Published May 19th by Katherine Tegen Books
My ThoughtsThe 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…
As someone who considers going to San Diego Comic Con as one of the major items on my bucket list, I was obviously extremely excited when I read the synopsis for The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak. Unfortunately, my excitement waded as I kept reading and the overall experience with the book was mostly "meh" rather than "awesome", which is what I expected it to be.
Ana and Zak are complete opposites in many ways, or at least that is how they see it. Zak is intelligent, but also bit a slacker, which means that his smarts are often clouded by his slacker lifestyle and easy sense of humor. Ana is the straight A girl every single high school drama has - uptight, goody goody and a bit annoying. When Zak is forced to skip his favorite convention to attend a quiz bowl with Ana and the rest of the team, he feels like he is made to skip Christmas. But then Ana's younger brother Clayton ditches the hotel during a free night at the quiz bowl trip and goes to the convention. Ana and Zak need to find him, which means that they need to delve into the world of the convention, the world of geeks.
Geek. Nerd. Geeky. Nerdy. Whichever way you want to put it, I am it. And I am proud of it. Because of that, one of the main issues that caused problems for me with this book was Ana's attitude towards the Con and the people that attend it. It feels like she pretty much believes every single guy who's there will end up being over weight and miserable. And that every girl there is just kind of weird in general. She is a geek/nerd herself, just in a different way, so I couldn't really understand what her issue was with the convention. Yeah, she does not fit in, but hey, she could try.
Zak is an alright character, but to be honest, I probably won't remember much about him in a couple of days time. All in all, my impression of the characters was left a bit flat - I did not hate them, but I did not like them either. I must admit that towards the end of the novel, when things start to get pretty ridiculous (there's for example fighting and guns involved), I skimmed a little. I wanted to see what happens in the end, but at the same time I did not want to spend too much time to reach that end.
Katcher attempts to touch on issues of family and relationships (Ana's estranged sister, Zak's father and stepfather), but unfortunately those story lines feel slightly unnecessary and underdeveloped. Maybe if the characters would have been more extensively developed those story lines would have left a bigger impression.
All in all, The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak was bit of a disappointment. It did not anger me or make me regret reading it, but at the same time, it did not really leave any kind of impression on me.