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An Abundance of Katherines
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on July 2, 2014
What carried most of this book was Colin's personality, and just listening to him. Otherwise, not much else had me craving to see what would happen next. One of the strongest problems was the large cast of characters, that are all given limited time and limited personalities so that they seem like filler between Colin's breakthroughs. Most of the other dynamic elements seemed to just fall in place, and Colin merely coexisted with them. His relationship with Hasan and their bickering was also a highlight of the book, but their language made every other character seem too bland. I loved hearing from them so much, and following Colin's train of thought, that it seemed every other aspect was just a nuisance of Green to write.
I had to admire John Green for the work he put into writing this, such as the cliff note on remembering the number sequence of pi. He put a lot of love into the little details, that made this book seem real, but almost so real that they seem like they were outright conceived outside of the novel. I think the main issue of this book was spending too much effort on certain aspects that most of the story could not match that level of passion. It was an uneven trip.
I do not think it was the strongest John Green book, but with the few characters he played with, I could see all of the passion and precision he puts into his work. It is hard not to love a book where you can see the author put so much work into. 3.5
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on September 6, 2017
This book is very interesting and fun to read. There was lots of humor, and also lots of math. I found the book to be very relatable to almost every teenager who will read it. I loved the book, it made me think about what my life will amount to. A short summary of the book: Colin Singleton wants to matter, like almost everyone else in the world. He wants to be remembered as a genius, but he can't seem to put together a theory of the only problem in his life. He has been in a relationship with 19 girls named Katherine, but why have they all dumped him? Read and find out his mathematical thinking.
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on January 26, 2017
This book is a wonderful narrative about breakups, friendship, and the struggle to accept the un-uniqueness of ourselves. Colin and Hassan go on an inspired journey that gives them (and the reader) a new perspective on what it is to be remembered.
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on April 24, 2015
I only rated "An Abundance of Katherines" four stars because it was a bit of a hassle to be constantly switching between the text and the footnotes. I wouldn't say this is the best John Green book, despite him being an amazing author, I would suggest someone who's never read a John Green book something more along the lines of "Looking for Alaska", or my personal favorite, "Paper Towns." However, John Green is a brilliant author and I have a lot of fun making connections between this novel and his others. Anagrams are an interesting story element, along with math (footnotes if you need explanation.) I love the diverse, unique, and extremely loveable characters. The plot is good but I feel it could've been executed better. The ending is kind of sudden and doesn't feel very conclusive. But overall it was fun to read little bits and pieces of Colin's Chicago life-especially while sitting in a hotel room overlooking Chicago.
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on April 1, 2014
This book has amazing voice. Colin Singleton is a child prodigy on the cusp of becoming an adult. He feels this intense pressure to be a genius and this intense doubt that he will ever create anything worthy of that title. He's at an identity crossroads. And Katherine, the 19th Katherine that he's loved, just dumped him. His best friend, Hassan (who lights up every scene he's in), and he end up taking a roadtrip.

Colin decides to create a theorem. A way to predict who will be the dumper and the dumpee and how long a relationship will last. He will plot it and graph it.

Only John Green can have footnotes and graphs within a novel! But it is perfect for the voice of this story.

If you enjoyed math in high school, this will be particularly fun to read. If you didn't, don't worry, he makes it easy to grasp.

The roadtrip takes Colin and Hassan to Gutshot, TN, and they encounter the town golden girl Lindsey Lee Wells. Their time with Lindsey is very character revealing. There is a hilarious hunting scene where Colin shoots something he shouldn't and a fight scene that had me laughing out loud.

It's a quick read--Green's prose are ridiculously smooth and each sentence leads into the next so well that the pages flip faster and faster.
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on September 6, 2012
So, this book was assigned to my kids for summer reading. Actually, it was the book the school chose to assign to ALL the students. I'm guessing, that is about 2000 students. With that many locals reading the book, it seemed like a good choice for me, too.

I opened the book in the morning, and just turned pages all day, reading until the end. Good book. But several times, I was jarred from my reverie by poor editing--hence the 4 stars. Actually, I'd give it 3.5 if I could, but rounded up instead of down, due to good story. Amazon.com suggests the appropriate age for this book is 12 and up. Given the amount of sex concepts, I'd say at least 13, and for most kids, 14 or 15.

Lots of reviews talk about the story, I'll describe a few examples of editing concerns.

Early on, I was frustrated that Hassan's parents are shown telling Hassan to call home while he is away, but he is never shown calling home once. Story should have avoided having the father tell him to call.

The author obviously fell prey to Green's desire to share and preach little bits of random information. Sharing information enough to suit the story, fine. But he overdid it. Two examples: The comment about how much water to drink overshot the mark, and became preachy. The shower curtain info was interesting, but was obviously shoehorned into the story.

Anagrams play a significant role in this book. But the author has to reach so far to get the right anagrams sometimes, that he messes with the language to make them work right. Generally, Green's pros flow so well that every time I found the phrasing stilted, I was surprised. And then my surprise turned to momentary irritation, when it was invariably followed by an anagram. Like YRS FOREVER.

