Book Review: Zac and Mia

This book will not follow my usual review format because this one is a special case.

Have you ever wanted to read a book so badly… and be devastatingly disappointed? Well, it just happened to me. And I am one sad fangirl.

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20256715Title: Zac and Mia

Author: A. J. Betts

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction

Date Published: 24th of July 2013

Series: None

Publisher: Text Publishing

Source: Paperback, bought from Fully Booked

Summary:

The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this tough and tender young adult novel that’s a lot about love (and a little about cancer).

“When I was little I believed in Jesus and Santa, spontaneous combustion, and the Loch Ness monster. Now I believe in science, statistics, and antibiotics.” So says seventeen-year-old Zac Meier during a long, grueling leukemia treatment in Perth, Australia. A loud blast of Lady Gaga alerts him to the presence of Mia, the angry, not-at-all-stoic cancer patient in the room next door. Once released, the two near-strangers can’t forget each other, even as they desperately try to resume normal lives. The story of their mysterious connection drives this unflinchingly tough, tender novel told in two voices.

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There was something off. Flying through the book felt like a breeze, but it was a hot steam kind of breeze. The book has the fair share of pros and cons, which I will gladly lay down.

Pros: It discussed a heavy topic in a lighter mood. Hard-hitting illnesses such as cancer is messy to deal with, if not done properly. Yet this book managed to deliver it in a manner where it’s targeted audience could understand it, and it still leaves room for further research. The writing was made for young adults to learn something, and it is commendable that the author has shed more light unto such topic.

Cons: There is too much angst. This comes in the form of Mia, one of the main characters. Depending on the reader, her attitude will probably be on a hit or miss basis. There was so much hate that I could not stand while reading. It pains me to say that the anger is normal, but it can be frustrating.

Pros: The family that sticks together. This comes in the form of Zac’s family (and Mia’s, in the latter part). His family is downright supportive, especially his mom and his sister. The story has other characters who talk about the realities of the world, and it built up this “Everything is okay.” environment.

Cons: The unnecessary romance. It can be said that Zac and Mia are polar opposites, but the story could have centered more on a friendship aspect. I admit that I smiled when they had a cheesy moment. Yet it feels like something was off. One minute, it was bursting rage. Then in the next one, they say uplifting things sounds cute. But then you cut to Mia, who will suddenly burst your bubble. Zac is too nice, and he is a devoted friend. Mia on the other hand, is just angry.

Pros: The uplifting POV. This comes in the form of Zac. You get that he is having a bad time, as he weighs the chances. He is a character that will uplift and question at the same time, similar to that of Craig from It’s Kind of A Funny Story. The book started in his perspective, and I thought that it was going pretty well until;

Cons: The “I hate everything” POV. This comes in the form of Mia. Despite the message that Mia needs to learn how to love herself, it was painful to read rage. It went downhill from there.

Zac and Mia is a beautiful book full of aspiring thoughts, a cast of characters that find themselves, and a beautiful setting. I am probably at fault for raising my bar too high because despite the beauty of the prose, it felt flat for me. It was an easy read, and it is digestible for such a heavy topic. But if I had to drag myself to finish it then sadly, this book is not for me.

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(Know more about my rating system here.)

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AJ

AJ Betts is an Australian author, speaker, teacher and cyclist. ZAC & MIA, her third novel for teenagers, won the 2012 Text Prize, the 2014 SCBWI Crystal Kite Award, and the 2014 Ethel Turner prize for young adults at the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards. Inspired by her work in a children’s hospital, ZAC & MIA is available in 14 countries. AJ’s other novels are WAVELENGTH and SHUTTERSPEED (both with Fremantle Press). She’s lived in Perth since 2004.

Connect with A.J. on her:

Facebook || Twitter || Official Website

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Book Haul #1

Book Haul

I finally did a book haul post everyone. After 3 months of figuring out how to budget for books, I guess I still failed. Hahaha. But the place where my books stand now looks so cool that I just cannot stop staring at it. I got most of these books from our local bookstores, mainly National Bookstore and Fully Booked. I also won a giveaway so the book I asked for will also be featured here.

These are all the books that I got in July-September.

