Despite being a child prodigy, Colin Singleton is not good at a lot of things. He’s not good at making friends. He’s not good making the transition from child prodigy to adult genius. He’s not good at resisting girls named Katherine. He’s not good at preventing them from breaking his heart. Nineteen times.
After being dumped by Katherine 19 (K-19), Colin is devastated. He can’t understand why K-19 dumped him and wallows in his room for days, trying to figure out a mathematical formula to understand this, until his best friend Hassan pushes him out of the house and on a road trip across the country.
In Gutshot, Tennessee, Colin discovers the fallibility of his own memory, as he tries to reconcile the truth of being dumped nineteen times all by girls named Katherine. As he faces the end of the summer and perhaps the end of being a child prodigy, Colin realises that you can’t completely erase the past, because it helps you grow.
This was a funny book. And I don’t mean funny in a strange way, but in a literally-laugh-out-loud book. I can’t count how many times I grinned or chuckled while reading this book, while also feeling heart-warmed.
I have to be honest with you all; I couldn’t finish John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. I know how everyone except me seems to love it, so I’ve kept my dislike pretty quiet up till now. I’d pretty much written off John Green, except then I heard about An Abundance of Katherines and I decided to give him another chance. And I’m so glad I did. 😀
Another confession: I don’t often read boy boys. Actually, scratch that. I NEVER read boy books. Except for maybe Harry Potter, but that never felt like a boy book. Call me what you will, but I tend to shy away from books narrated from the male point of view, specifically in the YA genre. In general adult fiction, I’m fine. But for some reason, I just can’t do it in YA.
But this didn’t feel like a boy book. Colin was such a relatable character. Although I’m no child prodigy, I could definitely understand his aches and pains about being so successful and famous as a child, only to amount to nothing (as he thinks) as an adult. His struggles to relate to other people, especially his peers, were understandable about, because I know how so may people (both teens and adults) went through this or are going through this. Throughout most of the book, I just wanted to give Colin a big hug, because he was trying so hard to be likeable and not rattle off facts like an encyclopedia, but couldn’t quite control himself.
So like I said, it’s a funny book. There’s a lot of humour in the book, especially in the way Colin and Hassan interact and the silly things they do. Theirs is a friendship that is deep, but in a totally different way from a friendship between two girls. They have their issues, and things that they don’t like about each other; but they also have communication and jokes and love and a deep sense of loyalty. Their relationship doesn’t remain stagnant through the story, but instead grows and changes. Their friendship was probably one of my favourite parts of the book.
There is romance, but it doesn’t consume the story. The story is about Colin and his desire to understand and like himself, and that’s what the focus is on. Colin grows up a lot throughout the story, which was a treat to read about.
Also, can I just say how awesome it was to read about a Muslim character in a YA novel? I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a Muslim character in YA, so I was kind of jumping up and down in my seat when he was introduced. 😀
I haven’t been having the most luck with books lately, so it was nice to kick back and relax and read this. Funny, sweet, and even poignant at times, An Abundance of Katherines was an excellent read! I’m so glad I didn’t give up on John Green, because now I’m itching to read his other books. 🙂
So for that: 4/5.
Thanks for reading,