An Abundance of Katherines
An Abundance of Katherines
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Annotation: Having been recently dumped for the nineteenth time by a girl named Katherine, recent high school graduate and former child prodigy Colin sets off on a road trip with his best friend to try to find a new direction in life.
Catalog Number: #4143019
Format: Paperback
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Penguin
Copyright Date: 2006
Edition Date: 2012
Pages: 227 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-14-241070-5
ISBN 13: 978-0-14-241070-7
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2006004191
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
After being dumped by his nineteenth girlfriend named Katherine, child prodigy and recent Chicago high-school graduate Colin Singleton hits the road with his best friend, Hassan. Their humorous and illuminating adventure lands them in Tennessee, where they meet Lindsey, who helps them work on a mathematical theorem to predict the length of romantic relationships. Using impeccable tones and accents (Arabic, French, southern drawls), Woodman offers a lively narration, evoking a wide range of colorful characters. Whether speaking dialogue, comical passages, or more serious episodes, Woodman's pacing is on target. Copious footnotes are seamlessly woven into the narration when appropriate, and complex graphs that reflect the theorems are described to listeners. Unfortunately, the audio lacks the final author note and appendix.
Horn Book
Former child prodigy Colin (a hilarious blend of self-doubt and oblivious narcissism) only dates girls named Katherine. Recovering from yet another breakup, he's dragged out of bed (and to Tennessee) by his best friend, Hassan. The friendship between them forms the heart of this laugh-out-loud novel--a singular coming-of-age American road trip that both satirizes and pays homage to its many classic predecessors.
Kirkus Reviews
Colin Singleton, child prodigy, tries to turn his 19 failed encounters with girls named Katherine into a formula that will predict the outcome of all relationships and elevate him to genius status. He and best friend Hassan take a somewhat non-traditional post-graduation road trip and end up in Gutshot, Tenn., guests of the owner of a factory that makes strings for tampons. Colin's wit, anagrams and philosophical quest for order combine with Lebanese Hassan's Muslim heritage and stand-up comedy routines to challenge the macho posturing of local youth, who are friends of Lindsey, the daughter of their hostess. When the boys are hired to collect oral histories of the town, their attachment to the small-town folk is cemented by cruising main street and hunting wild boar. Relationships develop, as does Colin, whom Lindsey somehow manages to teach how to tell a story, a skill truly lacking earlier. Sustaining the mood of giddy fun and celebratory discovery, Green omits the dark moments and bleak tragedy of his Printz Awardwinning debut, Looking for Alaska (2005). There are tender tearful moments of romance and sadness balanced by an ironic tone and esoteric footnotes along with complex math. Fully fun, challengingly complex and entirely entertaining. (Fiction. YA)
Publishers Weekly

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.)

