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The Probability of Miracles

The Probability of Miracles

4.3 56
by Wendy Wunder

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A dying teen learns to live in this heart wrenching debut the New York Times Book Review calls, “Funny and entertaining.”

Campbell Cooper has never been in love. And if the doctors are right about her cancer, 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


A dying teen learns to live in this heart wrenching debut the New York Times Book Review calls, “Funny and entertaining.”

Campbell Cooper has never been in love. And if the doctors are right about her cancer, 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.

"Wonderfully bittersweet, with just as much humor as sadness."—Seventeen.com

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Funny and entertaining." 
—New York Times Book Review

"The story unfolds through narration as beautiful as 'the sun's everlasting gobstopper descent behind the lighthouse.'"

"A witty, clever, meaningful, kind of kooky life-sometimes-stinks-but-it's-all-we-have tour de force."
—School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

"Wonderfully bittersweet, with just as much humor as sadness."

"A funny, quirky, and uplifting novel that will stay with the reader long after one is finished reading it."
—Library Media Connection

"Some readers prefer a little whimsy and bittersweet philosophy to tear-jerking and the story of Cam's final summer will be just what they are looking for."
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"This tale of romance, adventure, chasing dreams, and finding the power in home is a DO NOT MISS!"
—Justine Magazine

"Hilarious, wry, heartbreaking, and profound all at the same time."
—Sara Shepard, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Pretty Little Liars

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.)
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.)
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.
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
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)

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
14 Years

Meet the Author

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.

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The Probability of Miracles 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 56 reviews.
epicrat More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
Jenny_Geek More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really did like this book. Not one of my favorites or anything, but i's pretty good. I like how it's different. Like a girl growing up in Disneyland? That's pretty unique and cool. But honestly, I didn't like Cam for the majority of the story. She was funny, and honest, but I just didn't get why she couldn't at least try for her family. Though, I did end up liking her more towards the end. I also liked her bucketlist. It wasn't your typical go sky-diving and bunjee-jumping bucketlist. It was different, and I really like the freshness of it. But overall, it was pretty good. Sad, but not heartbreaking (since I saw it coming the whole time). A really nice book. Plus, I loved the cover and the colors.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its beautiful like a summer sunset
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A sweet story with an unexpected ending. Full of very good life mottos. An almost perfect romance.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ever wondered what having cancer as a teen is like? 17 year old Cambell knows. Campbell is uprooted from her home to go on a trip with her mother and sister to a tiny town in Maine. There she finds first love, friends, and the meaning of family. This trip is supposed to make her feel better. So why isn't it? I believe this book should be read by girls in the late years of middle school and the first years of high school. I think that Campbell's struggles with fitting in will show that it is perfectly normal to have these problems. Another reason I believe a young high schooler should read this is to show them how to deal with frustration. If something goes wrong, it's not the end of he world. Lastly, I think this will aid younger kids on how to make friend even if they feel different. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cam is so wonderfully cynical, she'll make you want to hug her and laugh with her at the rest of the world's folly all at once. Despite being a semi-Mary-Sue, constantly needing the aid of the love interest, Campbell Maria Cooper's story is one I wouldn't miss for half the world. Her Lands End friends and her tree-robbing Nana make the book well worth the read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this story! Its so beautiful in a sense that there are people like cam. People who seem to have no hope but then suddenly find it when they stop looking. I love the change in cams feelings and her growing relationship with Asher. I would certainly reccomend this to someone who wants a great story to inspire them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Havnt read it yet but by just reading the description i think it will very interesting for me
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BlkosinerBookBlog More than 1 year ago
    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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago