The last person Zac expects in the room next door is a girl like Mia, angry and feisty with questionable taste in music. In the real world, he wouldn’t—couldn’t—be friends with her. In hospital different rules apply, and what begins as a knock on the wall leads to a note—then a friendship neither of them sees coming.
You need courage to be in hospital; different
courage to be back in the real world. In one of these worlds Zac needs
Mia. And in the other Mia needs Zac. Or maybe they both need each other,
This was an unexpected pleasure - a random review request and some quick research led me to reading this and I'm really glad I gave it a chance. It was set in Australia, which is a first for me, but really interesting and something new; didn't actually come up much apart from a few references to joeys!
It centres around a tough topic, but one that is all around us. Praised as the new TFiOS, I was honestly hesitant to read it, I wasn't
sure I could handle another sad love story. However, while it was sad
and beautifully written like TFiOS, it wasn't much like it. It took
place during chemo and the very hard parts of recovery, showing us the vulnerable parts of the hospital and putting on a brave face for the family. It was written in three parts, moving across the characters' perspectives and stories, from Zac to Mia and how they interact and change for having met each other.
Mia was difficult to like, she was very prideful and vain about the effects of chemo and this made her angry and spiteful to Zac who was just trying to help her. I'm not sure it helped her first impression of blasting angry music so Zac had to thump the wall to shut her up. I did immediately warm to Zac; currently staying in the hospital as he recovers, he complains about his mother hovering and the nurse's way-too-personal questions. He was clearly used to the atmosphere of the hospital and was quite funny. As the story moved from him to her, we got to know more about Mia's background and why she was acting as she was.
I really liked this, and honestly I wasn't sure I would. It was refreshingly honest and funny and sweet and of course heartbreaking but very easy to read and get sucked into. Zac's family were all so supportive and loving and a little bit crazy, while Mia was having some issues with intimacy and made things worse by running away. Things got a little out of hand and then got worse and I was tearing up at the end! The ending wasn't exactly sad but not completely good either. I suppose it was also truthful, like the rest of the book, it ended with hope to beat the statistics.
Published 24th July 2013 by Text Publishing. Thank you to the publisher for my copy in exchange for an honest review.