Zac & Mia
by A.J. Betts
Overview (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.
Full Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group, via Netgalley.
My Thoughts: Have you ever wondered how you would react in certain, hypothetical situations? How would you handle the death of a loved one? How would you handle a serious medical diagnosis? Would you become selfish or selfless? Would you open yourself up to the possibility of more pain or shut down completely. Zac & Mia takes an honest view on the story of teenagers being diagnosed with cancer. It just goes to show you that no one is perfect; we don’t all react the same way and we shouldn’t be expected to either.
There is an obvious comparison to The Fault in Our Stars here, but I imagine there are only so many ways you can go with a story about teenagers with cancer. I pointed out that there is a comparison, but they are very different stories in the same vein. The story of Zac & Mia is sweet and really tries to put the hope back into a person’s fight with cancer. It seemed like the author was trying to tell us all, never give up and never lose hope. That’s not a bad sentiment to leave your readers with.
I know a lot of the people who have already read this hated Mia and I’m sure some of those that read it in the future will hate her too. I am not one of them. I actually liked her. Yes, she was vain, but I’m almost positive that I would be pretty angry and vain if I were ever put in her situation. We all hope that we’ll rise above a challenging situation and react admirably, but the reality is anger and selfishness are completely normal feelings to have. I love that the author made this Mia’s perspective on having cancer and didn’t make it a clean-cut book of pure and easy acceptance. This felt closer to the truth.
The chemistry between Zac and Mia was strange, yet believable. It was very one-sided and then their roles switched. It seemed like an excellent point to make about all relationships. It really made me stop and think about those people around me that I take for granted every single day (they may have gotten an extra thank you that day and thought I was being really weird). It was nice seeing how they both needed each other, it wasn’t a one-sided relationship.
I really enjoyed reading Zac & Mia. Will it tug on your heartstrings like The Fault in Our Stars? No, but that isn’t a bad thing. I’ve seen Zac & Mia described as a poor man’s The Fault in Our Stars, but I think that’s unfair. It’s just different. I would recommend Zac & Mia, especially if you haven’t read The Fault in Our Stars yet. Even if you have read, you might want to consider giving Zac & Mia a try, it may just surprise you.
3.5 out of 5 Bookmarks = I liked it, but 4 out of 5 seemed a smidge too high to rate it.