Author: A.J. Betts
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Source: Text Publishing (Thank you!)
Goodreads | The Reading Room
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.Review by Nara
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.
Let's be honest, the majority of us, after finding out that this is a book about kids with cancer, would have been like eh I'll just go read The Fault in Our Stars. And inevitably while I was reading the book, I kept drawing comparisons between it and TFIOS. Is Zac and Mia as feels inspiring as TFIOS? Is Zac and Mia as realistic as TFIOS? Is Zac and Mia as good as TFIOS? Frankly no. But at this point we do have to acknowledge that very few books will ever live up to the genius that is TFIOS (when did this review turn into a promotion of TFIOS lol), and I also do have to acknowledge that Zac and Mia is certainly a heartwarming and interesting read nonetheless.
I really don't know how I felt about Mia. I hesitate to criticise her because she has cancer, but to be completely honest, dat kid cray cray (at least at the start). I mean, seriously, it's really not socially acceptable to randomly get into a stranger's bed without their permission. Or randomly climb through their window in the middle of the night and then get into their bed. Even if you've Facebook messaged each other a few times. Not cool, Mia. Not cool. She does get better later on in the book though.
How can you share someone's secrets, sent back and forth in the quiet of early mornings, but not know basic stuff like the suburb they live in or their phone number? How can someone vanish from your life so easily?On the other hand, I loved Zac. He was just such an awesome character (although with questionable tastes in friends- by which I mean Mia, I don't think we really see any of his other friends). His sense of humour and strength were definitely the kind that we like to read about in "cancer books". I just loved his interactions with Mia and I suppose by the end of the novel I was converted into supporting their weird relationship. It was interesting observing how Zac affected Mia- how he showed her how "lucky" she was.
I'm the least brave of everyone. I never signed up for this war. Leukaemia conscripted me, the fucker.I feel like the portrayal of cancer in the book was fairly realistic. In fact, most of the events in the book were realistic except for one event which annoyed me a bit. First some background: Mia and Zac met in the hospital and then went their separate ways after they were discharged. Zac went home to his farm in rural Western Australia, Mia stayed in Perth. So, the pretty cliched event was that Mia ran away from home and coincidentally found a pamphlet about Zac's farm, and decided to go there (without knowing it was Zac's farm). She goes there and voila, there is Zac, just when she needs him most (because she's just run out of money). I do not approve of this coinkidink.
Overall, I would say that this is quite a good book. Interesting and memorable characters, realistic plot and heartwarming, optimistic ending- certainly a book to look out for.