The name featured in the title of this novel is not just the name of one character, but nineteen.
Protagonist Colin has dated nineteen girls – each of them called Katherine – and this novel mainly revolves around his quest to make a mathematical formula to predict the outcome of a relationship before it has even begun. A quest spawned from the fact that all nineteen Katherines have dumped him.
My issues with this novel lie in the characters – I haven’t come across a protagonist I found so un-engaging since my sixth attempt at reading Catcher in the Rye. Colin Singleton is morose, whiny, ridiculous and far too preoccupied with ‘mattering’ at the expense of actually doing anything.
Hey Colin, maybe that’s why nineteen Katherines dumped you? Just a thought…
Even the supporting characters were forgettable. Hassan (The comedy sidekick) Lindsay (The girl next door) and The Other Colin (The antagonist) all felt really two dimensional and I didn’t engage with them any more than I did with Colin. Strong supporting characters can sometimes save a flagging novel – it’s a pity it didn’t happen here.
The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns are two of my favourite examples of YA literature – but it pains me to say that AAoK just lacks something that I can’t quite put my finger on.
Perhaps it’s because it’s one of Green’s earlier novels (actually his second after Looking For Alaska) but it just fell flat with me and it was a genuine struggle to finish because unfortunately I just really didn’t care about Colin, his algorithm, the tampon string factory or the grave of Archduke Franz Ferdinand.
Read This Book if You Like: David Levithan, Rainbow Rowell, Jennifer Niven
‘An Abundance of Katherines’ by John Green is published by Penguin and is available for £7.99.