Review: Zac and Mia by A.J. Betts

Zac and Mia by A.J. Betts

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publication Date: September 2nd, 2014

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.
  Before I even begin this review, I want to dismiss all of the talk of The Fault in Our Stars and Zac and Mia being so alike. They're two very different stories. Yes, cancer is an integral part of the story in both of these books. But the similarities beyond that are so slim. Over and over, I heard that Zac and Mia was the new The Fault in Our Stars (mind you, Zac and Mia was written and published first). It gave me a lot of expectations going into reading Zac and Mia and I really wish I wouldn't have had those.

  A.J. Betts deserves a standing ovation. She was able to take something very sensitive and build a beautiful story injected with humor and a wide range of emotions with Zac and Mia. At certain times, this book would be sobering for me as I sped through it. Other times, I'd find myself laughing at Zac's wit or his mother's antics. This is a book that's about more than cancer. Don't get me wrong: cancer is a huge part of it. But this book isn't wholly consumed with only being about cancer. There's so much depth to it.

  I hate to admit it, but I really loathed the character of Mia. She deserved empathy from me, I know. She faced an impossible situation, and I don't think I would handle it much better. But I'm a sucker for characters being strong and overcoming obstacles. I felt like Mia just succumbed to her fate. The entire time I was reading this book, I wanted to throw her some boxing gloves and tell her to fight.

  Zac, on the other hand, was the highlight of this book for me. It's rare that we get a male character in Young Adult that we get see the world through their eyes. With the way that A.J. Betts wrote Zac, I wish we had that privilege more. There was plenty of wit and reflection weaved throughout his story that perfectly balanced the matter at hand. I missed him whenever I finished reading this book. In fact, I missed his entire family.

  If you're a fan of young adult who enjoys a good contemporary, then please pick up Zac and Mia. It has a hint of romance, but the story is so much more than that. Just do yourself a favor and go in with an open mind. You just might find your next favorite book!

**I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review with no compensation.


  1. i hate it when people immediately dismiss a book based on the fact that it sounds like a popular book! I found it funny that it was also published first! :')

    I really like the look of this one. It seems like it is about a lot more than the disease! It comes out on the 25th again in the UK so I will have to pick it up then!

    Thanks for sharing! :)

    Alex @ The Shelf Diaries

    1. I hate it, too! I always shake my head whenever people compare this to TFiOS in reviews and say TFiOS came first.

      Hope you love it, Alex! It's emotional but amazing!


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