Where was Zac when I was in high school? Okay, so he's a fictional character, and he lives on the other side of the planet, but still... He's funny, sweet, cares about others, athletic (when he's not having chemo or radiation treatments), works with wood to build furniture, and plays Clue with his mom. What's not to love? I loved the part of the book where he realizes a cute girl is in the hospital room next door and he sends his mom out to buy him a hat, so he can hide his bald, puffy head (treatments caused hair loss, plus steroids caused swelling). He tells her to get a cool hat like something Ryan Reynolds would wear. She comes back with a weird hat and says the guy at the store told her it was something Burt Reynolds would wear. Total generation gap miscommunication - and I could picture the horrified look on his face when he saw that weird hat. The contrast between Zac and Mia is impossible to miss. He's a laid back country fellow, happy to hang out with his mates and help around the family olive grove/petting farm. Mia is rebellious, beautiful, angry, playing loud music and screaming at her mother to go away. She's used to being a "hot" girl with a cool boyfriend (who wears cool hats), shopping and clubbing with her friends, and refuses to see that her cancer treatment is more important than the spring formal.
Over the course of the story you see how Zac and Mia influence each other and how they and their friendship change over time. This is a book for fans of Nicholas Sparks and John Green, or other writers whose books have you going through a box of tissues as you read - because you are alternating with laughing out loud and crying so hard that you can't see the pages. It shows the very true way that teens with cancer react to their situations and cope, or not, with everything that results from their diagnosis. But it also shows how you can find friends in even the most dismal circumstances of your life.
I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley. It was published September 2, 2014.