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-This novel is not as issue-oriented as Green's Looking for Alaska (Dutton, 2005), though it does challenge readers with its nod to postmodern structure. Right after intellectual child-prodigy Colin Singleton graduates from high school, his girlfriend (who, like the 18 young women and girls whom he claimed as girlfriends over the years, is named Katherine) breaks up with him and sends him into a total funk. His best friend, Hassan, determines that he can only be cured with a road trip. After some rather aimless driving, the two find themselves in Gutshot, TN, where locals persuade them to stay. There, Colin spends his spare time working on a mathematical theorem of love, hypothesizing that romantic relationships can be graphed and predicted. The narrative is self-consciously dorky, peppered with anagrams, trivia, and foreign-language bons mots and interrupted by footnotes that explain, translate, and expound upon the text in the form of asides. It is this type of mannered nerdiness that has the potential to both win over and alienate readers. As usual, Green's primary and secondary characters are given descriptive attention and are fully and humorously realized. While enjoyable, witty, and even charming, a book with an appendix that describes how the mathematical functions in the novel can be created and graphed is not for everybody. The readers who do embrace this book, however, will do so wholeheartedly.-Amy S. Pattee, Simmons College, Boston Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Green follows his Printz-winning Looking for Alaska (2005) with another sharp, intelligent story, this one full of mathematical problems, historical references, word puzzles, and footnotes. Colin Singleton believes he is a washed-up child prodigy. A graduating valedictorian with a talent for creating anagrams, he fears he'll never do anything to classify him as a genius. To make matters worse, he has just been dumped by his most recent girlfriend (all of them have been named Katherine), and he's inconsolable. What better time for a road trip! He and his buddy Hassan load up the gray Olds (Satan's Hearse) and leave Chicago. They make it as far as Gutshot, Tennessee, where they stop to tour the gravesite of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and meet a girl who isn't named Katherine. It's this girl, Lindsey, who helps Colin work on a mathematical theorem to predict the duration of romantic relationships. The laugh-out-loud humor ranges from delightfully sophomoric to subtly intellectual, and the boys' sarcastic repartee will help readers navigate the slower parts of the story, which involve local history interviews. The idea behind the book is that everyone's story counts, and what Colin's contributes to the world, no matter how small it may seem to him, will, indeed, matter. An appendix explaining the complex math is fantastic, or as the anagrammatically inclined Green might have it, it's enough to make cats faint.
Voice of Youth Advocates
Colin Singleton, child prodigy, has just been dumped by Katherine XIX-the nineteenth girl named Katherine whom Colin has loved and lost. To help him get over his anguish, Colin's friend Hassan suggests a road trip. They end up in Gutshot, Tennessee, the final resting place of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and home to Lindsey Lee Wells and her mother, Hollis, who promptly hires the two boys to record the oral histories of her employees at Gutshot Textiles. Meanwhile in his quest to simultaneously win back Katherine XIX and make the leap from prodigy to genius, Colin devises the Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, a mathematical formula that can predict the future of a romantic relationship between any two people. This sweet and earnest follow-up to Green's Printz Award-winning Looking for Alaska (Dutton, 2005/VOYA April 2005) tackles many of the same themes-love, friendship, memory-with a lighter touch. Colin, Hassan, and Lindsey Lee are well-drawn, memorable characters, and the friendship between the boys is both touching and hilarious. Dialogue and plot flow together beautifully, enlivened by foreign languages, equations, and expository footnotes. It also includes an entertaining appendix explaining the theorem. Despite some weak points, most notably the odd side plot involving Hollis and the textiles company, it is an enjoyable, thoughtful novel that will attract readers interested in romance, math, or just good storytelling. It is highly recommended for public and high school libraries.-Lorraine Squires.
Word Count: 61,412
Reading Level: 5.6
Interest Level: 9-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.6 / points: 10.0 / quiz: 108588 / grade: Upper Grades
Lexile: 890L
(one)

The morning after noted child prodigy Colin Singleton graduated fromhigh school and got dumped for the nineteenth time by a girl named Katherine,he took a bath. Colin had always preferred baths; one of his general policiesin life was never to do anything standing up that could just as easily bedone lying down. He climbed into the tub as soon as the water got hot, andhe sat and watched with a curiously blank look on his face as the water overtookhim. The water inched up his legs, which were crossed and folded intothe tub. He did recognize, albeit faintly, that he was too long, and too big, forthis bathtub--he looked like a mostly grown person playing at being a kid.As the water began to splash over his skinny but unmuscled stomach,he thought of Archimedes. When Colin was about four, he read a bookabout Archimedes, the Greek philosopher who'd discovered that volumecould be measured by water displacement when he sat down in the bathtub.Upon making this discovery, Archimedes supposedly shouted "Eureka!"[1] and then ran naked through the streets. The book said that manyimportant discoveries contained a "Eureka moment." And even then, Colinvery much wanted to have some important discoveries, so he asked hismom about it when she got home that evening.

"Mommy, am I ever going to have a Eureka moment?"

"Oh, sweetie," she said, taking his hand. "What's wrong?"

"I wanna have a Eureka Moment," he said, the way another kid mighthave expressed longing for a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.

She pressed the back of her hand to his cheek and smiled, her face soclose to his that he could smell coffee and makeup. "Of course, Colin baby.Of course you will."

But mothers lie. It's in the job description.

Colin took a deep breath and slid down, immersing his head. I am crying, hethought, opening his eyes to stare through the soapy, stinging water. I feellike crying, so I must be crying, but it's impossible to tell because I'm underwater.But he wasn't crying. Curiously, he felt too depressed to cry. Too hurt.It felt as if she'd taken the part of him that cried.

He opened the drain in the tub, stood up, toweled off, and got dressed.When he exited the bathroom, his parents were sitting together on his bed.It was never a good sign when both his parents were in his room at the sametime. Over the years it had meant:

1. Your grandmother/grandfather/Aunt-Suzie-whom-you-never-met-but-trust-me-she-was-nice-and-it's-a-shame is dead.

2. You're letting a girl named Katherine distract you from your studies.

3. Babies are made through an act that you will eventually find intriguingbut for right now will just sort of horrify you, and also sometimespeople do stuff that involves baby-making parts that does not actuallyinvolve making babies, like for instance kiss each other in placesthat are not on the face.

