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Review: Zac and Mia – AJ Betts



Zac and Mia by A.J. Betts
Pages: 289 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers, September 2014

Links: Goodreads // Amazon // Book Depository
Overall Rating: 3.5/5 stars


“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.”

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.

Winner of the 2012 Australian Text Prize.


This book starts off with the story of Zac and he is in the hospital, currently getting leukemia treatment. This book was a really, really quick read. It is also a very short book, only 289 pages, so that must be why.

I had very positive feelings towards this book when I started to read this book because I saw a few recommendations of it on Youtube before.

I felt like it started off doing pretty well, I mean, I liked it. It felt a little TFIOS-y to me, but that might just be my personal bias. However, I did like the characters, and was very interested to see what would happen to them.

The setting was quite interesting as well. It was set in Australia, so you don’t get the typical YA America setting. This was unfamiliar for me, but definitely interesting.

The book did take an unexpected turn for me, the plot definitely didn’t play out the way I thought it would. This would normally be a good thing, but unfortunately the way it played out was a little disappointing to be honest. I just felt like there was so much more that could have been done with the plot. The story felt a little choppy and anti-climatic.

This was really frustrating for me because I liked Zac; I felt neutral about Mia. I just felt like the alternate narratives just didn’t work. There was too much focus on Zac and we knew too little about Mia to get a chance to connect with her.

Aside from that, I felt like character development was quick slow…

Then suddenly, it ended. I just honestly expected more, because it had such a good start. It wasn’t a book I really disliked, however, it was not memorable for me. Unfortunately, the characters and story just didn’t touch me, I didn’t feel any particular emotion for the characters or story.

I would only recommend this book to you if you have read the description and felt interested in the plot, besides that, I would say this is an average read.


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