An Abundance of Katherines

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
An Abundance of Katherines Book Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Funny, quirky tale of slacker geeks' road trip to Tennessee.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 40 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Lots of intellectual play in this novel, and the appendix includes an explanation of the math behind the Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability.

Positive Messages

Colin deals with anxieties and fears that most young adults face as they embark on the greatest adventure of their lives: adulthood. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Even teens who don't relate to Colin's feelings of being a failed prodigy will understand anxieties about growing up and his quest for a "Eureka" moment.

Violence

A rather nasty fistfight.

Sex

None described, but some hinted at; references to orgasm and oral sex, making out.

Language

Plenty of strong language, including "s--t," "ass," "damn," "bastard," and various euphemisms for the male organ.

Consumerism

Fast-food restaurants, Nicorette.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Beer drinking, chewing tobacco.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that An Abundance of Katherines is a quirky novel by John Green (The Fault in Our Stars) about teen boys who take a road trip to Tennessee, where they get jobs recording the locals' oral histories in the town of Gutshot. There's strong language (including "s--t," "ass," "damn," bastard" and various euphemisms for the male organ) and references to sex, orgasms, and oral sex. While less graphic than many young adult books, the book has some mature themes, including the reality of teens facing their anxieties and fears as they grow up.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byBraedon P. September 18, 2017

An Abudamce Of Katherines

First off praise John Green he is an amazing author for young adult only!This book was so good!But it had its adult parts such as Language (Hell, S**t, D**n, B*... Continue reading
Adult Written byFreet December 21, 2010

John Green is 'da man'

John Green never disappoints. This story is just another shining example the incredible stories a brilliant mind can create. I must admit that, while this is no... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written bythelovelykat September 6, 2014

Really easy read

This novel begins with a sullen and upset Colin Singleton who just broke up with his last girlfriend (the 19th girl he's dated named Katherine). To be tota... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bycolorsgirl February 16, 2012

Funny, nerdy, math-geek style love story

This is a funny book. It's also very nerdy. If you aren't a nerd or don't enjoy nerdy things, there is a chance you won't like this book...t... Continue reading

What's the story?

Colin is a former child prodigy who has just graduated from high school as valedictorian -- and has just been dumped by the 19th girl he's dated named Katherine (well, 18th, really: One of them dumped him twice). He is in a deep funk, worried that all of his early promise will add up to nothing, and that his talents -- for absorbing knowledge, working hard, languages, trivia, and anagrams -- aren't really of any use in the real world. When his best friend, Hassan, a genial if lazy lout, decides Colin needs a road trip, they soon wash up in Gutshot, Tennessee, where they get a job recording oral histories from the town's residents. While there, Colin works on what he sees as his last shot at mattering: a mathematical formula to predict the course of romantic relationships: the Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability.

Is it any good?

This delightful exercise in geek chic hums along on the strength of three central characters who have failed to live up to their potential -- and also have no clue what their potential is. There's no real plot to speak of, no action except for one fight, and the text assumes at least a tolerance of, if not interest in, the things that interest Colin -- and the author. And even fans may be disappointed in Colin's rather obvious and trite revelations and epiphanies, which are expounded on at great length.

Ultimately, though, readers who like intriguing characters and intellectual play will find this book lots of fun. And teens will certainly relate to the anxieties and fears of these young adults about to embark on the greatest adventure of their lives: adulthood.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about road trip stories. Can you think of any other books -- or even movies -- that feature teens or young adults hitting the road in search of themselves?

  • Why are road trip stories so popular? Why do they make for good stories?

  • Have you read other John Green books? How does this one compare? Do you think he understands teens well and that his work reflects their real lives? 

Book details

For kids who love edgy books

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