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Review: "An Abundance of Katherines," by John Green


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As much as I liked "The Fault of our Stars" I didn't necessarily care for "An Abundance of Katherines". I read "Fault" two years ago spurred on by a positive review in the New York Times. Actually the Times had reviewed two books that day, both concerned with teenagers dying of cancer. "Fault" becomes an international bestseller (and not without cause) and the other sunk down into literary oblivion. So, I thought I'd give him another shot, thinking that Green might be the new flavor of YA novels. This was a short story at best. The premise that Colin, our protagonist, semi-genius, semi-nerd, had been dumped by a number of Katherines over his lifetime was a cute set-up, but who really cares. His sidekick Hassan is rather bland and all the other characters, save for Lindsey, were nothing but caricatures. I really didn't care about any of them. The writing was flat, serviceable at best. I have had any number of students who could have written as well. The storyline was implausible. Parents who hover over Colin allow him to go on a summer long adventure driving his car with Hassan...well, anywhere he wants to go, yet he has to call home at a precise time every night? The characters in Tennessee just seemed thin and clichéd. Green does a nice job though of presenting Colin's new love (not a Katherine) in a deeper and wider characterization. She appears to have more of everything. Life, vigor, thoughts, introspection. I feel like I get her and wouldn't mind

knowing her. Why she would like Colin, I'm still not sure.

The book I read had about 30-40 pages left at the end which comprised the opening chapter of "Fault". I was completely surprised when "Katherines" came to and end and very unsatisfied, believing that I still had 30-40 pages to go because it simply dropped the ball as if a basketball game was halted midway through the second half. I did not see this as "Look how the author had you hooked and you wanted more?!" but more as "Are you kidding me? That's all there is? Where's the beef?" Do I give Green one more shot...I'll have to debate that. "Katherines" - D. "Fault" - B, not a great book, but who doesn't enjoy dying teenagers in love.