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An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

John Green

 

John Green. So far, I have such a love/hate relationship with him. Will Grayson, Will Grayson was a pretty great book and he co-authored that. An Abundance of Katherines was my first full John Green book, and it leaves a lot to be desired.

So basically there’s a teenage washed-up child prodigy named Colin Singleton, who keeps falling in love with and getting dumped by girls named Katherine, 19 times to be exact. To get him out of the depression of his latest break-up, his friend Hassan convinces him to go on a road trip. While on the road, Colin tries to perfect his “big” discovery, The Theorum of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes can be used to predict how all relationships will end and earn him the genius spotlight he’s been craving.

So here’s my issue – despite witty and often great writing, this book just TRIES TOO HARD. It tries too hard to be hip, nerdy, and teenage-y. There is barely a story here, and the story that is there is pretty implausible. I won’t go into too many details because I don’t want to be spoiler-y, but for real, lamest road trip and Eureka moment ever.

Colin is often whiny and kind of an asshole, though a slight part of me forgives that because of his genius-ness, and I like really smart assholes (House, anyone?). He was DEFINITELY too emo and dramatic. Hassan was pretty awesome, and I was happy to see a teen that’s a practicing Muslim in a book. Overall Hassan was pretty great, he was the best character. Lindsey is a girl they meet on their road trip and she was a cool girl, but also a little too angsty and she lacked some basic common sense.

Also, the every time the characters should be saying “fuck”, they say “fug”. Like “mother-fugger”. It’s explained in the book, but my god it made me want to tear my hair out in annoyance.

The book reads quickly, but the best part of it is the random nerdy fact-dropping and anagramming via Colin. Damn you John Green, for luring me in with your cheap smarty-pants tricks. The writing is pretty good, but I feel like he’s trying to manipulate me with his teenage drama bullshit and exagerrated quirky-ness. Like everything is supposed to be so eye-opening and epic, but really I kind of want to slap these kids and tell them to man up.

I’ll probably try another John Green book again, but it’s going to be a while.

 

Sarah Says: 2 stars

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Filed under 2-star, Fiction, YA

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan

Will Grayson Will Grayson book cover

Well, what a book. Lots to talk about. Will Grayson, Will Grayson is about two teenage boys both named Will Grayson – they aren’t related, don’t live in the same town, and don’t know that the other exists until they meet one fateful night at an “adult video” shop in Chicago. The book is about their lives and the results of their meeting.

So, for clarification’s sake, let’s sort them out, kay?

  • The Will Grayson written by John Green is a straight teen whose best friend is a larger-than-life, fabulously gay teen named Tiny Cooper, and this Will is pretty normal although he kind of tries to hide from life – we’ll refer to him as Cool WG.
  • The Will Grayson written by David Levithan is a still-in-the-closet gay teen that acts all emo and depressed and is a jerk to everyone except his internet boyfriend, Isaac – we’ll refer to him as Lame WG.  

Got all that?

Basically both Will Graysons are going through different issues in their life, and Tiny Cooper is the grace that saves them all. Tiny is GREAT – he’s fun, incredibly sweet, passionate, and huge – like over 6 feet tall and just enormous. Tiny is also writing a play about himself, called Tiny Dancer, that ends up being a pretty big plot point later. In a lot of ways, this book is more about Tiny than either of the WG’s.

I did really enjoy this book – the wit and humor of the two WG’s, the themes of love and acceptance and stuff. It was entertaining, and I read it in less than 24 hours. The writing is a bit pretentious sometimes, but at least it kept it from being boring.

I liked Cool WG a lot more than Lame WG, obviously. He’s kind of trying to live in the background of life, which is easy because he’s friends with Tiny. He starts to have a crush on a girl but fights it so much, which was annoying for a bit. But I liked how close he was with Tiny and how he usually stood up for him, and I liked that him and Jane (his crush) talk about the Schrödinger’s cat experiment, which sounds completely random but I loved that it was in there because of my recent fondness for reading about quantum physics. Also, this Will’s chapters are where you get to see the most of Tiny, and since he was my favorite character it makes sense that I just automatically liked these chapters more.

