The Probability of Miracles

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Overview


A dying teen learns to live in this heart-wrenching debut, perfect for fans of If I Stay

Campbell Cooper has never been in love. And if the doctors are right, she'll never have the chance. So when she's told she needs a miracle, her family moves 1,500 miles north to Promise, Maine--a place where amazing, unexplainable events are said to occur--like it or not. And when a mysterious envelope arrives, containing a list of things for Cam to do before she dies, she finally learns to...

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The Probability of Miracles

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Overview


A dying teen learns to live in this heart-wrenching debut, perfect for fans of If I Stay

Campbell Cooper has never been in love. And if the doctors are right, she'll never have the chance. So when she's told she needs a miracle, her family moves 1,500 miles north to Promise, Maine--a place where amazing, unexplainable events are said to occur--like it or not. And when a mysterious envelope arrives, containing a list of things for Cam to do before she dies, she finally learns to believe--in love, in herself, and maybe even in miracles, as improbable as they may seem.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Wunder gracefully balances comedy and tragedy in this debut novel about jaded 16-year-old Campbell, who is battling terminal cancer. After five years of treatment, her doctor tells her, “Science is not enough this time.... What you need is a miracle.” Though no-nonsense Campbell scorns the idea of miracles, her mother and younger sister refuse to give up, and her mother relocates them from their Disney-centric life in Florida to Promise, Maine—a hard-to-find town reputed to have mystical healing powers. As Cam fulfills her “Flamingo List” (her version of a bucket list), which includes such goals as “Have my heart broken by an asshole” and “Experiment with petty shoplifting,” she confronts unexpected joys and disappointments and abandons some of her defenses and detachment. Wunder creates a large, memorable supporting cast to bolster Cam, including her friend and fellow cancer patient, Lily; love interest Asher; and unconventional family. The surreal proceedings—along with some potential miracles, depending on one’s belief in such things—explore the subjects of death and life with sensitively honed humor, examining what it means to live. Ages 14–up. (Dec.)
VOYA - Marlyn Beebe
Sixteen-year-old Campbell (Cam) Cooper has had cancer for seven years. Her mother is constantly searching for the new treatment that will cure her, but even Cam is surprised when Alicia decides to move Cam and her sister, Perry, to Promise, Maine, for the summer. Promise is apparently known for the miracles that happen there and is mythically difficult to find. To get there, one has to go to a particular Dunkin' Donuts, where the road to town is only visible from the drive-through order box. Cam is skeptical, but her mother is insistent. Cam does not believe in Promise, but when she learns that they will be visiting Nana in Hoboken and her best friend from the hospital, Lily, in North Carolina, she stops arguing. This is a tough book to read. Cam appears to have resigned herself to her inevitable death from cancer but finds herself hoping she is wrong, though she cannot admit it even to herself. The desperation of Alicia to find a cure for her firstborn, the maturity of eleven-year-old Perry, and Cam's attempts to be "normal" all ring true. This relatively realistic book about a teenage girl with a fatal disease is not for the Lurlene McDaniel readers, but perhaps for those who might have a chronic illness or a friend who has one. Reviewer: Marlyn Beebe
Children's Literature - Suzanna E. Henshon
What does it feel like to receive a death sentence at the age of 17? Campbell Cooper has battled cancer for over five years. She has gone through chemotherapy, radiation, and the entire field of Western medicine. Yet she has never been in love—and she wonders if true love really exists. With hope dying, her family moves to Promise, Maine, dreaming of a miracle. But Cam fears her time is running out as she watches good friends dying from cancer. Nevertheless, Cam believes in miracles for her mother's sake. Promise is a special place where unexplained events happen. Cam discovers sunsets can last for hours, and that she is intensely attracted to a boy named Asher. And she cannot stop watching the beautiful flamingo that covers the horizon in shades of pink. Most exciting of all, Cam falls in love with the adorable Asher. Then Cam decides to complete a to-do list before she dies. As Cam completes her to-do list, she realizes the world is filled with love and miracles. Even though life is short, Cam decides to embrace night rainbows and endless sunsets. Young readers will enjoy this moving narrative, which celebrates the life of Campbell Cooper, a character who is authentic and inspiring at the same time. Reviewer: Suzanna E. Henshon, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—High school senior Cam needs a miracle. She has been battling cancer for seven years and learns during spring semester that there is nothing left to do—no treatment is going to help. Not willing to admit defeat, Cam's mother drags her and her sister to Promise, ME, for the summer. Miracles are supposedly regular occurrences in the town, according to her mother's friend from yoga. Cynical, sarcastic, matter-of-fact Cam is not excited about leaving Florida and Disney World where her family has been involved in the entertainment business, performing nightly Samoan-heritage dances. But she goes along to humor her mother, and on the way there visits her friend Lily, a cancer-patient comrade whom she's known for years. Miracles or not, Cam really is dying. Nonetheless, during the summer she works as a vet's assistant, steals a donkey, meets lovely Asher, and manages to accomplish everything on her Flamingo List of the things she wants to do before she dies, which include cow-tipping, losing her virginity, and having an awkward moment with her best friend's boyfriend, among other things. This is not your typical teenage fatal disease, let's-make-the-most-of-my-last-summer novel. Rather it is a witty, clever, meaningful, kind of kooky life-sometimes-stinks-but-it's-all-we-have tour de force.—Ragan O'Malley, Saint Ann's School, Brooklyn, NY
Kirkus 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)
Publishers Weekly - Audio
Seventeen-year-old Campbell Cooper is dying of cancer, although her family is unwilling to admit it. After Cam's high school graduation, her mother, Alicia, desperate for a miracle, moves Cam and her younger half-sister, Perry, from Orlando, Fla., to Promise, Maine, an en- chanted town replete with flamingos, blue dandelions, and endless sunsets. Emma Galvin's Cam is adorable but tough, and the narrator perfectly captures her dry, sarcastic wit. Galvin also uses a subtle accent for Cam—one that is a blend of the character's heritage: her father is Samoan, her mother from New Jersey. The rest of the major characters are unique and well rendered, from Cam's delicate, sickly friend, Lily, to her hunky love interest, Asher, and her Norwegian half-sister Perry. Additionally good are the voices lent to the many teens of Promise and Cam's spunky Nana from Hoboken—a voice Galvin absolutely nails. Unfortunately, many of the book's supporting cast sound too similar to Cam, and this takes away from the notable voice Galvin has created. Ages 14–up. A Razorbill hardcover. (Dec.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595143686
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/8/2011
  • Pages: 368
  • Age range: 14 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.86 (w) x 8.54 (h) x 1.23 (d)

