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Book review: 'Chances Are' about a young woman's illness inspires, captivates

By Denise Russell

For the Deseret News

Published: Sunday, June 1 2014 5:25 a.m. MDT

"CHANCES ARE," by Traci Hunter Abramson, Covenant Communications, $16.99, 245 pages (f)

"Chances Are,” a recently published novel by Traci Hunter Abramson, is an inspiring tale about a young woman’s courageous pursuit of treatment for cancer despite all the odds stacked against her. The book evokes compassion for her suffering and appreciation for the choices made by those in position to help her. It's a departure from Abramson's previous novels of suspense, mystery and espionage.

Born in India, Maya Gupta escaped to the U.S. when she was 13 with her grandmother in order to avoid an arranged marriage. Her life takes a downturn after her grandmother passes away.

Now, as a college student, Maya has an illness for which the only hope is participation in a clinical trial at a hospital in Washington, D.C., Kari, her best friend, solves Maya’s predicament by involving Kari’s unsuspecting brother, Ben, who owns an apartment near the hospital.

A Major League Baseball player, Ben is temporarily living in California. When he returns to his apartment in Washington, D.C., he finds Maya living there. Unaware of her health issues and concerned about maintaining his upstanding reputation with fans, Ben asks Maya to leave. When he learns about Maya’s struggle, Ben’s own struggle ensues as he is torn between moving on with his plans and unselfishly helping another human being. This page-turner is about Maya's journey through emotional and financial hardships.

Abramson’s characters are three-dimensional, allowing the reader to fully empathize with and relate to them. The story illustrates the importance of growing up with strong moral values as preparation for life's trials.

“Chances Are” should be appealing to teenage and adult audiences alike due to the author’s very accessible writing style, her effective handling of a touching subject without melodrama and the skillful way in which Abramson handles Maya and Ben’s blooming relationship. There is no foul language, violence or sexual innuendo in the story.

The author’s engaging storytelling is captivating and it's easy to want to reach the book’s end in one sitting.

Abramson is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a former CIA employee and a graduate of Brigham Young University who currently lives in Virginia with her family. A Whitney Award winner, Abramson has written 14 other novels.

Denise Russell majored in psychology at the University of New Hampshire. She is an entrepreneur, blogs about quilting and crafts at www.piecedbrain.com, has three boys and a grandson. Her email is derussell22@gmail.com.

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