For some reason, there is a minimally discussed dog in the story. It was not well described when introduced, stuck in oddly later, and never used for anything that moved the story along. It didn't seem to represent anything. I couldn't figure out why it was included at all, and I kept waiting for it. Distracting.

Finally, I sincerely wish the author had researched the product made at the factory better. His description of the product simply isn't accurate, and I couldn't help feeling that a female author would never have made the error. Perhaps Green needed a product, and just had trouble coming up with one. This one had a humor factor, so he used it. But the description of the factory and the product were jarring for me, because they didn't make sense, in a story that is pretty reality-based.

There are more, but this is certainly more than enough for a review!

Again, I did really like the book, despite its flaws. Given that other reviewers have said "Looking for Alaska" is better, I am interested in reading that one next.
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on October 17, 2014
this book didn't really do it for me. I didn't mind the mathematics of it all, which this book is choc full of, but the story line itself was slow going. I didn't connect with the characters like I did in looking for Alaska or TFIOS. That being said, it was very well structured, smart, and funny, but the characters weren't very complex and it had a predictable ending. I suggest renting it from the library before you buy it to see if it's for you. Don't buy it on an impulse like I did, because it's only okay. I love john green's other works though, so if you're looking for an amazing author, you've found one, his genius just doesn't transition well in An Abundance of Katherines, in my opinion.
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on October 15, 2013
My first experience reading a John Green novel was the well-loved The Fault In Our Stars. It was such a fabulous book that I ran out and bought Looking For Alaska which I also loved. So the next time I made a book purchase, I ended up buying all the remaining John Green books which I have not read, and chose to read this one first. Mostly because it seemed to be getting the worst reviews and I figured if it's really not as good as people are saying it is, may as well read it now and get it over with. But before starting I was still in denial, SURELY I'll like it!

And I did. But I went into it with very high expectations I think, being that my first two John Green reads were phenomenal. So this book felt very lackluster in comparison. It held my attention well enough to get me to finish it, but not well enough that I'd recommend and/or re-read it. The plot just wasn't nearly as engaging, nothing major happened that really grabbed at my attention, and although previously I loved John Green's humor, this didn't felt as funny. Yes there were funny bits, but it just wasn't as entertaining. Also I wasn't particularly a fan of any of the characters except for Hassan.

I'm not exactly disappointed in the novel, but I'm not thrilled with it either. I guess I just don't have strong feelings one way or another for it. Oh, mediocre, that's the word I was looking for. It was a mediocre novel.
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on August 2, 2014
When I had first ordered the book I expected it to be great! I ended up putting off reading it until about 2 months after I had ordered it so then I decided that I should give it a try. I started the book and got confused very fast. The equations and all the anagrams and charts and graphs just screwed up head and I could never understand what was going on! The overall book was amazing definitely one of my favorite John Green books. I just wished he could've made the anagrams and charts and graphs and equations easier to understand! I would totally recommend this book to a friend and here is a word of advice: even if the book doesn't seem as great as you thought it would be keep reading and you will be pleasantly surprise. :)
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VINE VOICEon March 2, 2012
The hero of this refreshing coming of age story is Colin, a nerdy kid with a sky-high IQ who has dated 19 girls called Katherine and been dumped by all of them. Actually, it's really 18 -- because Katherine number one, who was his girlfriend for two minutes when they were eight, turns out also to be Katherine number 19.

With his friend Hassan, an amiable fat kid who is nominally Muslim, Colin sets out on a road trip from Chicago to recover from his wounds. Somewhere in Tennessee, they see a sign inviting them to visit the grave of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, whose assassination in Sarajevo set off World War One.

The tour guide for the alleged tomb is an appealing girl their own age called Lindsey Lee and the meeting sets off a new set of adventures. The two are invited by Lindsey's mother, Hollis, to stay the summer and help compile an oral history of the town of Gutshot, TN, and especially the cotton factory Hollis runs which has been reduced to producing tampon strings.

Colin, who loves making anagrams, reads voraciously and has "a piece missing" when it comes to relationships, seems to be somewhere on the Autism spectrum -- although the author never uses that word. He is obsessed by constructing a mathematical formula that will explain how relationships unfold and who will dump whom (a mathematician friend of the author provides a helpful essay at the end of the book to explain how the formula works).

Colin and Lindsey have an obvious attraction but Lindsey already has a boyfriend, a muscle-bound jock also called Colin. How will all this resolve?

I must say I liked this book. It was witty and also got into some of the heartbreaks of growing up and trying to figure out an identity. My one problem is that I did not believe fully in the protagonist. I did not believe that a kid as geeky as this one, with the kind of difficulties he has interacting with people, would have had 19 different girlfriends -- it just would not have happened. And for someone as socially awkward as he is supposed to be, he was quite assured with Lindsey when the time came.

But part of reading fiction is suspending disbelief, and I was able to do this well enough to enjoy the book.
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