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The last person Zac expects in the room next door is a girl like Mia, angry and feisty with questionable taste in music. In the real world, he wouldn’t—couldn’t—be friends with her. In hospital different rules apply, and what begins as a knock on the wall leads to a note—then a friendship neither of them sees coming.
You need courage to be in hospital; different courage to be back in the real world. In one of these worlds Zac needs Mia. And in the other Mia needs Zac. Or maybe they both need each other, always.
‘Zac and Mia are unforgettable—they put hooks into my heart that are still there. Be warned: if you pick up this book, you won’t want to put it down.’
‘Warm and uplifting.’
‘There is a great sense of warmth and humour in this story, which will appeal to both YA and adult readers…A stand-out novel for 2013.’
‘Above average in this burgeoning subgenre; it’s the healing powers of friendship, love and family that make this funny-yet-philosophical tale of brutal teen illness stand out.’
‘Betts portrays cancer as hard, scary, and isolating, but beatable—or at least bearable—if one isn’t facing it alone, and her depiction of a boy trying to hold onto normal life and a girl realizing she can’t keep hers from changing has power.’
‘Zac & Mia holds its own as a smart, well-crafted story about the importance of friendship and feeling understood.’ starred review
‘I think you have to be brave to write a book like this. To write it without overt, condescending sympathy. And to be brave enough to write the moments that are funny, or grotty, or filled with rage, alongside those that are brave and heroic. It’s a book that is well deserving of a prize, and is likely to win many more.’
‘For communicating the day-to-day mundane madness of cancer, Betts deserves high praise…Another triumph for the Text Prize, A. J. Betts is in good company and Zac and Mia is another great read.’
‘[Zac & Mia] is an outstanding novel about the stuff of life that really matters. There will be laughter, there will be tears, some of which will be for the truly amazing Zac and Mia and all their real life counterparts. Most of all there will be joy. You will not want to put this book down once you start to read it.’
‘Zac & Mia by A.J. Betts is a beautifully written story from dual perspectives…A warm-hearted story and two unforgettable characters.’
‘I found Zac & Mia to be a compelling story with characters that I truly cared about by the end of the novel…confronting and heartbreaking at times, but it is also comforting and moving, a beautifully written portrait of our basic human need to connect. It’s a story that I’m glad I had the opportunity to read and one that I’m sure will linger with me for some time.’
‘The strength of Betts novel is how well she gets inside her character’s head…her characters felt real – her dialogue is spot-on, the supporting characters truly shine in their own ways, and Zac and Mia’s perspectives ring unique and true. Everything feels raw and real, completely grounded.‘
‘The writing was close to perfect. A. J. Betts effortlessly created a story, while daringly similar to John Green’s, still equally fascinating and touching.’
‘If you are after a book filled with hope and heart I recommend Zac & Mia.’
‘A.J.Betts has painted Zac and Mia with strong colours. I was drawn into their lives. I felt their anger, injustice and pain. I empathised with both families. I admired the courage, the honesty and the sense of hope. But I also laughed at the humour and cheered for the successes. These two characters will stay in my heart.’
‘Funny, graceful and full of heart. You can whip through it in a day or two and it feels like you’ve lived a whole life.’
‘Zac and Mia is billed as a young adult title, but this old adult read AJ Bett’s debut novel in one sitting.’
‘It is a deeply affecting (but never sentimental), dramatic and sparklingly told story, with universal interest and appeal. Betts’ ability to capture and sustain the voices of these two fragile teenagers is remarkable as is her facility with snappy, authentic, convincing dialogue.’