“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.
At nearly 18, Zac is too old for the pediatric oncology ward, but far younger than the rest of the patients in the adult ward. So when a teenage girl turns up next door, it's a big deal. Outside the hospital, beautiful Mia would never have noticed Zac, but not only does Zac know the ward, he also knows cancer's existential terrors and daily discomforts. The two start by tapping on their shared wall, move to Facebook conversations, and eventually meet. Aside from its Australian setting (Zac's family runs an olive farm/petting zoo that's conveniently on Mia's bus route when she runs away), this is familiar territory. 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. Mia's odds may be better than Zac's are (Zac knows: he's Googled it), but in the end, both are better off for having taken a chance on the other. Ages 14 up.
Customer ReviewsSee All
This is the story of two teens going through cancer treatment. They have all of the usual issues with relationships, self-image and everything else that comes at that difficult age. Plus, they have cancer and treatments. It’s very relatable even to an adult or someone without a major illness. Readers nearing adulthood are the best audience probably, but I really liked it.
I loved this book and I watched the tv series right after and it really wasn’t as good as the book and this is a great example of how books are way better
Best book ever!
I can't ever put this book down! Best book I've read in a while.