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An Abundance of Katherines by John Green; Review

May 23, 2010

Title: An Abundance of Katherines

Author: John Green

Published: September 21, 2006

Number of Pages: 256

Rating: 4/5

Quote:

When it comes to girls (and in Colin’s case, it so often did), everyone has a type. Colin Singleton’s type was not physical but linguistic: he liked Katherines. And not Katies or Kats or Kitties or Cathys or Rynns or Trinas or Kays or Kates or, god forbid, Catherines. K-A-T-H-E-R-I-N-E. He had dated 19 girls. All of them had been named Katherine. And all of them- every single solitary one- had dumped him.”

Review:

It should now be a universally acknowledged fact that John Green is brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. He somehow manages to hook me, as a reader, in the first thirty seconds. Goodness, after Looking for Alaska swept me off my feet, I’m hooked before I even open the book. I approach a John Green book prepared to be amazed.

Consequently, I could have been drastically disappointed with An Abundance of Katherines, but, alas, I was not, and Green managed to blow me away and into a neighboring galaxy once again. The book didn’t top Looking for Alaska, but I don’t believe many books ever will – at least, within the YA genre.

This novel was a bit less plot-oriented, which is saying a lot, because, in my opinion, Alaska was extremely character-driven. There was the same natural, easy-going hilarity to keep me reading, and the characters were outstanding as well.

Colin is a child prodigy. But not a genius. Definitely not a genius.

After being dumped by his nineteenth consecutive Katherine, he is convinced by his outrageously hilarious and lovable friend, Hassan, to go on a road trip before heading off to college. Eager to be distracted by anything, Colin tells Hassan to take the exit to visit the “official resting site” of the Archduke Ferdinand. Met by Lindsey Lee Wells, a girl whose face is transformed by her smile, they are persuaded to stay the summer with her and her mother.

It’s the very day they go to Gutshot (Tennessee), that Colin has his “Eureka! moment,” and comes up with an extremely mathematical equation that just might be able to predict the outcome of any relationship. Though he tries to focus on developing his theorem, life in Gutshot, and more specifically, life in the very pink house owned by Hollis, Lindsey’s mother, proves to be beyond distracting…

I loved this book. I ate it up like it was the caramel brownie Blizzard I’ve been wanting desperately to try at Dairy Queen.

Colin’s a fantastic main character, and he’s easy to root for, though I occasionally wanted to give him a good slap and tell him to snap out of it. His prodigy-status and his love of anagrams made him quite unique, and it was interesting to be able to watch the proceedings of his mind.

Lindsey and Hassan were light, cheery, and hilarious characters. However, as I read more of John Green’s books, I find that many of the characters carry from book-to-book. An Alaska-wannabe can be found in this book and in Paper Towns. I don’t mean to say that the “wannabes” are irritatingly similar. They’re still themselves, and I love all of them, but they seem strikingly similar at times. Even the main characters seem relatively the same, their voices occasionally so similar that I don’t believe I could tell them apart. Luckily, every character, disregarding the potential over-usage, is so wonderful that you never want them to leave, and their “reappearances” ensure that your want for Green’s characters is satiated.

An Abundance of Katherines is a well-written, humorous, and lighthearted book about a boy who has an unhealthy and unrewarding hankering for girls named Katherine and his subsequent journey to overcome said hankering. It was much more appropriate than Alaska, and the “F” word had fewer mentions, although they did use a replacement for it. As far as sexual content goes, this book wasn’t very dirty, and I felt more comfortable than I did during particular scenes in Alaska.

Overall, I stand by my assertion that John Green has become one of my favorite authors of YA literature. The hilarity that seems to come naturally to both him and his books is something that cannot be ignored, and his collection of characters is incredible.

I recommend this book to all lovers of Looking For Alaska and/or Paper Towns, but I’d like to make it clear that this book is simpler and less convoluted. However, it was fantastic. Fabulous. Fantabulous. Fabtastic.

And, no, that last one wasn’t a word, but, in the spirit of Colin Singleton, here’s a good anagram for “fabulous”:

A Bus Foul

Why don’t you think that one over for a while?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 23, 2010 3:02 PM

    Wasn’t Hassan just the best?! I loved him 🙂
    But seriously, I agree, this was an awesome book, great review! have you read paper towns yet? I think it’s his best work (but kinda similar to LfA, and a bit less heavy)

    “I loved this book. I ate it up like it was the caramel brownie Blizzard I’ve been wanting desperately to try at Dairy Queen.” — make it s Strawberry Cheesequake and you’ve got me convinced 😉

    • May 23, 2010 3:24 PM

      I read Paper Towns this past week. I LOVED it. 😀 Looking for Alaska might remain my favorite of Green’s books, but Paper Towns was close. The end nearly made me cry, and I loved the car trip!

      Do you have an IHOP near you? You have to try the strawberry cheesecake pancakes (yum). Cheesecake is one of my favorite things. 😀

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