Title: An Abundance of Katherines
Author: John Green
Number of Pages:
Plot Overview: Colin is a prodigy. A prodigy who isn’t quite a genius and who has been dumped by 19 Katherines (always K-a-t-h-e-r-i-n-e, never Catherine or Kathryn) in a row. Most recently, it was K-19, kind and wonderful, who’s totally driven Colin off the rails. So Colin’s best friend, Hassan, drags him out the door and into the car for a road trip, ending up in Gutshot, Tennessee. There they meet Lindsey Lee Wells, her boyfriend TOC (The Other Colin), TOC’s friends JATT and SOCT (Jeans Are Too Tight and Short One Chewing Tobacco, respectively), and a town struggling to stay afloat. There Colin begins work on his masterpiece – the Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which attempts to chart the course of any relationship.
What I Liked: The characters were decently strong; Colin definitely grew on me as the book went along. Green is excellent at developing his characters. The routes they take throughout the story are unusual and worth following. The use of footnotes in this book is a nice touch, distinguishing it from the average YA road-trip novel. Speaking of which, I love the world this story operates in. From anagramming to hog hunting to secret caves to Katherine predictability to storytelling, it’s so fun to live in for 215 pages. The plot is different, yet not incredible. In terms of writing style, it’s classic John Green: natural, funny, yet occasionally pretty.
What I Didn’t Like: The characters were stereotypical: the nerd, the lazy, sarcastic best friend, the not-exceptionally-pretty yet still attractive girl, the terrible boyfriend. They started predictably and ended predictably. I have the same quibble with this book as I have with most road-trip stories: some of it feels far-fetched. Staying with a stranger? Just being allowed to up and leave on a trip? That’s somewhat outside the realm of possibility. Also, the story was unspectacular. Boy goes on road trip to get over broken heart and falls in love again.
Other Notes: John Green is an exceedingly successful author – he’s behind titles such as The Fault in Our Stars, Looking For Alaska, and Paper Towns. Alongside his brother, he runs a YouTube channel, Crash Course, where he teaches pieces of classes such as English, World History, and American history.
Other Reviews: The New York Times has published a decent review of this book, which can be found here.
Final Verdict: Fun, alternately lighthearted and serious. Worth picking up.