Review: Zac and Mia by A. J. Betts

Title: Zac And Mia
Author: A. J. Betts
Publisher: Text Publishing
Publication Date: July 24th 2013
Part of A Series?: No
I Got A Copy Through: Guardian Children's Books 
Blurb Description:"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.
There are certain places where social standings and rules don't matter. Certain places where all of that is put aside and, well, everything is different: courtrooms, book signings (!) and hospitals.
Hospitals, where the white walls can overpower you, the smell of disinfectant can suffocate you and the sickness everywhere can take a toll on you. And yet, here, in the oncology ward, is a boy. Helga, to some, Zac to others, or even 'the nice jock who left school because he has cancer' to most who don't know him.
In the ward is also a girl – a rebel, loud-spoken, Lady Gaga playing girl. Mia, who refuses to let people in, but continues to hold them at arm's length, while facing the hardest time of her life. Cancer. Osteosarcoma.
Nobody would expect them to be friends, with the possibility of something more; nobody would have expected them to even talk, but when death is staring you in the face, nothing is impossible. Least of all, this.
Zac and Mia, was a different and yet, not so different book. The whole cancer aspect was done in a different angle – one that wasn't The Fault In Our Star's "feelings and infinities" and okays, nor was it The Probability of Miracles' bucket list before death angle – but more like how to deal with cancer itself that may not be fatal, and remission, family and first love, and running away versus staying and fighting and, most of all, courage.
Different, but in no means any less that the above, Zac and Mia is a book that I loved – and will definitely pick up a second time!

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