Idgiepug’s #CBR4 Review #40: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Having read The Fault in Our Stars, I decided to continue working my way through John Green’s novels. The title An Abundance of Katherines was appealing, so I chose it next. I liked it just as well, and maybe a bit better than, The Fault in Our Stars.
The main character of An Abundance of Katherines is recent high-school graduate Colin, a child prodigy who never quite managed to live up to his potential. He’s smart, but he has to work hard at it and is desperate to find some break through theory or idea that will make his mark on the world. He also has a rather strange dating history and has just been dumped by his most recent girlfriend, Katherine, the 19th girl of that name whom he has dated. To help Colin out of his Katherine-based depression and to have an adventure before they go off to college, Colin’s friend Hassan drags him out onto a spontaneous road trip with no set destination. Passing through Tennessee, the boys see a sign advertising the resting place of Archduke Ferdinand. They decide to investigate and find themselves in a small town called Gutshot being given the official tour by Lindsey Wells, the girl on duty at the convenience store where the tour begins. They form a friendship with Lindsey who invites them home to meet her mother, Hollis, who owns a string factory, the primary employer in Gutshot. Hollis offers Hassan and Colin a job and a place to stay, and they take her up on the offer. In between interviewing the older residents of Gutshot for Hollis, Colin gets to know Lindsey and her boyfriend, also named Colin but nicknamed TOC (The Other Colin) by Hassan, and tries to have a “Eureka” moment by creating a formula that will predict the future of a relationship. Using his own experiences with the Katherines, Colin works on his formula and deals with his increasing interest in Lindsey.
Overall, the book is a really excellent example of the teenage romance genre. It’s funny and smart enough to be interesting even though the romance part is not exactly ground-breaking. The relationship between Colin and Hassan is, in my opinion, the best part of the novel. They talk to and treat each other like real guy friends. Green’s ability to create believable, intelligent teenagers is among the best in the YA fiction I’ve read.