The Improbable Theory of Ana & Zack by Brian Katcher (3 out of 5)


Here’s the thing; this book is cool and a quick read. It his also very similar to a book called Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. The styles and premise of the two books- and the overall feel- are very alike. I just ‘liked’ Nick and Norah. I didn’t love it. I still have no idea if Dan, my coworker, ever read it. I remember him making a deal out of it at the former bookstore job. This was an advance from our Harper rep at the store. I took it because I read the words “weird sci-fi convention” on the back cover. That was enough. Sadly, it often is these days with teen/kids’ books. If interplanetary life is present, so is my nose in the book. Anyway, I did like this book a lot. As I told Holly, it’s cute. But cute isn’t enough to warrant a five star in my book. I should also add that this is not my normal cup of coffee with books- children’s or teens. I usually like some action going down, or some aliens, or natural weather disasters. Those are usually the ones that have me fixated from page one. I was able to put this down, pick it up, read a few chapters, put it down, and then pick it up again. It took only a couple of hours to read once I hunkered down and read it.

The book goes back and forth from a he says/she says point of view. Ana’s little brother Clayton ditches the Quiz Bowl semifinals to go to a sci-fi convention. I totally get that; I would have done the same. Even with my former childhood wanderlust for trivia/spelling bees/extracurricular (NOT extraterrestrial) activities. This is, of course, Zak’s fault for talking up the sci-fi convention so much that Clayton just HAD to ditch the Quiz Bowl for the convention. To reclaim any chance of freedom she has from her uptight parents, Ana must team up with Zak to find Clayton and get him home. The different sorts roaming the sci-fi convention were one of my favorite parts of the book. Ana and Zak end up running into and with all sorts of life forms; Orcs, Dwarves, Trekkies, cosplayers, zombies- the whole sect. But do they find Clayton in time? And what the hell is Zak’s deal anyway? He and Ana have more in common than it appears, and their long night of hunting turns into much more of a revelation than either of them planned. Truly a turning point in the book. Also truly when the light went out for me. I like cute books, but I’d like one where the boy and girl stay friends. So many of them take the romance tilt-a-whirl for a ride, and I’m not sure if that enriches a book or if it sells it out. I always feel like it loses something. Things cannot ever stay the same, but must they always change due to the same plot format? You have to wonder. Anyhow, overall, a cute book. I just need a little more than cute to tide me over. And little more than an odd first date. I’ve had enough of those in real life to continue bumping into them in the paradise I have known as reading. Just not for me.

The Improbably Theory of Ana and Zak is out for release on May 19, 2015, courtesy of Katherine Tegen Books (Harper Collins).

~ by generationgbooks on January 30, 2015.

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