The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak by Brian Katcher

Title: The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak
Author: Brian Katcher
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: May 19, 2015
Source: eARC received from Publisher in exchange for an honest review (thanks Harper!)

Summary from Goodreads:
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…


The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak was a really cute book that takes place over the course of approximately 24 hours at a Sci-FI convention. Ana's brother takes off during an overnight school trip and fearing the wrath of her parents, Ana goes to find him and bring him back before any adults discover that they are gone. Zak, who is slightly crushing on Ana, and practically grew up attending this conference, offers to accompany her. But naturally everything that could possibly go wrong does and they embark on one hell of a (surprisingly dangerous) adventure.

What was interesting to watch was how Ana and Zak slowly break their misconceptions of each other and go from barely acquaintances to something more than friends. Ana is this straight-edge, uptight, and slightly aloof, girl while Zak is this care-free, always-joking, slacker. They couldn't be more different but after they spend more time together, they learn what each person is hiding beneath the surface. And it was a surprising discovery for each of them. I enjoyed this whole "we are more than what we show others" theme and I thought they were adorable together.

There's also a little bit of depth to the story as both Ana and Zak had to confront something that was bothering them. Ana was living her life in fear of making a mistake and being cast out of her family like her older sister, meanwhile, Zak channeled his grief over losing his dad into hate for his new stepfather. The convention was just enough crazy to cause them both to say 'the hell with it' and speak their mind.

Also, being the geek I am, I enjoyed the geekiness of the Sci Fi convention backdrop and all the oddball secondary characters that went with it.

But calling this book 'cute' and 'energetic' and 'genuine' are about the best I can do. It was an easy  and amiable read but at the end of the day it just didn't do a whole lot for me. In my opinion, I think it will be better suited for a younger audience.
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