Book Review: Zac and Mia – A. J. Betts


Title: Zac and Mia (2013)
Author: A. J. Betts
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Extent: 310 pages
Release Date: July 24, 2013
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Goodreads Description

“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.


Plenty of people compared this to John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. I didn’t really get that feel, but I could certainly see the similarities: two kids with cancer fall in love. The characters and personalities in Zac and Mia are different, though, so I’d say the story is quite different.

Continue reading

Book Review: The Yearbook Committee – Sarah Ayoub


Title: The Yearbook Committee (2016)
Author: Sarah Ayoub
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Extent: 330 pages
Release Date: March 1, 2016
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Goodreads Description

The school captain: Ryan has it all… or at least he did, until an accident snatched his dreams away. How will he rebuild his life and what does the future hold for him now?

The newcomer: Charlie’s just moved interstate and she’s determined not to fit in. She’s just biding her time until Year 12 is over and she can head back to her real life and her real friends…

The loner: At school, nobody really notices Matty. But at home, Matty is everything. He’s been single-handedly holding things together since his mum’s breakdown, and he’s never felt so alone.

The popular girl: Well, the popular girl’s best friend… cool by association. Tammi’s always bowed to peer pressure, but when the expectations become too much to handle, will she finally stand up for herself?

The politician’s daughter: Gillian’s dad is one of the most recognisable people in the state and she’s learning the hard way that life in the spotlight comes at a very heavy price.

Five unlikely teammates thrust together against their will. Can they find a way to make their final year a memorable one or will their differences tear their world apart?


The blurb of The Yearbook Committee reminds me of The Breakfast Club — essentially five students from different cliques forced to spend some time together and then later become friends. It also reminds me of Riley Redgate’s Seven Ways We Lie, which is a really great example of how multiple perspectives can add to a story. This book, however, is a little shakier, a little more confused, and overall weaker than those two titles.

Continue reading

Book Review: Life in Outer Space – Melissa Keil


Title: Life in Outer Space (2013)
Author: Melissa Keil
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Extent: 305 pages
Release Date: February 1, 2013
Rating: ★★★★☆

Goodreads Description

Sam Kinnison is a geek, and he’s totally fine with that. He has his horror movies, his nerdy friends, World of Warcraft – and until Princess Leia turns up in his bedroom, he doesn’t have to worry about girls.

Then Sam meets Camilla. She’s beautiful, friendly and completely irrelevant to his life. Sam is determined to ignore her, except that Camilla has a life of her own – and she’s decided that he’s going to be part of it.

Sam believes that everything he needs to know he can learn from the movies … but now it looks like he’s been watching the wrong ones.


How do I begin to review Life in Outer Space? The first thing you need to know, I guess, is that this book is more about the simple things in life. If you take a teenage boy and ask him to genuinely write a diary about his day-to-day life, Life in Outer Space would probably be quite close to it. This is not to say that the book is boring, not at all — in fact, it’s actually funny, relatable, and geeky in the best possible way.

Continue reading