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…
Argh. This book started so promising and fun, but became more and more unbelievable.
Listen, Brian Katcher is an FYA-er, and I’ve been a huge fan of those reviews for years and years now. So I had high hopes for this book. I was thinking something like Ready Player One for the modern geek plus the thrilling fun of Quizbowl. I’ve been to a couple conventions in my time, and Clayton’s experience was fair. If Ana and Zak bonded through more low-key activities, I would have believed it. Instead, we got an insane wild goose chase, where hardly anyone displayed rational thought.
The romance went from insta-hate to near insta-love. I don’t think that trading sob stories can meaningfully bond people together. I also don’t think that one conversation (from either end) can neatly change years of issues in a relationship.
The teacher figure is also rather sadistic and unrealistic. I wouldn’t put my faith in some lazy slacker for such an important competition. It’s not fair to those who dedicated so much time and trained so much for the event.
Overall, this story was far-fetched and less fun than I hoped. It loaded up on action, to the point where events stopped being exciting and started becoming unfathomable.
- Paper Towns – John Green
- The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy – Kate Hattemer
- Solving for Ex – Leigh Ann Kopans
- Ready Player One – Ernest Cline