All I wanted was for her to love me and to do something meaningful with my life.
Briefly: Through amazing coincidence, subconscious design or arranged by a humorous universe, Colin Singleton has only dated girls named Katherine. Dated and and been dumped by, actually. Nineteen times.
A child prodigy (which is quite different from a child genius), Colin anagrams everything, won on a game show, and knows many facts about many things (some interesting, some not so much). He’s always been told he’s special: do all of the breakups mean he’s really not? He has trouble making friends, though using the words “pupillary sphincter” one day at school attracted the attention of the new kid, Hassan Harbish.
Hassan is a previously home-schooled “Sunni Muslim, not a terrorist” who decides to befriend Colin when no other kids at the Kalman School would. He is a self-described funnypants, a lazy guy with no ambition. He’s a year ahead of Colin, and took a year off after graduation, even though he was accepted at a top university. He decides that drastic measures need to be taken to get Colin over Katherine XIX. The solution? A road trip. Even if it means the possibility of missing his beloved Judge Judy daily on TV.
Colin just wants to matter.
Didja Like It?: Similar to the main character in Looking for Alaska, Colin is a kid on the sidelines, joining in as he gets pulled along by the tide. His decisions are mostly made by others. His parents push him to work hard on educational pursuits; he lets relationships happen to him. Other characters are the catalysts, with Hassan being his main motivator. Colin’s very self-centered, and as a result, decides he is going to try to invent a formula that will be able to determine the dumpor, dumpee and time frame in every relationship. He would love to know in advance who is going to end a relationship, and in the process, maybe finally sort out why every one of his relationships went south.
Anything Else to Mention?: While The Fault in Our Stars will always be my favorite, many of the elements that are John Green signatures are here. The characters aren’t 100% likable (which makes them real) but 100% memorable; there are some wacky elements (a factory that solely produces the strings for tampons); someone (usually the main character) is awkward; parents are way, way in the background; and there’s a goal in the story.
To Read or Not To Read: Absolutely yes. You’ll love Gutshot and all of its inhabitants. You may even have a soft spot for graphing after this. Or anagramming.
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green was published September 21, 2006 by Dutton Juvenile. Ink and Page picked this book up from the Plano library, so that mean ol’ lady in Highland Park who wants to ban this book from her kid’s school can suck it. Seriously, why did she pick on this book? Too many breakups? Too much math? A Muslim main character? The tampon string factory? Oh well…more copies for me!
Genre: Young Adult Fiction Contemporary Romance
Ages: 13 and up
You Might Want to Know: A little underage drinking, a little teen friskiness, a lot of math