Reviews for Abundance of Katherines


Booklist Reviews 2006 August #1
/*Starred Review*/ 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Printz-winning Looking for Alaska (2005) with another sharp, intelligent story, this one full of mathematical problems, historical references, word puzzles, and footnotes.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." ((Reviewed August 2006)) Copyright 2006 Booklist Reviews.

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2007 Spring
Former child prodigy Colin (a hilarious blend of self-doubt and oblivious narcissism) only dates girls named Katherine. Recovering from yet another breakup, he's dragged out of bed (and to Tennessee) by his best friend, Hassan. The friendship between them forms the heart of this laugh-out-loud novel--a singular coming-of-age American road trip that both satirizes and pays homage to its many classic predecessors. Copyright 2007 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2006 #5
Former child prodigy Colin, faced with the real-world uselessness of his genius for trivia and word games, has no idea what to do with his life. Floundering, he lets his best friend Hassan drag him on a road trip while he attempts to recover from his breakup with Katherine XIX (he only dates girls named Katherine). Visiting the grave of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Tennessee, they befriend the tour guide, Lindsey Lee Wells, and accept summer jobs from her mother. As the three teens grow closer, Colin deals with his Katherine baggage by attempting to crack the code of love with his "Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability" (his last chance, he thinks, to "do something that matters"). Flashbacks to the various Katherine romances flesh out Colin's character (a pitch-perfect blend of self-doubt and oblivious narcissism) and provide hilarious insight into the peculiarities and universalities of insecure love. Hassan, often the butt of his own Muslim jokes, subverts the "jolly fat guy" stereotype with a quick wit and mounting frustration with being the sidekick. The final confrontation between Colin and him is the heart of the story, far more affecting than Colin's romantic tribulations. Laugh-out-loud funny, this second novel by the author of Printz winner Looking for Alaska (rev. 3/05) charts a singular coming-of-age American road trip that is at once a satire of and tribute to its many celebrated predecessors. Copyright 2006 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2006 August #2
Colin Singleton, child prodigy, tries to turn his 19 failed encounters with girls named Katherine into a formula that will predict the outcome of all relationships and elevate him to genius status. He and best friend Hassan take a somewhat non-traditional post-graduation road trip and end up in Gutshot, Tenn., guests of the owner of a factory that makes strings for tampons. Colin's wit, anagrams and philosophical quest for order combine with Lebanese Hassan's Muslim heritage and stand-up comedy routines to challenge the macho posturing of local youth, who are friends of Lindsey, the daughter of their hostess. When the boys are hired to collect oral histories of the town, their attachment to the small-town folk is cemented by cruising main street and hunting wild boar. Relationships develop, as does Colin, whom Lindsey somehow manages to teach how to tell a story, a skill truly lacking earlier. Sustaining the mood of giddy fun and celebratory discovery, Green omits the dark moments and bleak tragedy of his Printz Award-winning debut, Looking for Alaska (2005). There are tender tearful moments of romance and sadness balanced by an ironic tone and esoteric footnotes along with complex math. Fully fun, challengingly complex and entirely entertaining. (Fiction. YA) Copyright Kirkus 2006 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2006 September #1

Green follows his debut novel, Looking for Alaska , with this comic story about Colin Singleton, who at 17, considers himself a failure. "Formerly a prodigy. Formerly full of potential. Currently full of shit," he thinks, when, on graduation day, his girlfriend breaks up with him, the 19th girl named Katherine he has dated and been dumped by. (That number includes some third- and fourth-grade encounters, one of which lasted three minutes.) Colin's best friend, Hassan, an overweight underachiever, suggests a road trip to lift Colin out of his funk. A highway sign advertising the grave of the Austro-Hungarian archduke whose assassination sparked WWI leads them to Gutshot, Tenn., and Lindsey Lee Wells, whose mother, Hollis, is the town's largest employer she owns a factory that makes tampon strings. Hollis offers the boys jobs recording oral histories of local residents, which they accept, though Colin's true preoccupation is a mathematical formula ("The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability"), which will forecast the duration of all romantic relationships and enable him to make his mark on the world. It's not much of a plot, but Green's three companionable main characters make the most of it. Colin's epiphany he can't predict the future but he can reinvent himself, maybe even date a girl not named Katherine is pretty basic, but the intelligent humor that will make many readers eager to go along with him and Hassan for the ride. Ages 14-up. (Sept.)

[Page 69]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Review 2006 September

Gr 9 Up This novel is not as issue-oriented as Green’s Looking for Alaska (Dutton, 2005), though it does challenge readers with its nod to postmodern structure. Right after intellectual child-prodigy Colin Singleton graduates from high school, his girlfriend (who, like the 18 young women and girls whom he claimed as girlfriends over the years, is named Katherine) breaks up with him and sends him into a total funk. His best friend, Hassan, determines that he can only be cured with a road trip. After some rather aimless driving, the two find themselves in Gutshot, TN, where locals persuade them to stay. There, Colin spends his spare time working on a mathematical theorem of love, hypothesizing that romantic relationships can be graphed and predicted. The narrative is self-consciously dorky, peppered with anagrams, trivia, and foreign-language bons mots and interrupted by footnotes that explain, translate, and expound upon the text in the form of asides. It is this type of mannered nerdiness that has the potential to both win over and alienate readers. As usual, Green’s primary and secondary characters are given descriptive attention and are fully and humorously realized. While enjoyable, witty, and even charming, a book with an appendix that describes how the mathematical functions in the novel can be created and graphed is not for everybody. The readers who do embrace this book, however, will do so wholeheartedly.Amy S. Pattee, Simmons College, Boston

[Page 206]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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VOYA Reviews 2006 October
Colin Singleton, child prodigy, has just been dumped by Katherine XIX-the nineteenth girl named Katherine whom Colin has loved and lost. To help him get over his anguish, Colin's friend Hassan suggests a road trip. They end up in Gutshot, Tennessee, the final resting place of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and home to Lindsey Lee Wells and her mother, Hollis, who promptly hires the two boys to record the oral histories of her employees at Gutshot Textiles. Meanwhile in his quest to simultaneously win back Katherine XIX and make the leap from prodigy to genius, Colin devises the Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, a mathematical formula that can predict the future of a romantic relationship between any two people This sweet and earnest follow-up to Green's Printz Award-winning Looking for Alaska (Dutton, 2005/VOYA April 2005) tackles many of the same themes-love, friendship, memory-with a lighter touch. Colin, Hassan, and Lindsey Lee are well-drawn, memorable characters, and the friendship between the boys is both touching and hilarious. Dialogue and plot flow together beautifully, enlivened by foreign languages, equations, and expository footnotes. It also includes an entertaining appendix explaining the theorem. Despite some weak points, most notably the odd side plot involving Hollis and the textiles company, it is an enjoyable, thoughtful novel that will attract readers interested in romance, math, or just good storytelling. It is highly recommended for public and high school libraries.-Lorraine Squires Appendix. 4Q 4P S Copyright 2006 Voya Reviews.

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