Zac and Mia by A. J. Betts – Nice and Feisty

zac and miaTitle: Zac and Mia

Author: A. J. Betts

Genre: YA contemporary

Length: 306 pages

Published by: Text Publishing Australia

Source: library


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.

Let me first explain the title of this blog post.

Zac is nice.

Mia is feisty.

So you could say they’re different.

Zac was my favourite part of this book.

He is going through hell (alias cancer), and still manages to be positive about things. His POV is really funny and as a character he’s certainly endearing. Everything from making fun of bowel movements to talking about Call of Duty with his mum had a real voice and authenticity to it. Speaking of which, the interactions with his mum were lovely, and I’m glad it had that relationship in it.

Then there’s Mia.

She didn’t seem to like anything. Her POV doesn’t appear until quite a way through the book, but through Zac’s perspective we can see her as a pretty unlikeable person – yelling at her mum and the nurses, blasting Lady Gaga and generally being unpleasant.

But I don’t think characters necessarily have to be likeable, so that didn’t worry me all that much.

From Zac’s point of view, Mia seems pretty ungrateful – she has osteosarcoma (like Augustus in The Fault in Our Stars) and she has the best survival odds of pretty much anyone – and despite that, she goes on about how she’s NOT going to formal in a wheelchair, she’s NOT doing this, or that.

Compared to Zac, she’s very unpleasant.

I liked how they complemented each other towards the end of the book.

Zac is not always a bundle of laughs, and Mia’s not always a horrible person. They both have their strengths and weaknesses. It did take a while for this to be apparent, but it was strong at the end. Mia’s character development is awesome.

Overall, it wasn’t…amazing.

There were a lot of things I liked, but I just felt like something was lacking. The plot wasn’t very involved, and I think I just needed something more. Isn’t it annoying when you can’t say exactly why it didn’t work with you? That’s how Zac and Mia was with me. I mean, there are a LOT of cancer books out there. Comparisons to The Fault in Our Stars are pretty inevitable. I didn’t compare it at all, because the stories are so different, but at the same time, it’s got to be pretty special to stand out in such a crowded topic area.

If you like sweet, slow romances, dual POVs and awesome character development (a la Lily Lilac in These Broken Stars) this book is for you. (also I was informed by a certain Cait that her name is Lilac, not Lily. Obviously I need to re-read it in time for This Shattered World).

Rating: 3/5 Wonderkitties


And tell me: what are your thoughts on unlikeable characters?

13 thoughts on “Zac and Mia by A. J. Betts – Nice and Feisty

  1. *tuts slowly* Lily? Lilac. 😉 But I’ll forgive you.

    SO YES. I have this on my TBR. I nearly read it yesterday, but my hand swung (totally out of my control) and grabbed A Sky So Heavy Instead. Because a) I wanted to wait for your review on Zac and Mia and b) I know you liked ASSH. OMG SEE HOW MUCH I TAKE YOUR BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS??! Very seriously, yes, yes I do.

    • HAHA. *hangs head in shame* Clearly I need to re-read it. BUT NO TIME. Maybe I still have Harry Potter on the brain.

      OMG I hope you like A Sky So Heavy 😀 Let’s face it, I give pretty awesome recommendations (okay, sometimes). But you liked The Protected so hopefully you like that one as well 😀

  2. I think unlikable characters can either make or break a story, it just depends. As long as the character has enough depth to generate some interest, they’re okay.

  3. This one seems a little underwhelming. It is on my TBR but perhaps I’ll put it off for a while longer. I’m not the biggest fan of dual POVs anyway. Plus, I’m scared of not connecting with Mia and that can really make or break things for me. Fabulous review, Emily! ❤

  4. I completely agree with this review! I mean, I liked it, but it wasn’t as good as I was expecting it to be. I’ve read a lot of reviews where people rated this low because of how unlikeable Mia was but honestly, that never bothered me. She felt real to me. And Zac, I think it’s impossible not to like Zac. 🙂

  5. I really loved this book. I like that it was a happy sad book. Sad sad books can just be so depressing. I read it a long time before I read The Fault In Our Stars, so I wasn’t comparing it when I read it. I didn’t mind Mia. I think she had a lot of pain and used anger to mark it.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  6. Aw, no – it’s a shame that there was something missing in this book for you.

    I definitely agree that Zac is the best part of the book. I am absolutely and completely in love with him. As for Mia, I can understand her resentment and anger, and I actually thought it was a really realistic reaction for a teenage girl confronted with cancer and change.

    For me, this book meant so much more than The Fault in Our Stars, but I know that I am pretty much the only person around who doesn’t think that the shine shines from TFiOS, haha.

  7. I borrowed this book from the library and returned it…unread. I JUST DON’T HAVE ENOUGH TIME FOR ALL OF THESE BOOKS, OKAY? Okay. I really like the idea of the two very different personalities and the fact that they complement each other towards the end. Although you didn’t love this book, I definitely think it’s one I’m going to have to pick up sooner or later. Thanks for a wonderful review. ❤

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