Meet the Author


When she's not writing or spending time with her family, Wendy Wunder teaches yoga in Boston. The Probability of Miracles is her first novel, and yes, Wendy Wunder is her real name.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 50 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(32)

4 Star

(11)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 50 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 28, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Turn those hard-thrown lemons into lemonade!

    Dandelions, flamingoes, and a town named Promise? Everything about The Probability Of Miracles sounds too good to be true. Improbably so. And yet. somehow Wendy Wunder pulls you into this story with main character whose doubts outnumber her dreams and leaves you wanting to believe that wishes can come true.

    THE GOOD BITS

    {Cam's humor with the perfect dash of sarcasm.} Without a doubt, this story would be way different if there had been any less snark - or if there had been too much. Maybe more melancholy, maybe more tragic, but definitely a lot less enjoyable. Cam and I share the same sort of humor - the same reflex to crack a joke, even during the worst of times - the same need to guard ourselves from heartbreak and disappointment, even when happiness seems possible. Which made it a lot easier for me to sink into The Probability Of Miracles and follow Cam as her shields start to melt.

    {The bucket list.} What an ambitious to-do list! Delectably realistic that ranges from the simple to silly to emotionally-fragile. Life is all about risks, and living is all about taking them - or choosing not to. Cam makes a list of experiences that she considers "normal" for a teenager which involves breaking both hearts and rules. I loved how you never quite knew how certain items would play out.

