Thumbs up for An Abundance of Katherines by John Green. Young adult.
I have to confess that I have a bit of a crush on both John Green and his brother Hank. Given that my last (and incidentally first) crush – circa 1998 – was on Mr Spock, who, as one might note, is not even a real person, this is saying something. One of my reasons is the fact that John Green writes books like An Abundance of Katherines, which are so much better than most of what passes for modern adult literature that it’s rather embarrassing. Not to put too fine a point on it, but I like to read books by authors who are smarter, better read and also substantially funnier than I am. (Or watch their YouTube videos: here’s Hank on science and here’s John on history.) Okay, so this is supposed to be a book review, not a fangirl squee. The main character of Katherines is the child prodigy Colin, who is facing the unfortunate fact that he is no longer a child and thus has to find a new identity other than “child prodigy.” Also, he keeps getting dumped by girls named Katherine. Colin is an original character but I have to say his friend Hassan steals the show. The surface joy of the book is in the banter between the characters. But what sets Green’s books apart from other funny books is their unabashed intelligence (there is an appendix with math – strictly optional) and the fact that, in a quiet way, they are wise as well as smart. Also, I am a sucker for funny footnotes.
Hassan looked up and spoke to Lindsey through the rearview mirror. “No fugging way. Tht’s how horror movies start. We drop you off, walk into some stranger’s house, and five minutes later some psycho’s lobbing off my nuts with a machete while his schizophrenic wife makes Colin do push-ups on a bed off hot coals. You’re coming with us.”
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