September 2014, Text Publishing Company, 272 pages, Paperback, Review copy
Content: teen romance, health issues, humour, tissues needed
Summary from Amazon UK (I don't benefit by mentioning them)
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, always.
Any book which involves an alpaca farm is my kind of read ^o^ Zac and Mia's story intrigued me because I spent a lot of time in hospital when I was younger, and still have to visit a few times a year now. Being ill is no fun. It sucks to have a condition whose treatment makes you feel rough, as both Zac and Mia experience. The way they communicate is unique and made me smile. It was heartwarming and heartbreaking to see how they each dealt with the varying emotions involved with life changing diseases. They didn't always turn to each other for support, or to other people, but friends and family were there at the cruicial times.
There is some hospital humour which readers who have experienced life in hospital will be able to relate to (the food, although I still remember the ice cream being delicious!). I never experienced isolation, which added a separate layer of emotions for Zac to deal with, which he tried to help Mia with although for a while she was far from receptive to his offer of advice. Their communication methods were inventive and made me smile whenever they happened. I was unable to guess what direction the story would take, so I was surprised at how some events turned out.
It's not a super happy go lucky read, as deep emotions are explored and there's uncertainty of whether Zac and Mia will survive their treatment, but it's a book to make readers think about love, to appreciate what good health they have, to share understanding if they've experienced something similar, provide thinking points on various aspects of life. It'll make you live life to the full if you aren't already doing so!
Find out more on A J Betts' website.