Katherine V thought boys were gross
Katherine X just wanted to be friends
Katherine XVIII dumped him in an e-mail
K-19 broke his heart
When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton’s type happens to be girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact.
Colin Singleton is a 17-year-old child prodigy. He could read at the age of two and hasn’t stopped learning since then. His parents try to help him by setting markers, a different word for goals, for him. He is most of all good with languages. He speaks a lot of them and is able to anagram almost anything. So far, Colin has been good at being a child prodigy but he fears that his abilities will not translate to being a genius. See, being a child prodigy doesn’t automatically mean that you will matter later in life but mattering is exactly what Colin wants to do. He wants to matter.
Colin has exactly one friend, Hassan, a lazy Muslim who is Judge Judy obsessed and loves doing nothing. It is Hassan who peels Colin off of his bedroom floor when Katherine-XIX has dumped him, breaking his heart. In his life, Colin has had one weakness and that is girls called Katherine. So far he has met and dated 19 Katherines in his life and he has become a expert in being dumped by girls named Katherine. However, it was the last Katherine that really broke his heart.
Hassan convinces Colin to take a road trip with him in order to get over the latest Katherine disaster and somehow they end up in a little town called Gutshot, Tennessee where the alleged grave of Achduke Franz Ferdinand is. There they meet a girl called Lindsey, who takes them on the ‘tour’ to the grave. They also meet Lindsey’s boyfriend who is also called Colin and is thusly baptized The Other Colin (TOC).
It is in Gutshot, Tennesee that Colin finally gets his long desired ‘Eureka’ moment when he figures out that there should be a mathematical equation for predicting the duration of relationships and, more importantly, for predicting who will dump who. So Colin and Hassan stay in Gutshot, getting a job with Lindsey’s mother Hollis while Colin works on his theorem and while Hassan enjoys a new found freedom.
Oh John Green.. How you amaze me. After reading the Fault in Our Stars I fell in love with your writing. After finding Vlogbrothers, I fell in love with you and your brother and now, you have made me fall in love with Colin. and Hassan. And even Lindsey.
To be fair, The Fault in Our Stars is still number 1 on my John Green list but Katherines is almost equally amazing, even if it took me a while longer to read.
What I love about John Green is that he assumes that his readers are intelligent. He is not scared to use ‘big words’ and even extremely complicated mathematical equations. True enough, the maths themselves is not a crucial part of the story but still. Kudos to residential mathematician Daniel Biss for actually figuring out the maths in the story.
What I especially loved about this book is the use of footnotes in this book. There are a lot of footnotes used to explain certain things, from translations to Colin’s background to historical facts or general explanations. I didn’t read it as Colin telling me these things, I read it as John himself whispering in my ear, making reading this book almost intimate. I haven’t seen this in any other book and I was very impressed with it.
It’s a gripping, funny and interesting story about a boy who is finding himself by doing things that he wouldn’t normally do, talking to people he wouldn’t normally talk to and figuring out that maybe, he isn’t as important as he thinks he is.
I have started reading Looking for Alaska now, John’s first book, and I also couldn’t resist buying Paper Towns and Will Grayson, Will Grayson who was co-written by David Lavithan. I am just completely in love with everything Green.
I recommend this book and all his books to everyone. It IS a Young Adult book but it doesn’t read that way. It’s suitable reading material for everyone. Young and old, boys and girls and everything in between. Read it and you’ll fall in love with his book as much as I have.
So please, give it a go. You won’t regret it.