Title: The Improbable Theory Of Ana And Zak
Author: Brian Katcher
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
First published: May 19th 2015
Finished reading: May 5th 2016
Pages: 336
Rating 3,5qqq

“Everyone thinks they’re the only one who’s ever been hurt.”


I was looking for a light read to cheer me up a little and while browsing my TBR shelves this novel by Brian Katcher caught my eye. The description of this book said that it was supposed to be a funny story and the fact that it combines quiz bowl semifinals with a sci-fi convention sounded deliciously nerdy and just what I needed. And while I can’t say it was the perfect story, it did manage to bring a smile to my face. The chapters in The Improbable Theory Of Ana And Zak alternate between the two main characters. Zak Duquette is basically the perfect awkward, geeky and funny sci-fi convention fan and probably the main reason this story just works. Ana Watson on the other hand I didn’t really care for; she was actually quite annoying at points and the fact that her parents are so strict is not a valid excuse to be behaving the way she did. Also, she is making what happened to her sister sound a lot worse than it actually is (spoiler: I actually thought she died first). In short, she is main reason I lowered the rating. Her little brother Clayton is a genius though, and I think both he and Zak are my favorite characters of the bunch. And even though some of the story might feel a bit cliche, the crazy things that happen during their night at the Washingcon sci-fi convention are without doubt very entertaining to read about. Recommended to fans of the genre and those who like a ‘nerdy’ main character and/or a whole lot of sci-fi references.


Ever since her sister was kicked out of her house, Ana Watson has been trying to be the perfect daughter so her parents don’t have a reason to complain. They control every move she makes, but the quiz bowl semifinals give her a little room to breathe as long as she looks after her little brother Clayton. But things don’t go as planned… And she believes it’s all Zak’s fault. Zak Duquette was given an ultimatum: participating the quiz bowl semifinals or failing health class and not graduating this year. The worst part: the semifinals are the same weekend as the Washingcon sci-fi convention, the one event that Zak is looking forward to every year. On their way to the semifinals, Zak tells all about his adventures during previous conventions… And without knowing he convinced Clayton to ditch the quiz bowl semifinals and go to the Washingcon by himself. Ana has no choice but to break the rules as well and find her brother before her teacher and parents find out he is missing… And Zak promises her he will help, especially since he knows a lot about the convention in the first place. He is risking his chance to graduate this year, but tries to chase down Clayton anyway in the sea of sci-fi convention visitors. Will they find Clayton on time?


I’m not a big sci-fi fan and I’ve probably missed/misunderstood a few references here and there, but that doesn’t take away that the Washingcon sci-fi convention definitely is what makes this story into something original. The Improbable Theory Of Ana And Zak is fast-paced with a prose that is easy to read and will probably bring a smile to your face. I personally wasn’t a fan of Ana’s character, but Zak and Clayton mostly made up for it and saved the story. In short, this novel is a quick and entertaining read and definitely worth trying.