Author: Brian Katcher
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: May 19, 2015
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Told: First Person Duo (Zak & Ana), Present Tense
Content Rating: Teen (language, violence)
Format Read: ARC (trade)
Find On: Goodreads
Purchase On: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
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…
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In a Sentence: A fun and funny contemporary romance that made me laugh and satisfied my con fix.
Before you pick up this book, I think there are two things you should know:
1: Suspension of disbelief is a must. The word "improbable" is in the title for a reason - this story reads like a zany and rather unrealistic teen romance movie, entertainment purely for its sake, and should therefore not be taken too seriously. This was one of the few instances when I felt lucky to have skimmed the reviews before picking it up, because based on the realism disappointments of others I went into The Improbable Theory of Ana & Zak with a complete suspension of disbelief and expected nothing more than a light, fun read.
And a light, fun read was exactly what I got with this quick and funny story about a veteran attendee and disgruntled newbie at a sci-fi convention who get into one bad and usually improbable situation after another that begin with mistaken identity and rash judgment and spiral all the way into criminal confrontation as they desperately search for an escaped brother. While the situations could be a bit over the top though, the characters were realistic and flawed and relatable. Some readers may dislike Ana's attitude, but considering her circumstances I could understand where it came from. And Zak seemed a slacker, but he just hadn't found his motivation yet. Both learn and grow for the better by the end.
2: This book will probably mainly appeal to sci-fi/fantasy/comic-book convention attendees. It's rife with inside jokes and comments, and even though I've attended many cons over the years I still didn't get all of them. But I usually stick to the dealer's room and a few must-see panels and have yet to stay past dinner (health issues) so I wasn't surprised. Needless to say, this exploration into all the stuff I usually miss out on was fun and crazy and really made the book for me. But for someone who hasn't set foot in a con, I could see this being a somewhat confusing and eyebrow-raising read.
Note to Guys: Just in case it might, don't let the romance element put you off - it's very mild, and I really think guys would enjoy this book just as much as girls! It's told from both Zak and Ana's point of views, and in my opinion the arrow on the cover really should've been shot from Zak, not Ana. ;)
Conclusion: A quick and comical story that I recommend to con lovers looking for a fun read. I powered through it in two days, which means for many it should prove an excellent summer afternoon read. Will definitely be giving Brian Katcher's other works a look!
For Fans Of: sci-fi/fantasy/comic conventions