It never meant:

4. A girl named Katherine called while you were in the bathtub. She'ssorry. She still loves you and has made a terrible mistake and is waitingfor you downstairs.

But even so, Colin couldn't help but hope that his parents were in the roomto provide news of the Number 4 variety. He was a generally pessimistic person,but he seemed to make an exception for Katherines: he always felt theywould come back to him. The feeling of loving her and being loved by herwelled up in him, and he could taste the adrenaline in the back of histhroat, and maybe it wasn't over, and maybe he could feel her hand in hisagain and hear her loud, brash voice contort itself into a whisper to sayI-love-you in the very quick and quiet way that she had always said it. Shesaid I love you as if it were a secret, and an immense one.

His dad stood up and stepped toward him. "Katherine called my cell,"he said. "She's worried about you." Colin felt his dad's hand on his shoulder,and then they both moved forward, and then they were hugging.

"We're very concerned," his mom said. She was a small woman withcurly brown hair that had one single shock of white toward the front. "Andstunned," she added. "What happened?"

"I don't know," Colin said softly into his dad's shoulder. "She's just--she'd had enough of me. She got tired. That's what she said." And then hismom got up and there was a lot of hugging, arms everywhere, and his momwas crying. Colin extricated himself from the hugs and sat down on his bed.He felt a tremendous need to get them out of his room immediately, like ifthey didn't leave he would blow up. Literally. Guts on the walls; his prodigiousbrain emptied out onto his bedspread.

"Well, at some point we need to sit down and assess your options," hisdad said. His dad was big on assessing. "Not to look for silver linings, but itseems like you'll now have some free time this summer. A summer class atNorthwestern, maybe?"

"I really need to be alone, just for today," Colin answered, trying to conveya sense of calm so that they would leave and he wouldn't blow up. "Socan we assess tomorrow?"

"Of course, sweetie," his mom said. "We'll be here all day. You justcome down whenever you want and we love you and you're so so special,Colin, and you can't possibly let this girl make you think otherwise becauseyou are the most magnificent, brilliant boy--" And right then, the mostspecial, magnificent, brilliant boy bolted into his bathroom and puked hisguts out. An explosion, sort of.

"Oh, Colin!" shouted his mom.

"I just need to be alone," Colin insisted from the bathroom. "Please."When he came out, they were gone.

For the next fourteen hours without pausing to eat or drink or throw upagain, Colin read and reread his yearbook, which he had received just fourdays before. Aside from the usual yearbook crap, it contained seventy-twosignatures. Twelve were just signatures, fifty-six cited his intelligence,twenty-five said they wished they'd known him better, eleven said it was funto have him in English class, seven included the words "pupillary sphincter,"[2] and a stunning seventeen ended, "Stay Cool!" Colin Singleton couldno more stay cool than a blue whale could stayskinny or Bangladesh couldstayrich. Presumably, those seventeen people were kidding. He mulled thisover--and considered how twenty-five of his classmates, some of whomhe'd been attending school with for twelve years, could possibly havewanted to "know him better." As if they hadn't had a chance.

But mostly for those fourteen hours, he read and reread KatherineXIX's inscription:

Col,

Here's to all the places we went. And all the places we'll go. Andhere's me, whispering again and again and again and again:iloveyou.

yrs forever, K-a-t-h-e-r-i-n-e

Eventually, he found the bed too comfortable for his state of mind, so he laydown on his back, his legs sprawled across the carpet. He anagrammed "yrsforever" until he found one he liked: sorry fever. And then he lay there in hisfever of sorry and repeated the now memorized note in his head and wantedto cry, but instead he only felt this aching behind his solar plexus. Cryingadds something: crying is you, plus tears. But the feeling Colin had wassome horrible opposite of crying. It was you, minus something. He keptthinking about one word--forever--and felt the burning ache just beneathhis rib cage.It hurt like the worst ass-kicking he'd ever gotten. And he'd gotten plenty.

(1) Greek: "I have found it."

(2) More on that later.

Excerpted from An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

From the #1 bestselling author of Turtles All the Way Down and The Fault in Our Stars

Michael L. Printz Honor Book
Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist
New York Times Bestseller

When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton’s type is girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact. On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judge Judy–loving best friend riding shotgun—but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl. Love, friendship, and a dead Austro-Hungarian archduke add up to surprising and heart-changing conclusions in this ingeniously layered comic novel about reinventing oneself.


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