tries too hard to be cool

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