ARC Review: The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak

12:00 AM Serena 0 Comments

The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak by Brian Katcher
Expected Publication Date: May 19th, 2015
Format/Source: ARC courtesy of Epic Reads/Harper Collins at YALLWest!
Rating: 3.5-4 / 5 stars 
Part of a series? Nope! 

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…

Epic Reads was handing ARCs of Ana and Zak at YALLWEST, so I grabbed it because why not? I hadn't heard of it before, but a book that celebrates conventions and fandoms can't be bad. And it really wasn't. It wasn't amazing, but it was definitely a lot of fun. 

The characters. This book is told from a dual point of view, which I love. As is the case with a lot of dual POVs I read though, I ended up liking one character's voice more than the other's. That character being Zak. Zak is one of the coolest characters I've met in a while. He's a nerd, through and through. He's gone to Washingcon every year since he was ten, he cosplays sometimes, he sings folk songs based off Star Trek, and he plays crazy card games with trolls and other monsters. And that's not even the whole of it. I liked him immediately. Ana on the other hand I didn't end up liking until the last seventy-fiveish pages. We just didn't click. There were tons of highly entertaining secondary characters that I adored though. 

The setting. I've never read a book set at a sci-fi convention. It's probably the most unique contemporary setting I've read. There's always so much going on at cons that it creates this crazy, super-charged atmostphere (or at least that's how it works out in my mind), and this book really transported me there. If there are other YA novels like this, can someone direct me to them immediately? 

The plotting. I was having a lot of fun reading this until this block of maybe thirtyish pages where my interest started to drift a little bit. There's a certain point in the book where it took a turn from Guardians of the Galaxy laugh out loud hilarious to made for TV cartoon movie ridiculous. 
Taylor was me. 
I started to lose track of what was going on really quickly, and it left me feeling a whole lot of HUH? and a little annoyed. The end was redeeming, but it doesn't take away from the weird. 

The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak was crazy and a bit ridiculous at times, but overall, it was a fun, enjoyable read that celebrated fandom and everyone's inner (or outer!) nerd.