Probability of Miracles
by Wunder, Wendy

Having spent several years in and out of hospitals for a life-threatening illness, pragmatic 16-year-old Cam is relocated by her miracle-seeking mother to a town in Maine known for its mystical healing qualities, a place Cam dismisses until she witnesses unusual phenomena and befriends a boy who encourages her to achieve various milestones before she dies. A first novel.

Wendy Wunder (yes, that is her real name) is also the author of The Museum of Intangible Things. When she's not writing or spending time with her family, she teaches yoga in Boston.

Campbell Cooper is 16 years old, and that's about as many years as she's getting. Cam has spent the last seven years on the roller-coaster ride called cancer, and her latest tests show that the ride is heading downhill fast. Her indomitable mother isn't ready to give up, so she packs up Cam and her younger daughter, Perry, and heads to Promise, Maine, a spot that's known for its miracles. There are also things the Florida-raised Cam wants to do on her flamingo list. She loses her virginity and she loses her heart, though not in that order and not to the same person. And Cam does find a miracle there, but not the one she is hoping for. Wunder, a first novelist, provides a strong voice for her characters, especially Cam, whose finely honed sense of irony is what carries her-and readers-along. The depth of Cam's illness is not always felt (she often has more energy than one might think possible), but then again this strong debut is as much about living as it is about dying. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

Faced with death, one teen discovers life in this bittersweet debut. Despite growing up in Disney World with parents who performed in the "Spirit of Aloha" at the Polynesian Hotel, cynical and loner Campbell Cooper (an Italian-Samoan–American) gave up on magic after her parents divorced, her father died and she developed neuroblastoma (a cancer with low survival rates in adolescence). Having exhausted Western medicine, her single mother suggests spending the summer after Cam's graduation in Promise, Maine, a hidden town (with a secret entrance off of the Dunkin' Donuts at Exit 33) known to have mysterious healing powers. While Cam's mother and younger sister are awed by such anomalies as flamingos, snow in July and purple dandelions, the teen prepares for the inevitable by suppressing her wishes. But as she begins an unexpected relationship with Asher, whose family founded the town and thus feels obligated to stay so the magic won't leave with him, she realizes the true meaning of friendship, family, love, living in the moment-and yes, even miracles. Exploring both sides of Cam's heritage, the story unfolds through narration as beautiful as the sun's daily "everlasting gobstopper descent behind the lighthouse." Irreverent humor, quirky small-town charm and surprises along the way help readers brace themselves for the tearjerker ending. Fans of Gayle Forman's If I Stay (2009) and others will find hope and laughs amid tragedy. (Fiction. 12 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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