July books:

Link to their Goodreads page:

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Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Both bought at National Bookstore

I did not get that many books last July because I just started then. And these are all bought on a whim.


August books:

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The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp

Althea and Oliver by Cristina Moracho

The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud

Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer

Bought at National Bookstore

I know. Some people are probably thinking why I bought Breaking Dawn. It’s because it is the only book that I don’t have in my Twilight collection. I actually bought both hardbacks because the National Bookstore near my place was selling books for practically $2. I could not resist it. Plus note: Breaking Dawn is signed.

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September books:

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The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets by Evan Roskos

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Every Day by David Levithan

I still don’t know if this will be the total books for September because as soon as I get my allowance, I’m saving some of it to buy books on the ongoing sale here. Well, I think this means that being a book blogger and buyer means that you’re somewhat a mathematician. My pile gets bigger every month. ❤

I would also like to Reyna for hosting a giveaway. The book I asked for was Dr. Bird’s because I don’t think they sell it here in the Philippines.


A total of 10 books? Woe are the days that I only get one book a year. Hooray. That’s a wrap everyone. So glad I did this now or else my October haul would have been a mess. Kidding.

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Book Review: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

I’m back! This is an overdue August review, since I wasn’t able to post after my wrap-up. All the reviewing for the midterms really made me miss my books. I kept on saying my midterm mantra and my lovely friends kept on banning me to buy books. I would’ve probably slipped if it wasn’t for them. But you’re not here to know what happened to me. You’re here for Leonard Peacock. 😀

Yep, I would definitely post more reviews for the Fangirl Corner. Giving more love to YA males.

I have been raving about this book for ages and I don’t know why but it seems so underrated. How come so few shelves have this beautiful creation?Title & Author: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

Genre:  Young Adult- Contemporary

Year Published: 2013

Series: None

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Source: Ebook and bought

Synopsis:

Today is Leonard Peacock’s birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather’s P-38 pistol.

But first he must say good-bye to the four people who matter most to him: his Humphrey Bogart-obsessed next-door neighbor, Walt; his classmate, Baback, a violin virtuoso; Lauren, the Christian homeschooler he has a crush on; and Herr Silverman, who teaches the high school’s class on the Holocaust. Speaking to each in turn, Leonard slowly reveals his secrets as the hours tick by and the moment of truth approaches.

In this riveting look at a day in the life of a disturbed teenage boy, acclaimed author Matthew Quick unflinchingly examines the impossible choices that must be made—and the light in us all that never goes out.

(via Goodreads)

So Leonard Peacock came on too strong. Big deal. In honesty, I saw this book on a Buzzfeed list as well. The same list that recommended books that can cure your TFIOS hangover (which also lead me to Me and Earl and the Dying Girl AND a lot more books.) But to be frank, and I hope I don’t burst your bubble and I am not complaining. Why is this book in that list?

I mean the book belongs on an entirely different list. Say, in a list where you can also find The Perks of Being A Wallflower, It’s Kind of A Funny Story, Suicide Notes and Dr. Bird’s Advice for Sad Poets. (Reviews for some of those books will be up soon.) Because it’s technically not a touching and fluffy romantic story, it’s a hauntingly beautiful tale of a teenager who needs help.

It’s just very… different. And I mean that in a good way. I immediately got hooked by the book because of Leonard’s actions. I wanted to know what will happen next because he just sounded so real. Like is he going to do it? Will he really   kill himself and his former best friend. It’s quite obvious that Leonard needs help, but what can one do when everyone just seems to be very… uber-moronic?

In a good sense, I can’t call Leonard a wallflower. But he sees things and understands them in a literal sense. It made more sense with the presents he wanted to leave before doing his business.  It is pretty obvious that Leonard does not have a lot of people around him because he is kind-off weird. Still, you can see how genuine he is when he talks about those 4 people that he left presents to.

Matthew Quick’s writing is undeniably good. I was on the edge when I read the book for the first time. He just made this wonderful peace of literature that screams uniqueness. I have never encountered a book that is “messed up” and exquisite. You sir, belong in the line of authors that I want to treasure forever. I just loved the book to bits.


