Available Copies: Downtown Teen, 1st Floor, Malletts Teen, Pittsfield Teen, Traverwood Teen
Having been recently dumped for the nineteenth time by a girl named Katherine, recent high school graduate and former child prodigy Colin sets off on a road trip with his best friend to try to find some new direction in life while also trying to create a mathematical formula to explain his relationships.
Colin Singleton, former child prodigy and serial-dater of girls named Katherine, embarks on a road trip with his best friend Hassan to attempt to get over Katherine-19, who just dumped him. The two end up in small-town Gutshot Tennessee, making connections with the locals, and Colin attempts to create a formula that will predict the ends of his future relationships.
Colin's struggles with reading social situations and the strange way his mind jumps from subject to subject are well-rendered in the storytelling and are especially evident in the slew of clever footnotes that pepper the pages. Perhaps because of the full development of Colin, the other characters are only viewed on the surface. However, despite the simple characterization, teens of both genders will find An Abundance of Katherines are fast-paced, fun read.
I should preface this by saying that as 30something adult, I don't seek out "YA" (young adult, aka teen) fiction for my leisure reading. In the case of this book, I didn't realize it was a YA title until I was already hooked, and since I'm a fan of quirky coming-of-age novels, it pretty much fit right into my comfort zone. The story is about recent high-school graduate Colin. A former child prodigy, he is now merely another smart teenager with underdeveloped social skills and a yearning to leave his intellectual mark on the world. With the summer between high school and college to kill, he's also heartbroken because his girlfriend, Katherine, just dumped him. Actually, she's the nineteenth Katherine to sever relations with Colin (hence the title) -- although one of the book's enduring mysteries is how someone as neurotic as Colin manages to have relations with 3, let alone 19 girls, whatever they may be named.
In any event, Colin is fortunate to posses a roly-poly sidekick/best buddy named Hassan, who promptly prescribes a road trip as the cure for his malaise. Couch potato Hassan provides much-needed comic relief with his blunt talk, tough love, and love for bad daytime TV. It's also nice to see an Arab-American character in such a role. The road trip takes them to a small town in Tennessee, where they stumble into jobs and a place to stay for the summer. They also luck into friendship with a cool local girl named Lindsey and spend a good deal of time hanging out with her and her Abercrombie-wearing friends. Meanwhile, Colin is hard at work trying to figure out the variables needed to plug into a mathematical formula which will graph the rise and fall of any relationship. This provides the excuse to learn about the 19 Katherines, although thankfully just enough to help the reader understand how they affected Colin.
As the summer progresses, the story unravels much as one might expect, with the notable exception of an unlikely hookup between Hassan and another character. Lindsey naturally turns out to have hidden depths, and despite the expected heart-warming developments at the end, the story kind of peters out without the closure one might expect. Overall it's a worthwhile read, although it's not a particularly challenging story and Colin is simultaneously too self-pitying and too handy with the ladies to be a truly sympathetic protagonist. Some of Green's stylistic tics work, such as the many footnotes, but the mathematical relationship formula felt kind of gimmicky. Still, this is the second YA novel by Green, and it's definitely enjoyable enough to make me think about seeking out the first.
I really enjoyed this book. In this book, the main character, Colin, struggles with himself. He is currently a child prodigy, and he is not sure where to go next. In addition, he has just been dumped by his 19th girlfriend. Colin's one and only friend Hassan decides that this situation calls for a roadtrip. The two somehow end up in Gutshot, Tennessee, where Colin meets Lindsey Lee Wells. She teaches him a lot about himself, and she finds things out about herself in the process. By the end, Colin realizes what matters, and he manages to learn to tell a good story a long the way. This book is hilarious, and even manages to teach you something, due to the random facts Colin finds it impossible not to share.