Zac & Mia by A.J. Betts

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A tale of hope and despair in equal measures.
Zac is trapped in his bubble of medical loneliness, his day-to-day tedious routine and his constant deliberation of statistics. What are the odds, what are his odds? The only contact he has to the outside world are nurses, doctors, his family and other patients in similar situations. All on the same treatment ward, some with one way tickets and others holding on to a smidgen of hope.

This is where he meets Mia, a young girl trying to come to terms with her own diagnosis. She is in complete denial and is coping by pretending it isn’t really happening. This, and the medical decisions her parent has to make, has caused a breach between Mia and her mother.

Mia places the blame firmly on the shoulders of her mother, because of the drastic decisions she has had to make in the course of the treatment. She follows the path of least resistance and runs away from her problems, her family and her medical care.

Zac and Mia become close, mainly because they share a bond, a connection or perhaps just an understanding between two young people in the same dire situation. When Mia does finally accept the reality of her illness she turns away from Zac. Unfortunately the bond between them becomes strained and threatens to tear. This pushes Zac further into a black cloud of despair, which is always hanging over him since he became ill, but this time it’s different.

This is a sweet little story about love and friendship blossoming in the middle of a difficult time for two very young people. Although I felt at first that the ending was a little insipid, after more thought I appreciate the fact the author didn’t opt for a dramatic ending, but rather for an open and more realistic one.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.

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