Sixteen-year-old Ani lives in the tiny Quebec town of Ste-Anne-de-Beaupre, where her family runs Saintly Souvenirs, a tourist shop catering to the many pilgrims who come to the town seeking a miracle.
The bane of Ani's existence is her hyperactive, over-sexed younger sister, Colette. Ani and her mother, Therese, are devout Catholics; Colette and her father are not. When Therese is paralyzed after a freak accident, Aniís faith is tested, but when she is confronted with something shocking in her mother's past, she has to rethink her whole existence.
"Polak maintains a tone that is understanding and contemplative as she probes the questions, doubts and fears of many of the characters, both teen and adult, in her work...[An] outstanding, dare I say heavenly, young adult novel! Highly Recommended."
– CM Magazine
"Ani and Colette are such wonderful characters, it’s a simple joy just to spend time with them in their small town. Polak writes candidly about Ani’s intimate feelings without any exploitation or sensationalism. Miracleville is not only a great book for girls, but also for boys who may actually learn to understand girls."
"The novel is steeped in Catholic rituals and...written with short, simple sentences. Polak packs many messages into Miracleville...[which] will work best with teens living in rural areas and those familiar with Catholic traditions."
"This delightful novel mixes modern-day issues and problems with age-old beliefs about miracles and faith. Ani, her parents, and her wild sister, Colette, all falter at some point, some longer than others, but come back around to the stability and consistency that only true faith can provide."
– Berwyn Public Library
"A wonderful coming-of-age story...Polak's writing is smooth and easy to follow, and there are enough plot twists to keep you flipping pages to find out what happens next. Her imagery and descriptions of the beautiful buildings in Sainte-Anne made it easy to picture the town and follow Ani throughout her journey...A beautiful book! The cover is simple but stunning, and sure to catch your eye...I definitely recommend it to teens who are coming of age who are unsure how religion can work within society and culture nowadays."
– Beyond the Bookshelf blog
"Ani's characters is great because she's obviously trying to come to terms with growing up, her friends' and sister's emergent sexuality, problems within her family, and uniting this with her Catholic faith. These struggles make her a more interesting and sympathetic character."
– Resource Links
"In this sensitive examination of the complexities of faith, Polak...captures the perplexing nuances of a town whose economy depends on and caters to pilgrim tourists, which affects the beliefs of local inhabitants, creating both skeptics and devout believers."
– Publisher's Weekly
"The setting of each one [of Polak's novels is] as eye-opening and world-expanding as the last...Few will be able to resist the pacing of this very personal mystery."
– Montreal Gazette
"An involving coming-of-age novel for girls who love realistic fiction...All of the characters are skillfully drawn, and each one of them faces personal challenges and struggles that are very realistically portrayed. The book will encourage students to think deeply about issues that many other books treat superficially...While religion plays a strong part in the story, it is presented in a very open-ended, broad way that will speak to all readers, whether they are religious or not."
– Tri-State YA Book Review Committee
"I fell in love with Ani almost from the beginning of this book. Yes, she's a stereotypical 'good girl,' but she's also struggling with her goodness and the desire for more...[This is] a quiet, character-driven novel about a teenage girl trying to find her place in the world...This book will find an audience with the many girls I know who love contemporary realistic fiction stories."
– The Next Best Book blog
"There were shocking events and heart-wrenching scenes, all leading to a realistic and fitting ending...The characters were believable and the plot kept me turning the pages."
– Washington State Young Adult Review Group
"Miracleville's use of Ani's voice, present tense, and frequent dialogue propels the plot, and allows for identification with this girl's quest for identity...The tone is brisk, often comical and straightforward, yet there is a keen sense of observation in the precise detail."
– Canadian Literature
"Dealing with themes of religion, faith, miracles, and family, Miracleville is a thoughtful book for mid teen readers who are looking for a deeper read."
– Amy's Marathon of Books
TriState YA Review Group Book of Note | 2012 | Commended
CCBC Best Books | 2012 | Commended