Review: Zac and Mia – A. J. Betts

Posted September 18, 2014 by Andi in Books, Review / 0 Comments

Review: Zac and Mia – A. J. BettsZac and Mia by A.J. Betts
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers
Published: September 2nd 2014
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The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this tough and tender young adult novel that's a lot about love (and a little about cancer).Winner of the 2012 Australian Text Prize"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 received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


I honestly don’t know where to begin with this one. Zac and Mia was a book I was very excited about. Reading the description I thought it was something I would think was crazy good. It had all the parts I like in a good book. Dual POVs, emotions, friendship/love possibilities. So when I was finally able to read it I was pretty excited. Sadly I ended up being slightly let down and ended up feeling meh about the whole thing. Basically I was bummed out.

Zac and Mia is about two teenagers that find a strange connection in a cancer ward that they never expected. Zac has been in isolation for a month trying to get back to normal while Mia is just entering the facility and is Zac’s neighbor. Both dealing with their own struggles and pains an unexpected knock on a wall leads to memories and a friendship neither will ever forget.

The story and the characters were not why this book was meh for me. I actually really liked the characters and their struggles. I liked how they dealt with the same kind of situation in a different way and how they were completely different but ended up complimenting each other in that opposites attract kind of way. I also enjoyed the development of their friendship. It was fitting for how they met and the place where their heads where in at the time. See, I liked a whole lot about the book. But there was one thing that I think made it stuffer and made it turn into a “meh book” instead of a “this was really good” kind of book; the narration style.

The way the story was ultimately told is where I ended up struggling a lot. See, when I hear dual POV I think every other chapter with a new narrator. I think maybe a few chapters back to back with the same voice, but some consistency to the voice pacing. Zac and Mia was not like that. The way this book was broken up, first section in Zac’s voice, second section in both their voices, third section in Mia’s voice, took away from the story. Well it did for me anyway. I think the problem that I had with this was that I never really got to know Mia much in the beginning and then I was supposed to be able to understand her in the second section. And then when I got used to the dual voices in the second section Zac was radio silence. There is no other way for me to say this then to flat out say that it bugged me and I personally think it took away from what was a great story.

But Zac and Mia was a good book when all is said and done. It didn’t wow me like I pointed out, but it was terrible either. It had some really good parts to it and in the long run I think I would recommend it if someone is looking for a realistic read. The friendship was well done and really that was the part I didn’t want to be wrong and it wasn’t. I say check it out and see for yourself what you think.


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0 responses to “Review: Zac and Mia – A. J. Betts

  1. I hadn’t heard about this one until I saw it at BN the other day, but it sounds really sweet actually. The narration style sounds pretty interesting, so maybe I’d enjoy it a bit more than you! I’m glad you at least liked some bits of it 🙂

  2. Haven’t read this one yet, but I can see how the POV switches would be frustrating. Not sure how I’d feel about that either. Plus I heard this one was more about friendship than romance? Hmm. You know me – I need my swoons. 😉

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