Friday, June 12, 2015

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


Title: The Improbably Theory of Ana and Zak

Author: Brian Katcher

Publication date: May 19, 2015

336 pages

View the full synopsis on Goodreads!

Ana Watson is well-behaved, a brilliant archer, a quiz bowl champ, and all-around perfect. She has to be, or her parents will make her regret it.  Zak Duquette? Not so much. A huge geek and spectacular slacker, Zak messes around so much he gets stuck on a quiz bowl trip with Ana and her brother Clayton to keep from failing his class. Zak raves about the sci-fi convention he’s missing, Washingcon, to anyone who will listen.  Clayton decides that the best way to spend the night before quiz bowl semifinals is to ditch Ana and go to Washingcon himself. Now Ana and Zak have to team up to find him before everyone else—including Ana’s mom—finds out.
This was a pleasant surprise, and I found myself enjoying it way more than I thought I would. The book moves at a break-neck pace and is a wild ride from start to finish. The best part for me was the convention itself. Katcher captures the nerdy enthusiasm of a con without being condescending, which I super appreciated. I also loved Ana’s reaction to it all, because while she’s confused and taken aback by the sheer strangeness (and angry Vikings), she’s not rude or judgmental, and manages to loosen up and have fun.

Both Ana and Zak are actually way more real and nuanced than their initial descriptions would imply. Zak manages to be goofy and utterly charming at the same time (even when he puts his foot in his mouth, which is often), and while his parental issues are a little less panic attack inducing than Ana’s, they’re still very real and present. Ana’s looming anxiety is palpable the longer the search for Clayton goes, but she adapts in hilarious ways to the brand new atmosphere of the sci-fi convention. Zak and Ana’s romance is adorable. The reader can see it all coming from a mile away, but they’re both so endearing that it’s still satisfying to watch unfold.

Overall, I give it a B. Read it and tell me what you think!


Want to place a hold on The Improbably Theory of Ana and Zak? Check it out on the CMRLS catalog!