An Abundance of Katherines, by John Green. Puffin, 2006.
Colin Singleton just graduated from high school. He was also just dumped by his girlfriend (his 19th consecutive girlfriend named Katherine). He is a math guy, a guy who is soothed by the orderliness of magic squares and anagrams. He is not quite like most people, but being dumped is no fun for anyone. In his grief, Colin takes off on a road trip with his best friend Hassan, trying to pull it together and working on a mathematical formula that will keep Colin from getting his heart broken again. Colin and Hassan find no Katherines in rural Tennessee, but they do find a scarily pink mansion, a famous person’s gravesite, and a wild pig with blood in its eye.
My take: A fast read, funny and smart. Slightly sketchy on TN geography (most people wouldn’t notice, but I grew up in Nashville and those exits are not where you say they are, John Green), but it’s forgivable. Excellent road-trip reading, for obvious reasons, and pleasantly romantic as well.
I love that this is a book full of Southern people that doesn’t descend into plantation English or ten-pound grasshoppers. I love these characters, and I love that they are all sort of geeky in different ways.
John Green’s website is at sparksflyup.com and well worth perusing.
Looking for Alaska is John Green’s first book. It’s amazing in some of the same ways this one is, but it will also punch you in the mouth when you’re not looking. Spectacular.
Paper Towns is the most recent novel by this author. Haven’t read it. Let me know what you think.
Cover image from Powells.com, where you can buy the book if you’re so inclined. (Note that this was the original cover, and I like it better than the more recent one; I think it’s more distinctive.)