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The Miracle Girls    by Anne Dayton & May Venderbilt order for
Miracle Girls
by Anne Dayton
Order:  USA  Can
Faithwords, 2008 (2008)
* * *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

There are a lot of young adult novels out there that have teens behaving badly. While those may be great fun to read, they do not create good role models for young teens, and they are simply not realistic. In The Miracle Girls, Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt tell a story that teens will enjoy reading and that parents can feel good about.

Ana Dominguez's family moves from San Jose to Half Moon Bay just in time for her to start high school. Being the new-kid-in-town, Ana feels out of the loop both at school and at her church's youth group. It does not help that her parents are very strict and that at school she has earned the nickname God Girl. Surprisingly, though, the day she gets stuck with detention is the day her life begins to turn around. That day, she learns that there are three other girls who, like her, should have died at some point in their lives, but are now miracle girls. Ana easily befriends Zoe, and soon Christine has joined their duo. However, the fourth, Riley, is Ana's rival in school and love (or so Ana thinks), and Ana is perfectly happy not being friends with her. However, life has a way of throwing curveballs, and Ana soon finds out there is more to Riley than what she sees on the outside.

Ana is a very typical high school freshman, whose parents are a little more overbearing than most. Unlike many teens who are trying to fit in, she is not afraid of her faith, and this is what makes her stand out from other teen protagonists. Ana is not perfect, and she does find herself lying to her parents, but that makes her even more accessible to the reader. The Miracle Girls is not a fast-paced ride to a breathtaking climax, but rather a lesuirely stroll through Ana's freshman year, making it feel true to life. The story has a lot of ups and downs, but all of them are believable ones, to which the reader can easily relate. Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt show an amazing understanding of what high school life is really like for the majority of students. All of these elements combined make The Miracle Girls a fun and uplifting read.

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