I have read almost all the books written by John Green now. I read his works pretty much back to back, so I took a break. The last one I read was Paper Towns. An Abundances of Katherines was sitting on my shelf for more than two years, and I am glad that I have finally finished it.
An Abundances of Katherines, a YA novel, is the story of Colin Singleton. He is a genius prodigy living in Chicago who decides to go on a road trip with his best and only friend Hassan after their high school graduation. Colin has dated 19 (he dates one twice) girls named Katherine even spelled this way, and has been dumped by all of them. That is not the only problem. Colin is worried that all the promise he has shown so far might not amount to anything as he grows up. He worries about the future and what it has in store for him. This road trip is an important part of his journey. The plot is a coming-of-age story that follows Colin as he feels unprepared to enter the world as an adult.
The book is paced really well from the start. Although at times, road trip-related stories can come across as slightly clichéd, this one is different. It is really difficult to explain the plot of this novel. The story seems simple enough with Colin and Hassan on a road trip before they have to venture into adulthood and all the adventures that follow. Colin is very practical and analytical about everything; for example, he has an idea ‘The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability’; a graph that can predict when the couple will break up. Colin is not in the best of mindsets when he begins the trip; he has recently been dumped by Katherine number 18.
The characters are well developed and elevate the story. Colin is smart, quirky, a little awkward, and way too analytical; which sometimes weighs on him when he gets too into his head. Colin keeps you interested in his story from start to finish. He blurts out random facts and is kind of awkward and quirky, but he is endearing. Hassan plays an important role. He is more than just the funny best friend. His humor is on point in a self-deprecating way, but he gives a different perspective on Colin. The last significant character is Lindsey Wells. The boys meet Lindsey during the trip; she is unpredictable and fascinating. As more of her past is revealed, her character develops and becomes more relatable.
I didn’t know what to expect when I started reading this book. Like I said before, I thought the story was going to be straightforward, but it wasn’t. Even if it is subtle, the book has a deeper meaning. Colin is worried about his future and what will happen to him as an adult. He is anxious if he will live up to his potential or not. These are the questions, I believe everyone ponders as they enter adulthood, and that’s where the story feels so rooted and relatable. Colin is understandably anxious about the future but slowly has to accept that the future is unpredictable. No worrying, analyzing, or calculating will change this fact.
The story is a coming-of-age novel, and it is done beautifully. The way John Green writes is a little unique in itself. It is philosophical, deep, and funny all at once. Yes, the target audience is YA readers, but it is not limited to that age group. I have loved all the works of John Green I have read so far, and this one isn’t any different. Completely unexpected, but it is a thoroughly enjoyable read.
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