Zac and Mia by A.J. Betts
This review is based an advanced reader’s copy given to me by the site, Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review. This had no influence on the integrity of my review. Thanks to Edelweiss and HMH Kids for this book.
You Can Find the Book At:
Barnes and Noble
The last person Zac expects in the room next door is a girl like Mia, angry and feisty with questionable taste in music. In the real world, he wouldn’t—couldn’t—be friends with her. In hospital different rules apply, and what begins as a knock on the wall leads to a note—then a friendship neither of them sees coming.
You need courage to be in hospital; different courage to be back in the real world. In one of these worlds Zac needs Mia. And in the other Mia needs Zac. Or maybe they both need each other, always.
This book is already available in bookstores in Australia and New Zealand. It will be hitting bookstores in the United States, Canada, Germany, Russia, Italy, Brazil and Turkey throughout this year.
It took me awhile to get into this book, and I think that was my one only problem with it. It took awhile for me to really care. I loved the voice of Zac, definitely, but I think I loved the voice of Mia more and so when we reached the point of view of Mia, I was more drawn into the story. I felt like it took awhile for me to care about both of them. When you reach the part where you switch from Zac’s point of view to Mia’s, when you’ve gotten to know both of the characters, that is when I really grew attached to them and the rest of the book flew fast under my fingers.
I must admit that I was a bit reluctant when I received this book to read. Not because I knew A.J. Betts or the synopsis sounded bad, because that wasn’t it at all. It was more like, I really love The Fault in Our Stars but I’m getting kind of tired of it and I wasn’t sure if I was ready to dive into another contemporary romance book about kids with cancer. I wasn’t sure if it would be different or whether I would be impressed or whether this book would just fall into the list of books that I’ve read that haven’t quite made an impression on me.
I was proven definitely wrong. While it took me awhile to become attached the book and the characters, I admired the story that A.J. was building. It wasn’t a romance, not really, and both of the characters felt so real and raw to me, that I couldn’t help but want to know which direction they were going in. There was nothing romantic about the lives either of them were living. They were raw and honest and up front about the lot in life that was handed to them, and I think that’s why Mia stood out to me the most. Mia’s struggle with her cancer and not just the way it attacks her body, but the way it changes her social life, and her standing with her mom, her friends and her boyfriend, just felt so real. In Zac’s point of view, she felt shallow, loud, annoying, I suppose, but in her point of view, she felt vulnerable and emotional and relatable.
What could have been a shallow, been-there-done-that, story of two kids with cancer turned into something much more to me. The characters both change as the story goes in, in ways that you didn’t expect. Both of them have such different ways of approaching what is going in their lives and as their friendship, and yes romantic relationship, deepens, you can see the effect that it has on the other. The book is about hope and hopelessness and fighting and struggling and losing your confidence and will and getting lost on the way to finding yourself. Its a beautiful story of two friends, trying to define themselves outside of what cancer has done to them, and it definitely impressed me. I would definitely recommend picking this book up when it hits your country!
4 out of 5 Stars