    {Little sister Perry.} I loved this little cupcake of a girl! Not too young to fade into the background, not too old to make the drama into a catfight. She provided some comic relief when Cam turned into a regular Grumpy. I also have to admire Perry's cheerful-but-tough exterior. She reminds me a little of Scrappy Doo: tiny, adorable, and wise beyond her years.

    THE BAD BITS

    {Almost too perfect?} I honestly cannot complain too much about The Probability Of Miracles being too perfect - because I wouldn't want it any other way. Wendy Wunder dished out the right balance between good and bad news, and while sometimes the good news felt too good to be true, I think it reflects how life can sometimes hand you lemonade when hope seems like a big joke.

    THE OVERALL

    If I learned anything from The Probability Of Miracles, it is that hope can be persistent, especially when you have loved ones. Quirky, unexpected, sarcastic, bittersweet, and altogether full of life, this story will steal your breath away - from laughing, from crying, and from sheer wonder when Promise, Maine, lives up to its name.

    10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2013

    AMAZING!

    Hi everybody! I am twelve now and I read this book when i was eleven. I love this book and there are so many reasons why! The top two being that my sister has a rare disease that eats away her bones, therefore making it relatable, and this book is amazibgly written and never lets you get bored. TEN MILLION STARS!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 20, 2012

    My heart + the book = heart ache and happy tears

    Its beautiful like a summer sunset

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 4, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    An emotional read.

    First of all, I really enjoy that the author's name is Wendy Wunder. I can't help but think of how well it coincides with what her book is about, miracles and believing in them.

    The main character, Cam, has been dealing with cancer for seven long years. When the story starts, she has just received news that her cancer is still spreading.

    Her mother and younger sister refuse to give up on her, even though Cam has pretty much given up, and they move her to Promise, Maine which has been deemed a miraculous place because of all the events that occur there.

    Oh goodness, I'm starting to cry while I'm typing this...

    Cam is already starting to think about how her family will have to move on without her and how life will have go on. I understood her dry humor, because it was her way of dealing with her impending death. I can't imagine have to deal with the horrors of cancer as a young person.

    As someone who stood on the sidelines and never gave up hope even though cancer took my grandmother 8 years ago, I can't help but feel for Cam's mother and sister. They never stopped believing or giving up hope. I know just how hard it is to accept that a beloved family member is going to die and have to watch them slowly deteriorate.

    I also completely empathized with Cam's younger sister for having to take the backseat and make a lot of sacrifices for the health of her older sister. I dearly understood her anger with Cam when she wouldn't believe that miracles could happen.

    I loved watching Cam grow emotionally throughout this book. I will say the only drawback was that the romance between her and Asher started out slow, but then suddenly felt rushed. I had a hard time accepting that in the story.

    This is a tough story, but well worth the read.

    I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2011

    Woahhh!

    A really truely awesome book . Not your average cheesey teen book. You'll laugh , you'll cry .... you'll be inspired. Love , love , love! Read it!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2011

    I laughed & I cried

    A fantastic novel. Heartfelt without being sappy, hilarious without being silly. And the writing is so good...it's obvious the author clearly cares not just about her characters, but about every word.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2012

    Beautiful novel - must read for teens and adults alike

    I an aunt of a fifteen year old girl and am often searching for books she will enjoy that I can also support -- The Probability of Miracles is it. Beautifully written, with a strong voice and hilarious, original characters. Although the main character is dying, she is so ALIVE, you nearly forget it. Truly a book about living. This was my favorite YA book of 2011, and my niece's as well! We can't wait to read what is next from Wendy Wunder.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2011

    You should buy this book.

    Reasons to read The Probability of Miracles. . .

    Having fought a serious illness for most of her childhood, the protagonist, Cam, finds that she was so busy fighting for her life that she has forgotten how to live. The Probability of Miracles is the story of Cam¿s realization that there is more to living than dying. Cam has one more shot at youth: a summer in a beautiful, magical town called Promise surrounded by people who love her and new friends she never expected to make.

