Review: Zac & Mia by A.J. Betts

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 2nd, 2014
Pages: 289
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Series: N/A
Genre(s): Contemporary
Synopsis from Goodreads:

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.

my rambles

Special thanks to HMH Books for Young Readers and NetGalley for providing me with an advance copy for review!

Zac & Mia was such a beautiful story. Although it had it’s small, miniscule flaws, it was a book that I fell in love with both the written story, but also the wonderfully fresh and funny characters. I fell in love with the fact that stories like this are real, and that stories like this can have happy endings.

I thought I was going to be crying a river when reading Zac & Mia, but I didn’t. That’s not because the author didn’t make the story disease-driven. I felt like the diseases that both Zac and Mia had were their driving force and the reason they were brought together, but that wasn’t a bad thing. A.J. Betts wrote these characters in a way that made you optimistic as the reader. One of the characters may be the exact opposite of optimistic, but the character development for such a short book is amazing. I loved getting to see how both characters almost swap places from start to finish. Soon their force to keep going isn’t to stay alive, but stay alive FOR the other person, and I think that was beautiful how much both Zac and Mia were affected by each other.

As I mentioned before, for such a short (I say that as an opinion of mine, and the eARC was only marked 203 pgs) book, I was amazed at how much emotion, character development, and just storytelling in general the author jammed into that book. Because, while I ended optimistic, this book took me through a rollercoaster of emotions. I often found myself sitting there reading and stop to think how I would act and feel in that situation. I loved that this book made me think, and reflect on how LUCKY I really am.

I’ve read some reviews comparing Zac & Mia to The Fault in Our Stars — the very synopsis does! — and while, unless you have a fetish for YA books about cancer patients, there isn’t a reason for comparison. Zac & Mia is different, unique, and wonderful in it’s own ways. And when you choose to read this book, please don’t make comparisons between the two.

Overall, Zac & Mia is a book that I am so happy  I read. I loved every bit of it, and I’m so very thankful that this book had a happy ending!

xo

Update: I’m back from vacation!

Oh how I’ve missed typing blog posts, reading other blogs, and chatting with you guys! I had a lovely time on vacation, but taking that week off made me realize just how much blogging has become a part of my life and how much I love it. I’m so happy to be back and I’m ready to pick up with the blog right where I left off.


The Vacation

While away, I read less than I was hoping to (only about two and half books in total), but I did get to spend a lot of time with my friends from another country that I only see once a year, which was amazing. I started Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston but I just wasn’t feeling it so I put it down about halfway through. I visited the local indie store which I’ve come to know and love, and bought (after a HUGE recommendation from my friend), Stolen by Lucy Christopher and DEVOURED it. When I say I devoured it I mean I stayed up until 12 at night finishing it. I plan to post my review of it Monday and as soon as I write this post I plan to dive right in to writing my review. I have lots of love for that book, but you’ll find out why on Monday. 😉 Then, I still wasn’t in the mood for Frozen…I wanted something with a little more romance. SO, I read The One by Kiera Cass. EEEE! I really enjoyed the conclusion to the series and I cannot wait to review it for you guys! I had to hold in my giggles while reading. That’s all I’ll say at the moment.

I was trying to upload/embed pictures I took from Instagram while away, but WordPress is acting up… SO, you can visit my Instagram to see a few pics I took while away!


The Books

Although I only bought one book while away, I stumbled upon a few review copies that I just couldn’t resist…

  TheLegacyEbook

  • The Empress Chronicles by Suzy Vitello (Netgalley)
  • Zac & Mia by A. J. Betts (Netgalley)
  • The Legacy by Necole Ryse (blog tour)

In other news…

  1. WordPress – I was alerted by the wonderful Patty @ Imaginative Minds that WordPress is shutting down blogs that frequently post promotional posts such as guest posts, blog tours, book blasts, etc. I was really nervous although I’d only had 2 posts that fell into that category. I’ve since renamed them and/or put them on private, but I’m still nervous about what WordPress plans to do. As soon as I got home I exported all my blog’s content and looked a little more at what qualifies to be taken down. This link, if you scroll to the bottom, will show you the kinds of blogs that are subject to be taken down if WordPress is notified about your content. Here’s what is mentioned specifically about book blogs:

    Book tour blogs: Blogs that consist of scraped, pre-written content, as opposed to original book reviews, for the purpose of promoting books and driving traffic to other promotional and giveaway sites.

    I’m still not quite sure what my next move is. I’ve set up a Weebly account and snagged the domain of the same name here but .weebly.com instead. I’ve been trying things out there, and while I like it, I love WordPress, and I can’t see myself leaving anytime soon.

  2. Go “Behind the Blogger”! – The lovely Caroline is spotlighting Books & Cleverness and I on her blog, The Attic Reviews today! I’d like to give a HUGE thank you to her for giving me the opportunity to be featured on her blog! Go and check out her blog, too. You’ll love it! 😉
  3. Rachel @ Confessions of a Book Geek is “Sharing the Bloggy Love!” – She’s started writing these wonderful posts in which she features other blogs and bloggers she has come to love reading and telling her readers a little bit about them! I was featured, but I also discovered so many other awesome blogs thanks to her post! I love what you’re doing Rachel! ❤ Yvo @ It’s All About Books is doing something similar, too! Make sure to check out both of their posts and continue to spread the love!
  4. Blog Awards?! Oh my! – Yvo of It’s All About Books and Victoria of Coffee. Write. Repeat. both nominated me for the Liebster Award! I couldn’t be more grateful and I thank you both SOOOO much! ❤ Unfortunately, as I’ve been away I’m just trying to catch up on normal blog things, so I don’t think I’ll get to writing a post. But that doesn’t mean I’m at all ungrateful. I wish I could reach out and give you both a hug! 🙂
  5. “Renewing Excitement” – Alena @ AlenasLife wrote a wonderful post about how she was inspired by fellow bloggers to pick up some books that have been just sitting around, unread, for too long. I’m so happy that I’m one of those bloggers that inspired you to do so, Alena! I hope you find some gems in the forgotten depth of your bookshelf! 😉

How have YOU been?

I’ve felt so out of touch while I was away, and I want to know what’s been going on with you! I’d absolutely LOVE it if you linked me some of your favorite posts that either you wrote, or read from another blogger, that I’ve missed while  I took the week “off.”

I missed you all so much more than you could know and I am SO HAPPY to be back and blogging and reading my butt off! 😀

See you VERY soon!

xo, emily