Sunday, January 25, 2015

zac & mia

zac & mia
aj betts
text publishing
published 2013

"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 tot he 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.

When I was a teen I used to read Lurlene McDaniel books.  Have you ever heard of her?  Every book I read was about some teenager who had some sort of chronic illness.  They were tearjerkers and at that age I could read them and just wallow in the sadness because as a teen, I was a sad kid.  Now, these books are harder to read.  Not because I can't relate (being a full grown nearly middle aged adult) but because now I see my children and it's terrifying.

That doesn't stop me from reading, of course.  I read The Fault In Our Stars and loved it, but I read it because it was a John Green book, not because of the subject matter so much.

Now I've seen people comparing Zac & Mia to TFIOS which makes sense.  Two sick kids with cancer drawn together.  It's a natural comparison, but I also think it's slightly unfair.  Despite the tragic ending, TFIOS had a certain fairy tale air about it.  I felt like Zac & Mia was a little more realistic.  You have a tried and true veteran who has seen so many other cancer patients come and go.  Then you have the one who is in denial and angry about everything.

You always read about the kids with cancer who are wise beyond their years and they're fighters and strong and admirable.  You don't hear too much about the ones who can't get over that this is happening to them and blame everyone else for it.

I didn't really care for Mia at all at first.  Even with Zac's sort of rosy way of looking at things I didn't like her, but into her narrative for awhile she grew on me.  But the best came in the second to last paragraph in the book and that was really the only time I really cried.  I really did enjoy this one.  I didn't want to stop reading.  I loved Zac's voice and I was curious about Mia's even though I didn't like her.

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