Book Title:
The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak
Book Author:
Brian Katcher
Publishing Date:
May 19, 2015
Katherine Tegen Books
Date Read:
July 10, 2015


The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak is Stonewall Book Award-winning author Brian Katcher’s hilarious he said/she said romance about two teens recovering from heartbreak and discovering themselves on an out-of-this-world accidental first date. It all begins when Ana Watson's little brother, Clayton, secretly ditches the quiz bowl semifinals to go to the Washingcon sci-fi convention on what should have been a normal, résumé-building school trip. If slacker Zak Duquette hadn't talked up the geek fan fest so much, maybe Clayton wouldn't have broken nearly every school rule or jeopardized Ana’s last shot at freedom from her uptight parents. Now, teaming up with Duquette is the only way for Ana to chase down Clayton in the sea of orcs, zombies, bikini-clad princesses, Trekkies, and Smurfs. After all, one does not simply walk into Washingcon. But in spite of Zak's devil-may-care attitude, he has his own reasons for being as lost as Ana-and Ana may have more in common with him than she thinks. Ana and Zak certainly don’t expect the long crazy night, which begins as a nerdfighter manhunt, to transform into so much more…

My Review

This book was such a delight.  It was adorable.  It was nerdy.  It was one of those wonderful books that was a great example of how fun that young adult fiction can be.

And trust me, this book is a lot of fun.

I think I read this one in less than a day.  I really couldn’t put it down.  I was so excited to see what was going to happen next that I just kept reading.

The book is told in the alternating voices of both Ana and Zak, and the author does a spectacular job of writing both characters.  Unlike some books which have multiple narrators, you can easily tell which character is currently telling the story (I’ve read so many books where it’s almost impossible to tell one character from the other, and it gets so frustrating).  Ana and Zak have such different personalities, and they are both very interesting, and easy to connect to.  The story unfolds a bit slowly, and it really leaves you wondering what happened to both Ana and Zak to make them who they are when the story begins (and you do find out, but I’m not spoiling that for you).

The book starts off with Ana and Zak meeting in library, where Zak is playing a game with his friends.  He’s a bit nerdy (okay, quite a bit nerdy), and Ana isn’t interested in Zak trying to talk to her.  She’s late for archery, and her parents are incredibly strict, making it impossible for her to have friends or go on dates (or really do much of anything after school).  She’s working hard to get into a college, including being captain of the school’s Quiz Bowl team.  Zak, on the other hand, is perfectly happy to slide through school, and doesn’t make many plans for his future.  The only thing he finds himself getting excited about is the once a year Washingcon, a convention for science fiction fans, but to his dismay, he can’t do this year, because he is failing health and the only way to graduate and make up the grade is to be an alternate for the Quiz Bowl tournament (which is the same weekend as Washingcon).  Sounds annoying, but easy enough, right?  You would think.  And everything is going well…as well as can be expected, for Zak anyway, who would much rather be at the convention.

Things take quite the interesting turn when Ana’s younger brother, Clayton (who is also on the team), takes off to check out Washingcon for himself, and Ana and Zak team up to find him before they all get into trouble for not being back at the hotel for curfew.  A lot of crazy things happen to Ana and Zak while looking for Clayton, including (unexpectedly) the chance at finding friendship and maybe even love.

This book has an incredibly quirky cast of characters and is such a treat!  It is told over the span of one weekend (mostly over one night and through the next day), and is unlike any other books I’ve read.  It made me laugh more often than not, and there were also parts that were really touching.  I fell in love with Ana and Zak and their crazy adventures from page one, and it has easily become a favorite!

Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

5 stars
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2 Responses to The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak by Brian Katcher

  1. Great review Kelly. I love books with nerdy characters (as I’m a nerd myself).

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