Overall, my experience with this book is simply amazing. It opened my eyes to a lot of things going on around me, possibly in looking for a Leonard Peacock. I hope that they turn this book into a movie, soon. It will probably be one of those amazing films for teenagers. *Looking at you Channing Tatum*

I give this book 4.5 / 5 stars because it’s a gem that I would never want to let go.


P.S. Because of Leonard Peacock and Walt, I watched Humphrey Bogart’s movies. I suggest you watch his films now and it will be the best decision that you ever made. You can thank me and Leonard later.



			
		

The Harry Potter Tag

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Okay. It’s July 31st and I am sorry. I just don’t want to calm down about this. Harry Potter made me into who I am today and this tag will be at least my downpayment. I saw this tag from Maren @ The Worn Bookmark, Cristina @ My Tiny Obsessions, and Kimsiang @ LazyCaramelReads so I just had to do it. Deep deep down, I am a Pottergirl. So paying tribute to Harry Potter is what I do. (This is spoiler free, I guess? But don’t worry. Not really bomb spoilers, if I might add. Just in case you haven’t read Harry Potter. Saying it is overrated is not an excuse, love.)

Onto the tag we go!


1. Favorite book?

Definitely Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Even though the book has issues, I loved it to bits. Fun fact: Angry, jealous teenagers stare at me during recess because I have a hard-bound Book Six in my hands. Swag is on me.

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2. Favorite movie?

I will have to go with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. The magic started with that movie and I remember watching it as a 4 year old kid. It got me believing in wizards and witches until probably my last dying breath.

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3. Least favorite book?

Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix just didn’t float on my boat. Blame Dolores Umbridge. And them condemning Harry. You cruel people 😦

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4. What is your least favorite film?

Surprisingly, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I had nightmares because of the ending and their hair-dos in that movie. Only Fred and George looked adorable (and maybe Cedric Diggory.).

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5. Parts of the books/movies that make you cry?

The dying parts. All of it. Just all of it. Rest in peace dears. You will forever be honored and remembered for the sacrifices you made for us Muggle-borns / future wizards.

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6. If you could hook up with any character, who would it be?

I’ve had a crush on Harry Potter since I was 4. Teehee.

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7. Favorite character?

The one and only Hermione Granger. The person next to my mother who encouraged me to excel.

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8. Who is your least favorite character?

DOLORES FREAKIN UMBRIDGE. GOD I HATE HER SO MUCH MY RAGE IS EQUIVALENT OF THAT OF A FIRE ABLAZE. Oh and also Cho Chang.

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9. What is your least favorite line?

Something Mr. Lovegood said in the 7th book.

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10. What would your Patronus be?

Probably a rabbit. Idk.

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11. If you could have the Resurrection Stone, the Invisibility Cloak, or the Elder Wand, which one would you choose?

Everyone wants an invisibility cloak. Come on. 😀

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12. What House would you be in?

I am in no doubt, Ravenclaw. The house suites my personality and the house is like a haven to me. And yeah, I got sorted into Ravenclaw at Pottermore. Although out of the three tries, I ended up in Slytherin on the third try so…

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13. If you could meet any member of the cast, who would it be?

The big three. Because I would die instantly at the sight of them. They are practically my idols growing up.

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14. If you were on the Quidditch team, what position would you play?

I think I can be the Seeker. But I also want to be a beater, because it will calm my nerves.

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15. Were you happy with the ending?

Yes, it was a good ending. I love it as it is. Flaws and all (I am calling out to you movie.)

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16. How much does Harry Potter mean to you?

It means everything to me. I just owe everything to it. My love for reading, my fangirl-ishness. my undying crave for books (thanks Hermione), and my love for the cinema. I just cannot thank J.K. Rowling enough for being so wonderful.

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I grew up believing that an owl would be on our doorstep by August on the year of my 11th birthday. I was that faithful. It was fun to be kid when you have Harry Potter merchandise to play with. Needless to say, Harry Potter made my childhood more memorable than it actually is. The magic lives on.


If you haven’t read Harry Potter yet, I promise you that it is something heaven sent. I channeled the inner kid in me for this post (Hello this is the 4 year old me. Joke.).
And to all the other Potterheads out there, come on. Add me up on Pottermore already! Hahaha.

What are you waiting for? Come on and join the Potter parade. And you can also do this tag, too.

Stay cool people. 😀