Zac & Mia by A.J. Betts
“When I was little I believed in Jesus and Santa, spontaneous combustion, and the Loch Ness monster. Now I believe in science, statistics, and antibiotics.” – Zac Meier
About: ….So says seventeen-year-old Zac Meier during a long, grueling leukemia treatment in Perth, Australia. A loud blast of Lady Gaga alerts him to the presence of Mia, the angry, not-at-all-stoic cancer patient in the room next door. Once released, the two near-strangers can’t forget each other, even as they desperately try to resume normal lives. The story of their mysterious connection drives this unflinchingly tough, tender novel told in two voices. (taken from Goodreads)
What I liked: Zac is adorable and just the type of boy you’d want to meet in real life, or have on the other side of a wall if you are in a rehabilitation ward… which is where Zac meets Mia, the knockout beauty with bad taste in music and a 95% survival chance. This makes Mia “lucky”, though she doesn’t see things this way. Mia’s cancer could cause physical abnormalities which is the worst likely scenario for someone of Mia’s beauty.
As you can probably surmise, physical beauty trumps survival, Mia has family issues, and can be pretty heinous and unlikable a lot of the time. Don’t want to spoil too much, but Mia’s moodiness and general vileness does subside and I loved riding the roller coaster of her ups and downs.
A little slow at first, but interest in Zac kept me reading, and then things really started to pick up about midway once there is a change of scenery outside of the hospital.
Recommendation: Imagine a hybrid of Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park, TFIOS, and Julie Murphy’s Side Effects May Vary. Sounds good? Then I recommend this book to you!
Reviewed by Audrey