An Abundance of Katherines by John Green


You can’t just read one John Green book. Well, at least I wouldn’t advise it. Read my other Green review(s) here.

First, I think it’s interesting that the cover art has changed SO many times for this book. I think it would be a great classroom discussion talking point. Which one best represents the book/ grabs the reader’s attention?

Accolades for this book:

  • 2007 Michael L. Printz Honor book
  • Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize
  • One of the books of the year by BooklistHorn Book, and Kirkus


Colin Singleton was a child genius. His entire life has been based around this fact. He studies more than anyone else because he craves knowledge and the assurance that he is the most intelligent person in any given room. He has to be the best. This goal is deterred by his anxiety of post-high school life and the fact that he’s been dumped 19 times, each by a girl named Katherine.  To remedy this bump in the road, Colin and his friend take a trip to nowhere. Colin is desperate to make sense of his life with facts and figures and The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability. However, unexpected variables like a new girl (not named Katherine) and an archduke in a weird small town are thrown into the equation, and Colin is forced to re-evaluate his theories.

 What I liked:

  • I really enjoyed the entire premise of the novel. I think it’s very clever. It takes on the ideas of certainty and identity that are extremely relevant to young adults. I mean, I’m still trying to figure out who I am as opposed to who I used to be so I get it.
  • I think this book will appeal to readers/ students who are more left brained. As a right brainer myself, I prefer the abstract: colors, emotions, pictures, (and books). Colin is an absolute left brainer. He is all about language, logic, numbers, and the concrete. He often uses math to explain abstract concepts, which I found brilliant because I never considered that this was a way to better reach out to students that I may have. Not all of them will be language art fanatics like I am. I’ve always understood math when it’s applied in a more abstract way so why not turn it around?
  • Not to toot my own horn, but I was in Gifted and Talented classes in elementary school, where everyone treated us like geniuses. The book talks about how most gifted children grow up to be average adults, and this freaks Colin out because he wants to always be the smart one, and he’s desperate to leave his mark on the world. I’ve felt like this so often. I’ve worried that I haven’t lived up to my potential or have gotten less intelligent over the years or that I’ll never do something to change the world. The way Colin copes with this gave me great closure. I think Colin and I have resolved it in similar ways I think. I mean, who knows the real answer?
  • Male readers can identify with this story. I’m always trying to find YA Lit that I think can appeal to both genders, and I think this one would be a great pick.
  • Colin is obsessed with anagrams, rearranging letters in a phrase or word to make a different phrase or word. He does it as a hobby and a party trick. It just so perfectly captures who Colin is that its use is brilliant.
  • There are some awesome quote worthy passages that are just laced with John Green coolness.8075372028_2e478706fb_z7673923148_e668564418_zjohn-green-quotes

 What I didn’t like:

  • I didn’t identify with Colin just because we’re so different.
  • The story never really drew me in. I wasn’t a huge fan of the book, as much as I appreciated it. I don’t see myself going back to read it.
  • I feel like parts of it are just too forced, like the hot new girl that lives in the middle of nowhere and the quirky best friend. Yes, they’re omnipresent in literature, but I felt like Green’s characters felt too one dimensional and stereotypical.
  • I felt like Colin was just a Mary Sue for John Green, although he insists the character is not based on him.
  • This is just a me thing, but when math was brought up in the book, my brain just went fuzzy. I mean, look at this equation!

I think it’s a good book, and I would suggest it for middle school readers, boys and girls alike. It’s smart and appealing. I’d be glad to see anyone reading it.


One thought on “An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

  1. Pingback: 30 Day Book Challenge: Day 6- A Book That Broke My Heart | Shelf-Made Girl

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