A Review of The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak, by Brian Katcher

Penguin2.3

The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak

Goodreads Rating: 3.74 Stars
336 Pages
Katherine Tegan Books Publishing
Get a copy here!

The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak is Stonewall Book Award-winning author Brian Katcher’s hilarious he said/she said romance about two teens recovering from heartbreak and discovering themselves on an out-of-this-world accidental first date.

It all begins when Ana Watson’s little brother, Clayton, secretly ditches the quiz bowl semifinals to go to the Washingcon sci-fi convention on what should have been a normal, résumé-building school trip.

If slacker Zak Duquette hadn’t talked up the geek fan fest so much, maybe Clayton wouldn’t have broken nearly every school rule or jeopardized Ana’s last shot at freedom from her uptight parents.

Now, teaming up with Duquette is the only way for Ana to chase down Clayton in the sea of orcs, zombies, bikini-clad princesses, Trekkies, and Smurfs. After all, one does not simply walk into Washingcon.

But in spite of Zak’s devil-may-care attitude, he has his own reasons for being as lost as Ana-and Ana may have more in common with him than she thinks. Ana and Zak certainly don’t expect the long crazy night, which begins as a nerdfighter manhunt, to transform into so much more…

– – – – –

3Penguins
Quick Reasons: cute, fluffy romance; quite a bit of unexpected action and drama; an entertaining, dual-perspective “coming of age”; tons of pop culture references and tongue-in-cheek humor; the characters are charming, relatable, and realistic; the reckonings of an innocent “first love”

Because that’s the way the world works, isn’t it? You can work hard and be miserable, or do nothing and be happy.

This was a cute, fluffy, quick read—quite different from the emotionally-devastating, “this book just slaughtered me” reads I’ve been so drawn to these last few weeks. This took me literally three hours to race through—and it WAS a race, though one that didn’t blow me away or knock me out of the water.

What I’m saying is… This book doesn’t really push the bounds. It didn’t challenge me, it didn’t push me out of my comfort zone. It didn’t even really make me feel anything, except amused. Also, a bit frustrated at times—because there are moments we’re given only slight glimpses into the world being built, the charactes being mapped out, but these glimpses are so small and tantalizing that when the reality of the situation was spelled out…I found myself a bit disappointed. For instance: Ana and Clayton’s sister, Nichole. When I first dove into this book, I thought FOR SURE Nichole was dead. Turns out, she’s very much alive—and very much perfectly fine, aside from being a young mother. This was a bit infuriating to me, because the way Ana speaks of Nichole at the beginning of the book…you’d think some sort of tragedy occurred. It sort of made me angry, to realize that the “tragedy” was actually just a young pregnancy.

“At a con there’s one hundred percent acceptance, no ifs, ands, or buts. This is the one place where anyone can go and not be judged.”

The characters are charming and cute. It was fun to watch how Ana stepped out of her comfort zone…and how Zak sort of cluelessly “led” her to it. The antics they get up to at Washingcon were entertaining and revealed a lot about them as characters, though one scene really stood out to me as “unrealistic.” I really enjoyed seeing them step out of their usual habits…and come closer together for it.

Some of the resolution was a bit TOO tidy—a bit too happily-ever-after—for me to completely drop my disbelief in the end, though truth be told this might have been partly the point of the book. I think this was written as mostly a tongue-in-cheek, sort of over-the-top “coming of age” for both the characters, and I can get behind that sort of read every now and then.

She turns to me, and for a moment I fear she’s turning into the She-Hulk. After a second, I realize that her eyes are just really green, kind of like two angry Life Savers.

Overall, this was a cute, fluffy, pop-culture overdose…though nothing spectacular. I wasn’t blown away; this didn’t push the bounds or “take my breath away.” Perhaps I’ve been jaded by all the emotionally-draining reads of late, but I didn’t really get much out of this book personally. I’d still recommend to lovers of fluff, coming-of-age tales, and slightly over-the-top, hilarious shenanigans. Onto the next one, for me!

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12 thoughts on “A Review of The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak, by Brian Katcher

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