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An Abundance of Katherines Paperback – October 16, 2008


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up–Printz medalist John Green's main character in this novel (Dutton, 2006) is a loner who has a hard time making friends (though no trouble finding girlfriends) and a quirky taste for anagrams and odd facts. At the end of his senior year of high school, Colin Singleton has just been dumped by a girl named Katherine (it's the 19th time he's been dumped). Stuck in a quagmire of indecision about his future and egged on by his friend Hassan, Colin sets out on an aimless road trip until his attention is caught by a sign for the burial place of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in the middle of rural Tennessee. Colin and Hassan find friends, jobs, and fulfill Colin's quest to understand why he is always being dumped by his girlfriends. He develops a mathematical theorem that focuses on predicting the outcome of romantic relationships. Along the way, there is plenty of humor in the story. Narrator Jeff Woodman creates a distinct and lively persona for each character, complete with accents and inflections. Colin's uniquely naïve attributes combine with his obvious intelligence and checkered romantic past to create a character that Woodman brings to life quite vividly. The math angle and humorous anagrams may create additional interest for some teens. Although the story line is a bit thin, the plot's identity concerns make this an interesting choice for high school and public library collections for older teens.–Jane P. Fenn, Corning-Painted Post West High School, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Gr. 9-12. Green follows his Printz-winning Looking for Alaska (2005) with another sharp, intelligent story, this one full of mathematical problems, historical references, word puzzles, and footnotes. Colin Singleton believes he is a washed-up child prodigy. A graduating valedictorian with a talent for creating anagrams, he fears he'll never do anything to classify him as a genius. To make matters worse, he has just been dumped by his most recent girlfriend (all of them have been named Katherine), and he's inconsolable. What better time for a road trip! He and his buddy Hassan load up the gray Olds (Satan's Hearse) and leave Chicago. They make it as far as Gutshot, Tennessee, where they stop to tour the gravesite of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and meet a girl who isn't named Katherine. It's this girl, Lindsey, who helps Colin work on a mathematical theorem to predict the duration of romantic relationships. The laugh-out-loud humor ranges from delightfully sophomoric to subtly intellectual, and the boys' sarcastic repartee will help readers navigate the slower parts of the story, which involve local history interviews. The idea behind the book is that everyone's story counts, and what Colin's contributes to the world, no matter how small it may seem to him, will, indeed, matter. An appendix explaining the complex math is "fantastic," or as the anagrammatically inclined Green might have it, it's enough to make "cats faint." Cindy Dobrez
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 0890 (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Speak; Reprint edition (October 16, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780142410707
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142410707
  • ASIN: 0142410705
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (898 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #541 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Green is a New York Times bestselling author who has received numerous awards, including both the Printz Medal and a Printz Honor. John is also the cocreator (with his brother, Hank) of the popular video blog Brotherhood 2.0, which has been watched more than 30 million times by Nerdfighter fans all over the globe. John Green lives in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#19 Overall (See top 100 authors)
#1 in Books > Teens
#19 in Books
#45 in Kindle eBooks
#1 in Books > Teens
#19 in Books
#45 in Kindle eBooks

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

83 of 87 people found the following review helpful By Betty L. Dravis VINE VOICE on March 6, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Since I've always been a fan of Young Adult and Juvenile books--love to read them, love to write them--I just had to see what all the fuss was about with author John Green's coming-of-age novel. What sets it apart from others in the genre?

I started reading and quickly found out: it's an original concept, a laugh-out-loud funny story, complete with satire and an American road trip that's unlike any road trip I ever took. I'm enamored with this book and Green's main character, Colin Singleton, a loner with a quirky fascination for anagrams, math and odd facts. His main problem is that he has a hard time making friends, but NO problem with finding girlfriends.

But keeping them is another story!

At the end of his senior year of high school, "Katherine the Nineteenth" dumps him ... only the latest in a chain of rejections. As a result, he becomes indecisive about his future and begins to question his identity, his future.

What is Colin's problem? Why can't he keep his friends? When his friend Hassan suggests a road trip, what happens when the boys take off? What does a cemetery in the middle of rural Tennessee have to do with him? And who's Archduke Franz Ferdinand? Will Colin and Hassan fulfill Colin's quest to understand why he is always being dumped by his girlfriends?

