Book Review: An Abundance of Katherines

Two Chicago friends take a summer road trip and end up in rural Tennessee, where one of the boys begins to recover from being dumped for the nineteenth time by a girl named Katherine by crafting a mathematical equation to determine the ending of all future relationships.  Romantic math, anagrams, hunting wild boar, and a suspect tomb: this book has everything necessary to make a nicely empathetic YA novel.  (Grade level: 9+.)

An Abundance of KatherinesAn Abundance of Katherines by John Green

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love John Green – I am a proud nerdfighter, in fact – but his female characters fall a bit flat for me. This time, I began to wonder if that doesn’t have its advantages. For example, all characters are being interpreted through the eyes of Colin Singleton (whose name is a sly reference to the Green’s background reviewing conjoined twin stories), so how would such a young man with great intelligence but limited social skills see the young women around him? One theme of the book is the difference between memory and reality, after all. Colin spends much of the book attempting to turn his romantic history of failure into a mathematical equation – a flattening out of female characters if I ever did see one. That one typical complaint dealt with by claiming it is an asset, I can whole heartedly recommend this books. We need more authors like Green who can address teen romance in a way that will appeal to male readers, particularly while staring down the barrel of rampant adolescent awkwardness.

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