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Monday, August 15, 2016

Lefty's Lowdown: The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder

The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder
Published: January 1, 2011 by Razorbill
Source: Purchased
Summary from 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.

A debut novel from an immensely talented new writer, The Probability of Miracles crackles with wit, romance and humor and will leave readers laughing and crying with each turn of the page.

 I thought the premise of this book sounded different & interesting, I'd heard good things about this book, and the cover is SO PURRDY. Sounds like a recipe for success, right? Well, unfortunately I was disappointed by this book. I had a hard time connecting to the characters and becoming absorbed in the story.

My biggest issue with this novel was the protagonist. I don't usually mind dry and sarcastic, but Cam was also negative and a total downer. I get it, she has cancer so she has an excuse. I'd probably be the same way. That doesn't mean it was fun to read about. She didn't believe in anything, and not only did she make sure everyone knew it, but she also condescended on people when they did believe in something (like miracles, for instance). I feel like Cam was a fan of the old adage "misery loves company" because she clearly wanted everyone to be bitter and miserable like herself. And the other characters? They were all fine, but we don't get to know them all that well, and honestly I just didn't care about them that much.

I'll admit, there is a shift toward the second half of the book when Cam starts being more positive and lighter, funnier events begin to occur. However, the shift isn't a gradual transition. To me, it felt like a switch was flipped. All of a sudden Cam and Asher, the love interest, were in love and Cam was more open to miracles and everything was looking up. All I could think was, "What? Where did all this come from?????" Don't get me wrong--the second half is what saved this novel for me, but I just feel like it was all so sudden.

In the end, this story left me unsatisfied. I thought there was a general lack of depth and I still had some questions in the end. For instance, IS THIS BOOK MAGICAL REALISM?? I DON'T GET IT. This question still plagues me. Like, there were hints that the town really was producing miracles but was that magic or just coincidence or what? Also, a big part of Asher's storyline was that he was afraid to leave Promise, Maine and do something with his life and I don't feel like that was sufficiently resolved. Surprisingly, though, I did cry in the end. I really didn't expect to because I spent most of the book not caring much about the protagonist, but the ending was written beautifully and it just really got to me.

Clearly, this book didn't exactly do it for me. It was okay. I know I didn't really highlight a lot of the positive stuff , but there were some parts I enjoyed (mostly in the 2nd half of the book). Still, I'd say the parts that would make this book unique and make it stand out (the quirkiness, the weird stuff happening in town) were not as prominent as I would have liked them to be, so it fell flat.

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