    The Probability of Miracles has a lot going for it. . . some of which follows:

    The Probability of Miracles¿ Cam is a powerful protagonist: She is smart, funny and oh-so-real. She¿s the kind of girl who names her car and adopts a lobster. Cam will quickly become someone you really like, and you can easily get behind the decisions that she makes. When you close the book you will wish you had her cell phone number so you can keep in touch.

    It¿s a story with a bit of magic. (key phrase- a bit): In the tradition of magical realism, Wunder¿s use of magic is subtle. The action doesn¿t stop whenever a bit of magic appears; it is accepted as part of life in Promise and the characters work with it. Wunder also thankfully keeps mythical creatures to a minimum: no vampires and no wizards, just one messed-up donkey.

    It¿s a redemption story: For years Cam and her family¿s focus has been on Cam and her illness. Unintentionally and understandably, Cam became centered on. . . herself. As Cam starts to enjoy and live her life in Promise, she realizes her wrongs: impatient with her sister¿s belief in unicorns, unsupportive of her friend¿s relationship, dismissive of the man who loves her mom. Cam sets out to right these wrongs: she stops thinking of herself and instead finds ways (really funny and clever ways) to show her loved ones that she cares about them. It¿s a book that leaves you feeling good. Sounds simple, but isn¿t that the goal of a good read?

    Most importantly, The Probability of Miracles will make you laugh! Wunder is so funny: Cam¿s witty observations, the characters¿ dialogue, and the action of the story come together to make this really well-written book a place to get happy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 12, 2014

    Believe is a great book

    Havnt read it yet but by just reading the description i think it will very interesting for me

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  • Posted February 11, 2014

    more from this reviewer

        I've wanted to read Probability of Miracles for quite some t

        I've wanted to read Probability of Miracles for quite some time now, and am pleased to finally get that chance. Ever since falling in love with Lurlene McDaniel's books when I was younger, I have been attracted to any stories with cancer or illnesses, so of course the synopsis caught my attention. 
       This is more than a story about cancer though, it is a journey of family, accepting that sometimes life deals crappy hands and deciding how to live the life that you have. It is also a different kind of protag. Cam is a Samoan, which is a culture that I don't know much about, and glad to read about. She grew up at Disney, the Polynesian resort, and as a Disney lover myself and member of vacation club, I loved the backdrop of the setting before they head off to Maine looking for their miracle. Cam is also fiery and sarcastic, and I love her brand of humor. She is pessimistic but then learns to hope and wants to help her family who believes in miracles while she doesn't. 
        Her mom is a non-traditional but she is involved in Cam's life, and supports and loves her and Perry, Cam's little sister. I loved Cam and Perry's banter, light hearted for the most part but they have some real conversations. 
       As for Asher and the romance. I very much enjoyed it, and that it didn't revolve around her illness. He saw her whole person and they helped each other to live more than they thought they would or fuller than thought possible. There are some hot and also fade to black scenes. 
        The ending was fitting but sad. I wasn't completely satisfied right as I put it down, but looking back I think that the real miracle was the closeness she got with her family, the time that she wasn't thinking about dying and being sick and finding love with Asher. 




    Bottom Line: Sarcastic main character going through a hard time with her illness goes on a journey that brings her closer than ever to her family.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2014

    Great!!!!!!

