bitter, but after a while it started to annoy me a little. Also, when we are introduced to Asher, Cam's love interest, I was not that into him. Cam and Asher's love for each other did not feel as deep and strong as it supposedly was. I felt as if they didn't even talk to each other enough to be "in love". The only aspect I really did like about their love interest was that Asher liked Cam before knowing she was ill. He liked her for her and treated her like an actual person, not a sickly dying one.
The writing was a love hate relationship. Wunder's writing is in third person, but at times I had to go back and re-read a line because it seemed like it was in first person. I don't know if anyone else faced this same problem, but I just found it a little strange. On a better note, I liked a lot of Wunder's descriptions and I could really picture everything clearly in my head.
Again, I will talk about my emotional connection with this book that for some reason wasn't there. When I read The Fault in Our Stars, I cried, even sobbed uncontrollably. But with The Probability of Miracles I wasn't in tears. I currently have a grandma who is struggling with breast cancer and I just cannot fathom why this book did not make me cry. So many people talked about how amazing and sad it was; maybe there is something wrong with me for not loving this book.
The one part I truly loved was the ending and how everything unfolded. It didn't move me quite to tears, but it did have me smiling and if anything, read it for the ending.
Although I did not love this book, I did enjoy it, just not as much as so many others did. I specifically recommend reading it if you have not read The Fault in Our Stars yet. And if you plan on reading that (which in that case, add it to your to be read list IMMEDIATELY. I LOVED that book!!), make sure to read The Probability of Miracles first.
Rating: 3 stars - I liked it. Worth borrowing.