September 21, 2014

Title: Zac and Mia

Author: A.J. Betts

Published: July 24, 2014

Publisher: Text Publishing

Pages: 304

Genre: Young Adult ♥ Contemporary ♥ Romance

Source: NetGalley

Summary from Goodreads: 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.

Average Goodreads Rating (as of 09/21/2014): 3.86

  • Christina thought this title was okay. It goes on her 3rd shelf. To find out why…

**SPECIAL NOTE:** An eARC of this title was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. However, that did not influence this review in any way. All thoughts, quotes, and opinions will be of this version and not of the published edition.

Quick Thoughts and Rating: 
3 stars! The author knows her stuff as far as medical terminology and cancer statistics and writing two distinct voices, capturing both male and female with ease, but along the way, I failed to make a true connection with either character. That was probably the aspect that hindered my rating the most.

The Lowdown: Two teenagers find themselves at a vulnerable state in an oncology ward, and through a series of knocks and taps, late night chats online, and handwritten notes passed via nurses between each other, they start to feel a little less alone in their fight against cancer. But when their battle continues outside the hospital and hundreds of miles away from one another, they still can’t quite forget about the person that went bump in the night, usually around 3AM, the time when all the rules don’t apply.

Two sides of the same coin, Zac, though with poorer odds in the grand scheme of things, is surprisingly the optimistic one. His voice is humorous and upbeat, and he was the calm in the sea of uncertain chaos and lousy statistics. On his flip side, you have Mia, ever pessimistic and unlucky, despite the fact that she has some of the best odds as far as cancer goes. While everyone knows about Zac’s illness, she’s chosen to hide her demon from everybody except a select few, which doesn’t help her at all in the loneliness department. But in the hospital, she’s chosen to live out loud, she’s boisterous, surly, and pissed off at the world. Still, an unlikely friendship blossoms because Zac needs someone who can tell it like it is and Mia just needs someone, someone in her corner who understands and will tell her that it’ll be okay.

My Thoughts: First, let’s just get this out of the way. Zac & Mia is not some ripoff of Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, so we can all just stop with that. I think it’s a great disservice to both books to even offer that comparison, so I’m not doing it. Not only has the plot of two cancer patients meeting while in the hospital/during treatment/after been done before, but these teenagers and their story and their voices in no way resemble TFiOS, so quit trying to say that they’re alike. If you haven’t read this, just know it’s not, so don’t think it is.

Now…

Like I stated previously, I feel like the author really knows her jargon, whether she’s worked in the oncology unit or has spent time on that particular floor or simply done her research, I never felt like she was feeding me BS facts. I appreciated the in-depth view and honest approach to how people, especially young ones, might react to being told they have cancer and the process they have to go through, in all its gory detail to win the fight.

As for the characters, while I thought both characters and their perspective was authentic and genuine to them and that I liked them well enough, I truly failed to make any real connection to them or their interest in one another as the story progressed. I expected to have my heart strings tugged repeatedly and to feel the angst, but I felt none of that. For me, it was more of an outside-looking-in experience, and though I’m finding it difficult to explain, I just didn’t feel emotionally invested in this story at all. Which is slightly disappointing because I felt like I went into this novel heart open, ready to be ripped to pieces, and it just never really came close to damaging me.

Rec It? Maybe. I liked this, but I didn’t love it. I liked the characters, but I didn’t fall in love with them. The plot was good, but relatively predictable. So, simply stated, if you’re picking this up because you are in great need of a big cry, you won’t be shedding any tears over this one. However, it was a decent book and possibly worth the few hours it took me to read it.

♥ A very special thanks to Text Publishing and NetGalley for providing me an advanced copy of this title in exchange for my honest review.

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