I get a little stabby when I think about Lame WG. He annoyed the bejeezus out of me. Not because he’s gay, but because he’s an asshole who blames everything on his clinical depression. I guess I’m just sick of YA books including some kid who’s depressed. YOU DON’T HAVE DEPRESSION, YOU’RE A GODDAMN TEENAGER WHO IS HAVING A HARDER TIME THAN NORMAL HANDLING BEING A TEENAGER. (I don’t believe in diagnosing minors with any sort of mental depression/disorder, and I REALLY don’t believe in putting them on medications for it, because how the hell are they supposed to learn how to cope if they don’t just work through whatever they’re feeling? We’re raising a whole generation of kids who will not be able to function as adults because they spent their childhood years drugged up instead of learning how to handle their emotions and actions. End rant.) Anyways, Lame WG was annoying. Not that he wasn’t mildly amusing when he said funny things (“you know how sometimes you see a really sexy baby?”), but he was just frustrating. I definitely wanted to smack him about a hundred times.  On a good note though, thanks to Tiny’s help he eventually rises above his own drama and becomes less irritating.

A couple of other things…

  • Why is it that teens in these uber-popular YA books lately go apeshit for local underground indie music? I’m so sick of that… for once I’d like to see characters just like these, but who are into classical or rap or country or anything other than indie-punk. The percentage of teens who know about and actively seek out local underground music is low, I promise.
  • I think I’ll try another John Green book. This is the first thing I’ve read by him, and Cool WG & Tiny Cooper were good characters.
  • I am never reading another David Levithan book. The only good thing I’ve read by him is Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares, in which he writes the part of Dash. But everything else I’ve read by him involves annoying, emo characters and I’m-trying-too-hard writing, and just UGH. I’m done with him.
  • I loved that both WG’s mentioned Austen-related books and movies. MORE BOYS SHOULD READ JANE AUSTEN.
  • I loved the theme of homosexuality and acceptance, but more than anything this book was about one awesome person, and how much one person can make a big difference in the lives of others.

So, it was a good book, even though I hated Lame WG. It made me laugh out loud several times, so I definitely recommend it, and it was a good readathon pick! I’m glad I bought it.

 

Sarah Says: 4 stars

~Sarah

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Filed under 4-star, Fiction, YA

Readthon: 18 Hours in! Go, go go!!!

Will Grayson, Will Grayson, Sarah

For the Me & My Book mini-challenge over at One Literature Nut.

 

Ah, I look so sleep-deprived. That super-flattering (hardy har har) picture there is for the Me & My Book mini-challenge hosted by Becky at One Literature Nut. Enjoy!

I got absolutely no reading done since my last update, because like 5 minutes after I posted it my sister and L came over to visit and you know, I was all enthralled in the super baby cuteness that is my drooly little nephew. He tried to eat everything, including (but not limited to) the knobs on the entertainment center drawers and an electrical outlet, which of course made me smack his tiny little hands and he cried big tears up at me, but I refrained from comforting him for the most part cause I’m a good aunt.

And after they left I fell asleep for two hours, showered, and came to work. I really needed that nap.

Anyhoo, so I’m back at work now and as long as I don’t get too drowsy, the next 5.5 hours should be pretty uninterrupted reading time! Definitely time enough to finish Will Grayson, Will Grayson and hopefully start reading something else too.

So, we’re almost done! How’s everyone else holding up?

~Sarah

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Readathon: THE HALFWAY POINT!

readathon, will grayson, food

Foooooood!

 

Holy crap I can’t believe it’s about the halfway point for this readathon! Insane! So, I haven’t read a whole hell of a lot since the last update. I started Will Grayson, Will Grayson and I read 74 pages of it so far, which brings my total so far to 404 pages. Considering that this is about the halfway point for my goal as well, you’d think I’m perfectly on track. But I’m afraid I may end up missing my goal.

I have to head back into work in approximately 6 hours, and I’ll have to take an hour or two nap at some point. Also, my sister is in town again and she’s going to stop by with baby L to say hi, so you know, there’s another hour or so gone. I JUST GOTTA SUCK IT UP AND TRY TO READ MY ASS OFF AT ALL OTHER TIMES.

Anyhoo, so I had dinner as you can see from above. The honeyman was supposed to handle that, but I ended up doing the fries and slicing tomatoes and onions while he fried up the turkey burgers (his family is hanging out here tonight too, so I felt I shouldn’t put all the work on him). So, turkey burgers and sweet potatoe fries and garlic potato wedges, oh my!

I think I’m enjoying Will Grayson, Will Grayson, although I am realizing that I really do not like David Levithan. He was awesome in Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares, but everything I’ve read by him since has sucked. In this book, he writes as the depressed, angry, gay Will Grayson and I really don’t like him. He’s a douche to his mom and really UGH. TEEANGE-Y. Though he does say some funny crap sometimes, but overall I don’t like him. I like the Will Grayson that’s a little emo and crushing on Jane. And I LOOOOVVVE Tiny, he’s hilarious and great. So, so far so good I guess.

Okay, so off to read some more before my sister and L in all his infinite baby-cuteness get here. How’s everyone else doing?

~Sarah

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