fiction · young adult

Zen and Xander Undone by Amy Kathleen Ryan

“Zen and Xander Undone”

Author: Amy Kathleen Ryan

Pages [hardcover]: 212

Available Now

Opening Lines:
My sister, Xander, causes a scandal practically everywhere she goes. Even funeral receptions, I now know.

Favorite Character: Zen


Zen and Xander are sisters—truly, madly, deeply sisters, and this is their last summer together.

Zen is the “good” girl with a black belt in karate and a newfound penchant for kicking heads. Xander is a wild scientific genius with a self-destructive streak a light-year long. They have three things in common: they’re brown-eyed blondes, they’ve noticed the boy next door has turned into a hottie, and they miss their mom, who died almost a year ago.These sisters are surviving just fine—except Zen keeps getting into fights that are harder and harder to finish, while Xander spirals into a vortex of late-night parties, scary men, and drugs. What’s worse, Xander has scholarships to the most coveted universities in the country, but she’s about to ruin everything. Should Zen keep trying to protect Xander, or finally let her go?


I really liked this book. When I recieved it for review I wasn’t really sure how interesting it was going to be. The names of the characters were nice and unique-how many Zens or Xanders can you think of? The two sisters fought as any sisters would, and loved each other underneath the outward tension exactly like siblings do. They were portrayed perfectly.
Xander’s volatile nature drags the plot along, and if it weren’t for her, there would not be much of a story. It is she that wants to find out about her mom’s past and insists on getting involved with the wrong sort of people. Zen is sort of just along for the ride, but fighting to get off and take her sister off with her.
There was something about this book that was missing. I can’t say what exactly, but it was lacking a little…Oomph. The extra bit that would make it amazingly memorable. As is, it’s better than average.
‘Zen and Xander Undone’ gets 4/5 stars. I definitely recommend you read it.

Warnings: Drugs, adult content


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