Publisher: HarperCollins Australia
Release Date: May 19th, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Source: Received in exchange for review
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The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak is Stonewall Book Award-winning author Brian Katcher’s hilarious he said/she said romance about two teens recovering from heartbreak and discovering themselves on an out-of-this-world accidental first date.
It all begins when Ana Watson's little brother, Clayton, secretly ditches the quiz bowl semifinals to go to the Washingcon sci-fi convention on what should have been a normal, résumé-building school trip.
If slacker Zak Duquette hadn't talked up the geek fan fest so much, maybe Clayton wouldn't have broken nearly every school rule or jeopardized Ana’s last shot at freedom from her uptight parents.
Now, teaming up with Duquette is the only way for Ana to chase down Clayton in the sea of orcs, zombies, bikini-clad princesses, Trekkies, and Smurfs. After all, one does not simply walk into Washingcon.
But in spite of Zak's devil-may-care attitude, he has his own reasons for being as lost as Ana-and Ana may have more in common with him than she thinks. Ana and Zak certainly don’t expect the long crazy night, which begins as a nerdfighter manhunt, to transform into so much more…
The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak is one of those laugh out loud, quirky contemporaries with fantastic underlying messages that every contemporary junkie needs to read. It’s definitely a book that I enjoyed, and apparently a spider agrees with me (it’s now dead though). Oh yes, I went to the bathroom the other day and when I came back to my desk, there was a huge ugly spider resting on my book. The horrors. I legit screamed and spent the next half an hour (okay, that’s an exaggeration) having a staring competition with the spider; I didn’t dare to leave the room because that dodgy spider would have totally ran off to hide, which would then consist of me flipping the entire house upside-down in search for it. IT’S ALWAYS WORSE WHEN YOU KNOW THERE’S A SPIDER BUT YOU CAN’T GODDAMN FIND IT. And I didn’t want to try and kill it with my old textbook because 1) WHAT THE HELL WOULD I DO IF I MISSED? THE SPIDER WOULD START SPAZZING AND I’D HAVE A PANIC ATTACK and 2) do I really want spider guts on my old textbooks? I mean, REALLY? Anyway my mum soon came home and saved the day. I think I’m just going to live with my mum when I grow up so I never have to deal with spiders. Ugh.
ANYWAY. I have obviously strayed off topic here. The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak is not a book about spiders taking over the universe by stealing all of Mel’s precious books. No, it is so much better than that; it’s a romantic comedy that is told in dual POV by two seemingly totally different people over the course of one day, set at a sci-fi themed convention (think ComicCon or any other geeky festivals). Con-goers and pop-culture addicts, meet your next favourite book.
Brian Katcher’s latest follows two teens who seem jarringly different on the surface. You have Ana, who sticks with the rules and is a straight A student. Then there’s Zak; he may seem like a slacker but he’s clearly been through more pain than anyone would have ever guessed. I don’t know how Katcher does it but he manages to create two fantastically well-rounded characters that held my equal attention. It’s not all that frequent that I can enjoy both perspectives in a dual POV novel, so I was really glad that these characters captivated me equally as much. Both Ana and Zak both have their flaws and are far from perfect, but their character development hits strong and feel so three-dimensional to me. Heck, I can even identify these characters with people I know in real life.
The romance is something I’m very neutral about. This being a novel set around only a couple of days, the romance obviously had to move quickly. I wouldn’t call this instant-love though. I think Ana and Zak’s chemistry is very much real and the way their relationship developed seems completely acceptable to me. They don’t end up saying their “I love yous” by the end of the book (thank God) but you can tell that their relationship is going to bloom with possibilities. The two of them are pretty darn cute together, and their banter managed to pull a smile on my face on several occasions.
My largest complaint about this book was that things got quite ridiculous about halfway into the book. I’ve never been to something like ComicCon but I was bewildered and just weirded out by some of the things that happened in this book. Many situations seemed unlikely to happen in real life. Basically, it got so unbelievable to the point where it really ruined my enjoyment and I had to put the book down.
Despite that, I really loved that this book had strong messages woven into the story line. The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak is a coming-of-age story that shows you that there are always two sides to a story, and that first-impressions aren’t always the impressions that are intended to stay, because everyone has more to than what they appear to be on the surface.
~Thank you HarperCollins Australia for sending me this copy!~
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