An Abundance of Katherines

John Green, Author . Dutton $16.99 (227p) ISBN 978-0-525-47688-7

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.)

Reviewed on: 09/04/2006
Release date: 10/01/2006
Genre: Children's
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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