Since Colin is a fading prodigy whose hobbies include making anagrams, memorizing odd historical facts, mathematical equations, and dating girls named Katherine, what mathematical equation does he formulate to explain why so many dump him? And just how many Katherines make an "abundance?"

You're invited on Colin's journey to find the answers to all those questions, but I can tell you one thing without spoiling the plot: you're in for one hilarious road trip!
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52 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Alexandra on September 23, 2006
Format: Hardcover
From third grade through his senior year of high school, Colin Singleton, child prodigy, has dated nineteen girls. All of them have been named Katherine (anagrammed in the rake; ie, her tank), and all of them have dumped him. Not for the same reasons, and not in the same way. Katherine XVIII dumped him in an email, for example. And K-19 dumped him immediately after graduation. Now, faced with a Katherine-less summer, Colin and his best friend, Hassan, decide to take a road trip. They are short-stopped in Gutshot, Tennessee, home to Archduke Franz Ferdinand's grave, with a job offer. Since there are no Katherines in sight, only Lindseys and Katrinas, the two boys settle in for the summer to interview textile workers, and, in Colin's case, come up with a mathematical formula for predicting the end result of a romantic relationship -- his Eureka moment. Layered with fun and funky characters, anagrams, formulas, flashbacks, and footnotes, this complex yet easy-to-read novel is not only compelling, but one of the smartest novels I've read in a long time.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Miss Print VINE VOICE on September 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Picture this: You used to be a childhood prodigy. Member of an academic game team. You excelled in school. You were special. You met a girl named Katherine and the two of you started dating.

Then she dumps you.

Then eighteen more girls named Katherine dump you.

Suddenly, you're a teenager with no claim to fame except for your former status as a prodigy. No new ideas. No girl. No plans for the summer excepting wasting away in your room and moping.

This is not your life. But it is Colin Singleton's life immediately after his graduation from high school.

Given Colin's history with girls, you might not be surprised that John Green chose to name his second novel An Abundance of Katherines--a title that proves itself even more apt as the novel progresses.

After sulking for several days after being dumped (again), Colin is dragged out of his room by Hasan, his best friend. Hassan is confident that the only cure for Colin's depression is a road trip. So Colin and his Judge-Judy-loving, overweight, Muslim pal head off for the great beyond that is the United States between the coasts. Their road trip stops in Gutshot, Tennessee. But the adventures don't. Hired by a local bigwig to compile an oral history of Gutshot, Colin and Hassan find themselves staying with Hollis and her daughter, Lindsey. It is in Gutshot that Colin finally has what he has always wanted, a truly original idea. Thus, Colin begins to create a theorem of love in his attempt to understand his own rocky love life.

Most of my friends who have read this book and Green's first novel Looking for Alaska agree that his second novel is not as compelling a read. Having only read "Katherines," I cannot make a judgment one way or the other.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Little Willow on January 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
An Abundance of Katherines is about many things: Heartbreak. Friends. Family. Math. Most importantly, it is about a young man who takes a road trip to find himself. The literal journey works well for the metaphorical one, of course, and is a familiar storytelling device. Author John Green has made it his own - or rather, Colin's own.

Colin Singleton used to be a prodigy. Used to be, because now he's a recent high school graduate, and what means "gifted prodigy" at age 2 means simply "smart" at age 18. Not only that, but his girlfriend Katherine just dumped him. In his lifetime, Colin has dated 19 girls named Katherine - never Kathy, never Catherine, always Katherine - and been dumped by every single one.

Stuck in that between-time, between boy and man, between high school and college, and positively heartbroken, he goes on a road trip with his best (and only) friend, the blunt and unabashed Hassan. They end up in Carver County, Tennessee, in a little place called Gutshot. There, they meet a kind girl named Lindsey Lee Wells, and her mother, who opens her home to the two boys.

Colin wants to have a Eureka moment, to make an amazing discovery. He also wants something more personal: to matter. When he vocalizes this, things change for him. He changes. This means that when his Eureka moment does occur, it signifies something other than what he predicted. And that's a good thing.

The same can be said for this book. The book jacket summary and title may make readers initially assume that the story will detail each of Colin's relationships in turn. Instead, they are anecdotes that he shares, stories that he tells, memories that he has. They don't fuel the story; they fuel the character.
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