Couldn't put it down!, 2 May 2013
From the first line in this story you feel empathy for the main character, Orianna, or Anna is a strong, determined girl who will not allow her disability hold her back from anything. Its hard not to find something in common with her, we all have our flaws and none of us are perfect, for Anna, her main flaw is not her disability, its how she percieves herself and as the story developes you feel awkward when she feels awkward, embarrassed and enraged when she feels it. You relate because the author has a clever way of drawing you in so much that you feel as Anna does.
When she meets her dream boy I found my heart racing for her, I kept waiting for something to happen with him, like he was going to hurt her in some way. He comes across at times to seem too good to be true, but Ashley turns out to be her hero, someone who will stand up for her and defend her no matter what it costs him. A compelling love story with a nasty little twist, any lover of YA will enjoy this.
Coming from Dorset and reading about places I have actually visited was endearing, finally a story about home.
This review is for Miracle from Alison Weir, Historical Author
"It's a great read, Phillipa, and very moving.I'm all too aware of the problems that people with special needs face, so your novel really resonated with me. I wish you the very best of luck with it.
I think you have triumphed in writing your novel. Good luck to you!
Kind regards, Alison."
Review from Lynette Riley for Miracle 26th August 2014
"Miracle is a great read. I was going to say a great little read but little it ain't! 210 pages of good narrative that gets into the mindset and under the skin of a teenage girl with cerebral palsy who's beset by the peer pressures and problems of 21st century living. I'm three times Orianna's age but I was right there with her. Well observed and sensitively written - it has the potential for a television drama... Congratulations Phillipa on a fantastic first foray into authordom."
Valerie rated it 4 of 5 stars - April 25th 2003.
Emma Powell reviews Miracle by Phillipa Vincent-Connolly
Teenage girls. Boys. Homework. Hormones. Not my usual genre and nothing out of the ordinary you may think, but this book very cleverly takes these ‘ordinary’ ingredients, shakes them up and throws a very extraordinary story at you. The resulting story centres around a seventeen year old girl - Orianna - coping with all of the above and much more. All whilst coping with cerebal palsy.
The writer conveys, rather succinctly, that cerebal palsy doesn’t mean a limited lifestyle. Orianna is intelligent, popular and independent. She has an iron will but her vulnerability shows through; she has a confident attitude but her self-esteem regularly nose-dives, her confidence wavers and this keeps her, as the main character, jumping off the page at you. In a sense, she is both the antagonist and protagonist of her own story and it is this element which keeps you turning the pages.
Orianna’s supporting characters are totally believable and deal with Orianna’s condition from different ends of the spectrum. Support comes from treating her like normal to the point of nonchalance, to being over-protective to the point of suffocating. They unwittingly cross boundaries felt acutely by Orianna. There are a few scenes that deal with these emotions wonderfully - scenes I won’t discuss for fear of ruining a good read! Her family is typical of today with an absent father figure but the twist here is Orianna frequently takes on the role of ‘mother’ as her own mother is out dating a lot, much to Orianna’s disgust! So that’s another dimension to this story and to Orianna’s personality, how she copes with being the ‘grown-up’ out of her younger sister and her mother. This aspect of the story actually works really well, blending in with the overall story and just adds that normality feel to the book; you really feel you’re reading someone’s diary who could easily live in your street. I imagine quite a few readers will know someone similar or be able relate to this book.
The myriad of emotions that thread their way through this story took me straight back to my teenage years - the Saturday shopping with the girls, fancying boys who you prayed every day would fancy you back, being with friends. Dealing with how you look, mood swings and finding your way in the world. The author has juxtaposed the struggles and rewards of someone who doesn’t see why she should be different but alternately sees herself as someone who is. And it works, very well. It is the talent of this story-telling that makes this book a page turner.
Grammatically, the writing flows well in a modern style although occasionally, more paragraph breaks may have helped when dealing with situations. This does not, however, detract from an enjoyable read and the words thread their way through emotional highs and lows that keep you reading and caring about Orianna. You can almost feel her self-doubt, determination and vulnerability that are at war within herself.
The climax of the story comes somewhat out of the blue, again, making a good read but it was such a good scene, I feel a tad more of a build-up would have enriched the whole situation a little more. I found it quite dramatic and suprising but this only adds to the depth of the book - it’s good to be taken by surprise when reading a book; the less you see coming, the better the experience! Also, perhaps more of the story in the aftermath of this climax would have enriched it, too, but perhaps I’m just just trying to expand the story and make it last a bit longer. It is definately a tale that would suffer no harm from being longer and the character of Orianna is not one easily worn out. It would even be good to see a sequel ...
A much recommended read that reiterates that old adage - what you see, isn’t necessarily what you get! This book opens your eyes to the fact that everybody has a tale to tell no matter how ordinary you may think they are. It shows how people see, feel and act on the same things in different ways and just how rewarding, testing and satisfying life can be when you overcome obstacles in your path.
Christina Browne rated it 4 of 5 stars - 26th September 2013
By Mrs L Riley on 27 Aug. 2014
Congratulations Phillipa on a fantastic first foray into authordom.
Aimed at the teen market it deals with disability through the eyes of a young girl. This is a book with a strong message about how we view people with disabilities. Sensitively handled, the author does not allow the message to overtake the story. I look forward to more titles from this promising author.
As one would expect with a novel aimed at young adults this book has an 'easy flow' about the way it is written, it is non-pretentious and uses an easily readable language that I feel many young and older people will relate to. ‘Miracle’ tells of the life of a young lady living and striving against adversity. It would be easy to believe that this novel would focus on someone ‘afflicted’ by Cerebral Palsy and the disabilities associated with such ailments, whereas the author endeavours to make the reader aware of the abilities of Orianna over the complexities associated with her physical problems. Orianna’s ailments are always present within the story, but we are able to see that this is just one aspect of her life, it does not define her, and it does not limit her- she has simply become a lady with an incredible ability to adapt to life with much courage and determination.
The author of this book has taken the time to construct likeable and realistic characters, it is easy to associate with the characters, and to understand the viewpoints of individual ‘actors’ within the story. Without ruining the plot, it would be fair to say this is a story about many aspects of a young persons life, including insecurities, relationships with families, friends and peer pressure. It is a book that approaches some difficult subjects, and does so sensitively and appropriately to the age range that the book is aimed at.
I would say that this book has an appeal to people young and old, it is a lovely, charming story, a book that I will treasure long into the future.