“For the last five years, seventeen-year-old Cam has been in and out of hospitals, fighting the cancer that is waging a war on her body. So when she’s told she needs a miracle, moving 1,500 miles north to Promise, Maine–a place where amazing, unexplainable events are said to occur–is not how Cam wants to spend the short time she has left. If science can’t cure her, what makes her mom think the mystical powers of a “miracle town” will?
But even Cam can’t deny that strange things happen in Promise. A field of electric purple dandelions grow on a hillside. The sunsets last for hours. Hot pink flamingos come to rest in the frigid Atlantic. An adorable boy named Asher keeps popping up, exactly when Cam needs him. And then, a mysterious envelope arrives, containing a list of things for Cam to do before she dies. As she checks each item off the list, Cam finally learns to believe–in love, in herself, and maybe even in miracles, improbable as they seem.”
I was looking for a miracle when I picked this book up. Something to cheer me up, against all odds. Instead, I had to plow through the book like it was an assigned reading from a difficult English teacher. And I don’t think it’s the story’s fault so much as it is the realization that… well, I’m not the book’s intended audience. I was looking for something too particular, and I didn’t let the book just be what it was.
Or maybe I got used to books with cancer patients where the protagonists are more sympathetic. Because Cam definitely isn’t your average cancer patient. She’s too human. She makes mistakes. Lots of them. She loves unconditionally–and yet with so much restrictions. She steals. She has no tact. She expects things to be given to her, and yet still has such a low self-esteem. Cam is definitely flawed, and I should love her for it. But I don’t. Because I feel like she gets away with everything just because she’s a cancer patient.
Wendy Wunder, the author, doesn’t come through with the ramifications of Cam’s actions. She bitches to her mom? It’s swept under a rug. She gets a live lobster to live in the basement? The characters shrug. She kidnaps her younger sister for a three-day trip to Disneyland? Her mother just gives her a silent treatment.
I know Promise, Maine is supposed to be a place where miracles happen–but I thought it would still have a semblance of reality. Because, to be very honest, none of the characters in this book feel real. I couldn’t care less what happens to them. And when the book ends? I’m just grateful that I managed to finish the book finally–almost two months after I started reading it.
Yes, I said it wasn’t the story’s fault why I didn’t like the book. And I stand by that. The reason I picked this book up was because I liked the premise. The promise of change, of growth, and of acceptance. But I completely blame the utter lack of characterizations and ramifications for the book’s failure at being anything more than fluff.
I’m not asking the book to be depressing. I just want it to feel real.