John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines (Penguin Random House) shines in the young-adult category. In fact, it’s a 2007 Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book. The contemporary story reels readers in with a relatable plot and “an abundance of” unique features that flip Humdrum on its head. Although published in 2006, the read is timeless.
Colin Singleton keeps getting dumped by girls named Katherine. He’s in a sad state after the latest breakup, so his friend pushes him to take a road trip. The journey runs side by side with Colin’s quest to figure out a math formula that will predict outcomes of future relationships. As the teen puts his nose to the grind, he sweats profusely in the sweltering setting. The mood would be unbearably intense if humor weren’t lurking in unexpected places.
Graphics, footnotes—yes, footnotes—and an appendix bring comic relief. Illustrations highlight the humor in Colin’s math. They depict his theorem, which reinvents the parabola into a “Dumper/Dumpee” paradigm. An upward parabola (which looks like a smile) predicts a good relationship outcome; a downward parabola, a bad outcome. Footnotes provide story insight, fun facts, and a reference to “The Appendix.” Here, “one can find a semi-exhaustive explanation of the math invoked herein” (61).
The temperature rises literally and figuratively as Colin nears a solution to his theorem and his long-awaited Eureka! moment. The heat brings simmering humor to a rolling boil. In fact, by the end of An Abundance of Katherines, I was in stitches—and I’d gained a new appreciation for footnotes. Therefore, I recommend this book . . . abundantly!