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The Probability of Miracles


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When she's not writing or spending time with her daughter and family, Wendy teaches yoga. She lives in Boston and this is her first novel. And yes, Wendy Wunder is her real name!


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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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 (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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