A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
A few phrases in German and French, not translated. A character in The Count of Monte Cristo explained. Some quiz-bowl questions and answers.
Live your own life, make your own decisions, stand up for yourself.
Positive Role Models
Ana and Zak both have their own imperfections. Both mature into people better prepared to face the challenges of adulthood by opening themselves to new experiences and seeing things from others' perspectives.
Violence & Scariness
Punching, kicking, face-slapping, and being crushed briefly described, sometimes for comedic effect; pain briefly described; blood mentioned but not described in detail; some melee-style fighting with fake weapons causes injuries. Bad guy threatens with a gun.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A couple of kisses; some hand-holding. Teen pregnancy mentioned several times.
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"Crap," "prick," "damn," "hell," "smeggin'," "ass," "a--hole," "butt," "shit," "pissy," "bitch," "screwed," "sucks," "slut," "balls," "son of a bitch."
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Products & Purchases
Many sci-fi, comic book, video game, board game, and movie quotes and references to create mood or establish character. Denny's.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Shooting heroin as health-class topic. Bongs for sale mentioned. Past pot smoking (and not liking it) mentioned. Found backpack has white powder in a baggie. One bad guy is a drug dealer. Sci-fi/comic convention has lax policy about serving beer. Stench of alcohol mentioned. Several mentions of smoking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Improbable Theory of Ana & Zak is an opposites-attract teen romance from veteran YA author and school librarian Brian Katcher. Mild sexual content includes hand-holding and a few kisses with no detailed descriptions. There's some fighting with punches, kicks, slaps, and resulting pain briefly described with some mentions of blood. Teens use some strong language including "s--t" and "ass." Drinking and smoking get a few brief mentions, but neither protagonist does either. A bad guy is a drug dealer, and white powder in a baggie is mentioned as probably being cocaine or heroin.
Is It Any Good?
Heavy on romcom clichés, from the opposites-attract protagonists to the utterly predictable plot points, this sometimes feels more like a screenplay treatment than a novel. Even so, Ana and Zak are quirky, funny characters teens will relate to, and romance fans especially will enjoy their madcap adventure through a Seattle comic-con and into each other's hearts.
THE IMPROBABLE THEORY OF ANA & ZAK alternates narration between the protagonists and creates two likable, believable characters. The zaniness of the comic convention is vividly captured and studded with equally quirky and interesting minor characters. The plot, despite the predictability, moves at a good pace and keeps the laughs coming. Teens and romance fans will enjoy this light, fun read.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.