Review: Miracle by Phillipa Vincent-Connolly

Miracle
Phillipa Vincent-Connolly
Pen Press
Published April 5, 2013

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Despite her mother’s fierce hope for her romantic life, seventeen year-old Orianna is certain she’ll never have a boyfriend. She can barely walk normally thanks to the pain caused by her cerebral palsy. Still, she enjoys the company of good friends and a loving (if romance-obsessed) mother and younger sister.

After seeing the latest movie in the Twilight series, Orianna and her friends gush about handsome Edward Cullen. If only there were men like that in real life, they tell each other. Then, as if he fell right off the silver screen, a rich and handsome new boy named Ashley Mason arrives at school. Though he is totally out of her league and constantly stares at Orianna with a look she can only interpret as disgust, she finds herself drawn to him.

As their tenuous relationship develops, Orianna’s life takes a devastating turn. Out of options, she turns to faith, praying for a miracle to rescue her from the terrible choice she will be forced to make.

In a dreamlike voice, Miracle introduces readers to an intelligent girl longing for true love and independence. Vincent-Connolly bravely tackles the issue of living with cerebral palsy and brings a story familiar to every teen about fitting in and finding love.

While at times the affection between Orianna and Ashley lacks complexity (Why are the two drawn to each other? They just are.), Ashley’s quick temper and emotional highs and lows keep this from being a too-good-to-be-true romance. It is a story of a young man of great passion and a young woman who desires steadiness and normalcy in a world in which not even her body can be counted on to provide them.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Moderate.

Sexual Content – TRIGGER WARNING
Brief rape scene. Some details given during the assault prior to the rape. See below for details and spoiler.

Spiritual Content (Contains spoiler.)
Orianna prays for a miscarriage after she discovers she is pregnant due to rape. When the miscarriage occurs, she believes God has answered her prayers and ended her pregnancy.

Violence
Brief rape scene. References to a fist-fight. No details.

Drug Content
Orianna and Ashley attend a party and participate in under-age drinking. Some people use cocaine. When Ashley sees this, he and Orianna leave the party.

Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

SPOILER ALERT
The story’s tension level ratchets up quickly following Orianna’s rape at a party. Desperate, she first attempts suicide and then confesses the truth to her friends: she is pregnant. She reaches out in prayer, pleading with God to end her pregnancy. It’s easy to imagine any girl in Orianna’s position feeling precisely the same way.

When Orianna experiences a miscarriage, she believes this is God coming through for her. She’s new in her faith and lacks any real form of spiritual mentoring, so it doesn’t seem terribly unbelievable that she’d draw such a conclusion. Still, it’s a little hard to swallow the idea that God basically terminated her pregnancy at her request. One can understand the relief a rape victim would feel, but it is tinged with discomfort.

As a plot device, it also seems weak. Because a central theme of the story is Orianna’s questions about her own worthiness for love, it seems like a miscarriage due to medical reasons might be another opportunity to raise the stakes on that struggle.

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About Kasey Giard

Kasey is a mother, reader and aspiring author. When she's not reading or writing, you might find her out on the water fly fishing, pretending she can keep houseplants alive, or talking with the family rescue cat.
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