Book review: The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak

19 Jul

the improbable theory of ana and zakPerfect for fans of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight,The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak is Stonewall Award-winning author Brian Katcher’s hilarious he said/she said romance about two teens discovering themselves on an out-of-this-world accidental first date at a sci-fi convention.

When Ana Watson’s brother ditches a high school trip to run wild at Washingcon, type-A Ana knows that she must find him or risk her last shot at freedom from her extra-controlling parents.

In her desperation, she’s forced to enlist the last person she’d ever want to spend time with—slacker Zak Duquette—to help find her brother before morning comes.

But over the course of the night, while being chased by hordes of costumed Vikings and zombies, Ana and Zak begin to open up to each other. Soon, what starts as the most insane nerdfighter manhunt transforms into so much more …

Ana and Zak are like chalk and cheese or that’s what we’re led to believe at the start of this fun, funny and quirky novel by Brian Katcher. We all know opposites attract but Ana and Zak really do seem to come from different planets. Zak; slacker, gamer, geek. Ana; achiever, striver, focussed. But what The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zac teaches us is that no matter where you come from or where you’d like to go there is probably more common ground than you think and first impressions are almost never what they seem!

This is a fast and furious adventure through a Comic Con type event combined with a sweet romance and a fab twist in the traditional coming of age story. I’m sure I missed some  (many!) of the references as Ana’s little brother runs off for a bit of fun at Washingcon whilst the siblings and fellow classmates are supposed to be tucked up safely in a hotel preparing for the final of their regional schools quiz. But there were plenty of references that I ‘got’ and with nods to The Hunger Games, Star Wars, Star Trek and many more, Ana and Zak is an engaging testimony to much loved popular culture.

Partly tongue in cheek, The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak isn’t afraid to laugh at itself but also makes a series of important points about growing up, dealing with family changes, personal changes, grief, bereavement and first love. I loved the variety that the convention backdrop gave to the scene setting in the book and with everything from an amazing intergalactic wedding, a vampire ball to a brutal battle, the book is excellently paced. It’s also a really fun adventure and whilst nothing is unbelievable, there is a sense of the surreal and that anything can and probably will happen!

Ana and Zac and their supporting cast are all great characters. I loved how comfortable Zak was in his own skin – especially while he was in his favourite place. For me, Ana was the more complex of the two in the sense that her back story was more complicated and she was thrown into a situation that she had no knowledge or experience of and a lot to lose. For these reasons I had great admiration for her even if she wasn’t particularly nice to poor Zak in the beginning!

A great read, ideal for fans of The Big Bang Theory and the novels of Rainbow Rowell.


The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak is out now in paperback and ebook formats from Harper 360.

I’d like to thank the publisher for providing a review copy of this book.

Find out more about Brian Katcher and his writing at:

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