book review

Review: The Improbable Theory of Zak and Ana (or was it Ana and Zak?)

Title: The Improbable Theory of Zak and Ana (nope, just checked, it’s Ana and Zak)

Author: Brian Katcher

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Themes: craziness, making friends, desperate hunts, quiz competitions, nerdiness, suspension of disbelief

Similar books/characters: Good Enough (by Paula Yoo)DSC03082

My Blurb: All Zak wants is to graduate, go to community college, and get a tech job while doing nerdy stuff with his friends in his free time. Ana’s a high achiever: top of her class, captain of the quiz bowl team, archer, devoted daughter. But is this really what she wants, or does she feel forced to do this? When Zak’s threatened with failing health (and consequently not graduating) on the grounds of a plagiarised paper, his only way out is to join the quiz bowl team, who need and alternate. Easy, right? No. Zak’s favourite convention, Washingcon, is the weekend of the tournament. Set over the course of 24 hours, Ana and Zak’s lives are changed by a desperate search for Ana’s younger brother,  some crazy fanboys (and girls) and a lot more dram than they could have ever expected.

What I liked: Even though they got together quite fast, I really liked Ana and Zak’s relationship and the way it was written. I also liked the characters: again, over a short period the character development was feasible. The setting (mainly Washingcon) was hilarious, and all the side characters were just well written. There was plenty of humour and drama to spare.  The writing was brief and easy to read, and the dialogue was especially good. I appreciated the balance between serious scenes and funny, crazy ones.

What I disliked: My biggest problem was suspension of disbelief. Contemporaries are supposed to be realistic, right? This one really wasn’t at all. There was this one particular scene (no spoilers) where Zak decided he was going to die, but it was super obvious from the tone of the book and the aggressor that he wasn’t. And how crazy do fanboys and girls get? The main point of the plot was simply ridiculous.  Also, some of the descriptions in the action scenes really confused me, (i.e, I was like , wait, how did he get an arrow? Or, Why is zak halfway across the room). Additionally, Ana spends the whole novel in fear of her parents while Zak is very resentful to Roger, his stepfather. The scenes at the end of the novel with Ana’s mother and Roger seemed, again, a little infeasible(is that a word). Also, I was disappointed by the somewhat realistic, compared to the rest of the novel, ending to the quiz competition.


Plot: 3/5


Feasibility: 1/5

Characters: 4/5

Ending: 4/5

Total: (This isn’t an average, just my opinion) 3/5

Have you read this? What do you think about hard to believe contemporaries? How was your weekend?



6 thoughts on “Review: The Improbable Theory of Zak and Ana (or was it Ana and Zak?)

  1. Oh, hum, ha, I don’t know if I’m going to read this one. Like, contemporary isn’t my favourite BUT I DO LIKE IT. It just has to be a good contemporary for me. *nods* And the whole suspension-of-disbelief thing drives me nuuuuts. I hate it when books do that! If one is going to be a contemporary — BE A CONTEMPORARY.
    hehe. I am very passionate about this. xD
    But still great review OF COURSE.


    1. Thanks Cait! I think I actually do enjoy contemporary (like it’s my favourite) but in this book I was like ‘wait. Wait. WHAT”S happening?’ and then ‘yeah. no. that;s not possible. I would suggest giving this a miss.


  2. Really great review. You rated this the same as I did, although I am still working on my review. I really enjoyed it in the beginning and like the growing friendship between Ana & Zak. But I thought it got soooo ridiculous and unbelievable by the end that I found it really hard to enjoy it.


  3. You’re definitely not alone in your thoughts on this! I remember my co-blogger reading and reviewing this one and not liking it that much at all, mainly because of how some things didn’t seem to make sense. I have no plans to read it either since it seems to be all over the place :/

    Faye at The Social Potato


    1. Yes, well I can see why you might want to give this ones miss. But despite this, I do think there were some good aspects to this book, so if you were stuck on a desert island with only this to read, I wouldn’t avoid it entirely. You have a co blogger? Since when?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s