    Read this book about a year and a half ago and was just browsing through books on my nook and instantly remembered everything and wanted to write a review.
    Its 2:38 am
    This book was an amazing book (5stars) the author realy did a great job of making you fell like you were there.
    The one thing i didnt realy enjoy is that for most of the book the main character is throwing herself a pitty party.
    The romance was believable as was her family and impending death i would reccomend this book to ages14 and up because there was an awkward romance scene or two.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2014

    Awful

    Bad

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2014

    Best book I have ever read

    I absolutist fell in lobe with this book. Its just so realistic. My mom had cancer when I was 13. It was heartbreaking to see her go threw it but she survived. This book gabe me closure. Cam was so relatable for me. Id always held a guilt for my mom gettinh cancer thinking I should've been the one to get it. After reading cams struggles and the flamingo list and true love actually happening it gave me hope and lifted the guilt away from me. Thank you Wendy for making such a beautiful book that I couldn't put down. It sure did touch this young teenagers guarded heart.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2014

    Definitely 5 stars

    I read this book last year but still remember the whole thing. It is a touching story and good for teenage girls. Like me! :) I highly reccomend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2013

    I read this book in 1 day because I couldn't put it down. I love

    I read this book in 1 day because I couldn't put it down. I love the fact that Wendy Wunder makes the most outrageous thinks become real. I would read it again in a heartbeat.

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  • Posted January 8, 2013

    The Probability of Miracles written by author Wendy Wunder is a

    The Probability of Miracles written by author Wendy Wunder is a hard hitting look at what a person goes through when dealing with cancer. Wendy Wunder shows this not only from the patients, Campbell Cooper, view, but from family and friends as well. Campbell shows a strength beyond her years to those around her when dealing with her cancer, but down inside she is scared of the unknown. Wendy Wunder will captivate readers with the realistic portrayal of her characters as the story moves along from the state of Florida to settle in the state of Maine. From Cam who is emotionally strong, stubborn, sarcastic, brutally honest, overall hard outer shell yet cares more for those around her then herself. To Perry, Cam's half sister, who is quiet, very optimistic, willing to go along with anything that Cam wants to do. To a mother, single, trying to divide her time between her daughters and work, full of love and faith that God will make everything work out. The Probability of Miracles a book that will tug your heart stings pull in every direction. You will laugh and cry with the characters, hope and pray along side them, you will be shocked and want to reprimand them when they go astray or feel their lack in faith. The Probability of Miracles by Wendy Wunder is a must read for anyone who loves a book that with bring you to an emotional cliff and back again.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2012

    Bad.

    I hated it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2012

    One of my favorites

    One of the best books I have ever read. I was definitely not disappointed at all with book. It makes you look at the things that are important in life. I recommend this book to everyone I know. It definitely made me cry a couple times ,but it showed me that it's important to embrace the life you live no matter how short or long.

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  • Posted June 30, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    An Emotional Rollercoaster Review brought to you by OBS staff

    An Emotional Rollercoaster

    Review brought to you by OBS staff member Autumn

    I can’t remember the last time that I read a book that made me so emotional right from the start. The Probability of Miracles is one such book.

    Campbell Cooper is a very young sixteen years old and is fighting incurable cancer. She hides her real feelings behind sharp sarcasm and logic, which I found both exasperating and endearing. Her eccentric mother, Alicia, tries to get Cam to believe in hope again by taking her and her younger sister, Perry, on a trip to a city in Maine that is rumored to be the center of some unexplained activity.

    Promise has seen some incredible miracles. People have been inexplicably cured, animals have suddenly appeared where they shouldn’t and flowers bloom in strange colors. It is here that Cam meets a beautiful boy by the name of Asher.

    Asher is one of my favorite characters in the book. His free spirit turns out to be just the thing to help Cam embrace her life just as it is. He makes a pact to help her check off all of the things that are on her “Flamingo” list and in the process they fall deeply in love. Under the wide blue sky of Promise, Cam seems to finally get well – until she isn’t.

    I related to Cam on so many levels. I grew up in the same area as she did and that added another subtle nuance for me to experience it once again through her eyes.

    I felt as if I was on a wild emotional rollercoaster while reading this book and would recommend reading it in a place where you aren’t afraid to break into an ugly cry because it is just that brilliantly haunting.

    This review and more at openbooksociety dot com

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  • Posted June 26, 2012

    This book is beautifully written. The characters and setting see

    This book is beautifully written. The characters and setting seem to pop off the page. Definitely one of my favorite books. You won't be disappointed.

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