April 16, 2015

Review: Zac and Mia by A.J. Betts

Title: Zac and Mia
Author: A.J. Betts
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release date: September 2nd 2014
Source: Netgalley
Format: eARC

Rating: 3.5/5

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"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. 
I have mixed feelings about this book, because honestly I don´t know what rating to give it, since one of the main characters is annoying because she spends angry with the world and retaliates with whichever she can, but on the other hand Mia just learned that she has cancer, which could upset to anybody.

The story begins with Zac, a leukemia patient who has just received a bone marrow transplant, which is why he´s confined in a hospital room, isolated for about 40 days and his only visitor are his mother, doctors and nurses, so when he finds out that his neighboring in the next room is a girl of his own age, Zac begins to communicate with her through knocks on the wall between the two rooms, messages sent through nurses, until they finally communicate over social network, but during their stay at the hospital they never know each other face to face, just glances of each other through the window in Zac´s door. But somehow months after leaving the hospital both keep thinking of each other for different reasons, and their lives crossed paths again, but this second meeting Mia is still remains depressed, so Zac does what he can to help her.

The plot is divided into three parts, the first part fully told by Zac, the second part is told from Zac and Mia POVs and the last part is told entirely by Mia. I liked Zac´s chapters, because he´s a very positive guy, despite being aware of the mortality percentages of his illness and is aware of the probability of going into remission, but despite all this almost never looks listless, discouraged or angry. While on her part Mia, a cancer with a high probability of success, she´s angry about the consequences her treatment (understandable), so she´s angry, depressed and cruel to others for the most part.

Lately I've read several books about cancer patients, but few of them were developed in the hospital, which made it a little different from the others.

Zac and Mia is a book about two young teenagers facing cancer that after many setbacks they become friends and support each other. Besides that we also see the presence of the family of both, but my favorite was the interaction of Zac with his mother, she´s portrayed as a strong woman and that is always present in the treatment of her son, we see her positive and supporting in the recovery of Zac. Overall it´s a good contemporary novel about friendship, family and with a message of hope.


  1. I think this book being compared to TFiOS ruined it for me. Every time a novel is being compared to one that's been loved by many. I know I was disappointed with this one.

    1. I read that comment too, and maybe that influence on my rating. But I did liked some things about the story.