Saturday, May 16, 2015

ARC Review: The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak by Brian Katcher

The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak
Author: Brian Katcher
Publication: Katherine Tegen Books (May 19, 2015)

Description: 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…

My Thoughts: Zak and Ana tell this story is alternate chapters. Zak is a slacker in school; he's more interested in science fiction and computers than anything else. Ana is the always-busy, over-achiever whose on every committee and always looking to pad her transcript for college. Zak is interested in Ana but Ana has no time or interest in him. They get thrown together when Zak is in danger of failing Health but the teacher who is also the adviser of the Quiz Bowl team recruits him because she needs another team member for an up-coming tournament. Unfortunately, the Quiz Bowl tournament is the same weekend as the biggest science fiction convention in Washington State and Zak goes every year.

So, Zak finds himself in the van on the way to Quiz Bowl with Ana, her younger brother Clayton, and the other two team members. He regales them with tales of the science fiction convention happening only a few miles from the Quiz Bowl Competition. After their first round, which Zak helps them win, they have the evening off before the next round. Clayton decides to go the the convention leaving Ana and Zak to go after him and try to find him and bring him home before their adviser or Ana and Clayton's parents find out he is missing.

Most of the book happens at the convention which is filled with all sorts of wild adventure for both Zak and Ana. It brought back memories of the science fiction conventions I have attended filled with oddly dressed characters, geeks of all descriptions, movies, gaming tournaments, and even a vampire ball. This is a world where Zak fits in and Ana needs to depend on his expertise. They manage to stay one step behind Clayton while attracting a drug dealer and a number of people who would like to do either or both Zak and Ana harm.

I liked watching Zak and Ana learn more about each other and realize that the other had some valuable things to contribute. I liked the way both Ana and Zak changed after one very intense night at a science fiction convention.

Favorite Quote:
"Okay. When I was five I asked Santa for a puppy and got a Barbie instead. When I was eight, Nichole got a new bike and I had to ride her old one. Clayton has been pulling that cutesy Boy Wonder routine for years, and I'm sick of it. I have no real friends. I spent two months campaigning for a congressman who I thought was big into education and after he was elected, he votes to slash school funding. Nichole keeps telling me I'll develop, and here I am at eighteen and I'm only an A-cup. I'm not allowed to drive or even leave the house without an itinerary. Mr. Klein wrote me a letter or recommendation for college, but it was bland and noncommittal. I almost got arrested tonight, and you go off and karaoke, you butthead. It's raining. Everyone wants to spell my first name with two Ns. It's the twenty-first century and most of the world lives in poverty. And my brother is still missing.

I lay there, taking all this in.

"Just an A-cup? Really?"

I got this ARC from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

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