An Abundance of Katherines

An Abundance of Katherines

by John Green

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Overview

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

From the #1 bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars 

Michael L. Printz Honor Book
Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist


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.

On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun--but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl.

Love, friendship, and a dead Austro-Hungarian archduke add up to surprising and heart-changing conclusions in this ingeniously layered comic novel about reinventing oneself.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781440629792
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 08/14/2008
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 47,155
Lexile: 890L (what's this?)
File size: 4 MB
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

John Green is the award-winning, #1 bestselling author of Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, Paper Towns, Will Grayson, Will Grayson (with David Levithan), and The Fault in Our Stars. His many accolades include the Printz Medal, a Printz Honor, and the Edgar Award. He has twice been a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize. John was selected by TIME magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. With his brother, Hank, John is one half of the Vlogbrothers (youtube.com/vlogbrothers), one of the most popular online video projects in the world. You can join the millions who follow John on Twitter (@realjohngreen) and tumblr (fishingboatproceeds.tumblr.com) or visit him online at johngreenbooks.com.

John lives with his family in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Read an Excerpt

(one)

The morning after noted child prodigy Colin Singleton graduated fromhigh school and got dumped for the nineteenth time by a girl named Katherine,he took a bath. Colin had always preferred baths; one of his general policiesin life was never to do anything standing up that could just as easily bedone lying down. He climbed into the tub as soon as the water got hot, andhe sat and watched with a curiously blank look on his face as the water overtookhim. The water inched up his legs, which were crossed and folded intothe tub. He did recognize, albeit faintly, that he was too long, and too big, forthis bathtub—he looked like a mostly grown person playing at being a kid.As the water began to splash over his skinny but unmuscled stomach,he thought of Archimedes. When Colin was about four, he read a bookabout Archimedes, the Greek philosopher who’d discovered that volumecould be measured by water displacement when he sat down in the bathtub.Upon making this discovery, Archimedes supposedly shouted “Eureka!”[1] and then ran naked through the streets. The book said that manyimportant discoveries contained a “Eureka moment.” And even then, Colinvery much wanted to have some important discoveries, so he asked hismom about it when she got home that evening.

“Mommy, am I ever going to have a Eureka moment?”

“Oh, sweetie,” she said, taking his hand. “What’s wrong?”

“I wanna have a Eureka Moment,” he said, the way another kid mighthave expressed longing for a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.

She pressed the back of her hand to his cheek and smiled, her face soclose to his that he could smell coffee and makeup. “Of course, Colin baby.Of course you will.”

But mothers lie. It’s in the job description.

Colin took a deep breath and slid down, immersing his head. I am crying, hethought, opening his eyes to stare through the soapy, stinging water. I feellike crying, so I must be crying, but it’s impossible to tell because I’m underwater.But he wasn’t crying. Curiously, he felt too depressed to cry. Too hurt.It felt as if she’d taken the part of him that cried.

He opened the drain in the tub, stood up, toweled off, and got dressed.When he exited the bathroom, his parents were sitting together on his bed.It was never a good sign when both his parents were in his room at the sametime. Over the years it had meant:

1. Your grandmother/grandfather/Aunt-Suzie-whom-you-never-met-but-trust-me-she-was-nice-and-it’s-a-shame is dead.

2. You’re letting a girl named Katherine distract you from your studies.

3. Babies are made through an act that you will eventually find intriguingbut for right now will just sort of horrify you, and also sometimespeople do stuff that involves baby-making parts that does not actuallyinvolve making babies, like for instance kiss each other in placesthat are not on the face.

It never meant:

4. A girl named Katherine called while you were in the bathtub. She’ssorry. She still loves you and has made a terrible mistake and is waitingfor you downstairs.

But even so, Colin couldn’t help but hope that his parents were in the roomto provide news of the Number 4 variety. He was a generally pessimistic person,but he seemed to make an exception for Katherines: he always felt theywould come back to him. The feeling of loving her and being loved by herwelled up in him, and he could taste the adrenaline in the back of histhroat, and maybe it wasn’t over, and maybe he could feel her hand in hisagain and hear her loud, brash voice contort itself into a whisper to sayI-love-you in the very quick and quiet way that she had always said it. Shesaid I love you as if it were a secret, and an immense one.

His dad stood up and stepped toward him. “Katherine called my cell,”he said. “She’s worried about you.” Colin felt his dad’s hand on his shoulder,and then they both moved forward, and then they were hugging.

“We’re very concerned,” his mom said. She was a small woman withcurly brown hair that had one single shock of white toward the front. “Andstunned,” she added. “What happened?”

“I don’t know,” Colin said softly into his dad’s shoulder. “She’s just—she’d had enough of me. She got tired. That’s what she said.” And then hismom got up and there was a lot of hugging, arms everywhere, and his momwas crying. Colin extricated himself from the hugs and sat down on his bed.He felt a tremendous need to get them out of his room immediately, like ifthey didn’t leave he would blow up. Literally. Guts on the walls; his prodigiousbrain emptied out onto his bedspread.

“Well, at some point we need to sit down and assess your options,” hisdad said. His dad was big on assessing. “Not to look for silver linings, but itseems like you’ll now have some free time this summer. A summer class atNorthwestern, maybe?”

“I really need to be alone, just for today,” Colin answered, trying to conveya sense of calm so that they would leave and he wouldn’t blow up. “Socan we assess tomorrow?”

“Of course, sweetie,” his mom said. “We’ll be here all day. You justcome down whenever you want and we love you and you’re so so special,Colin, and you can’t possibly let this girl make you think otherwise becauseyou are the most magnificent, brilliant boy—” And right then, the mostspecial, magnificent, brilliant boy bolted into his bathroom and puked hisguts out. An explosion, sort of.

“Oh, Colin!” shouted his mom.

“I just need to be alone,” Colin insisted from the bathroom. “Please.”When he came out, they were gone.

For the next fourteen hours without pausing to eat or drink or throw upagain, Colin read and reread his yearbook, which he had received just fourdays before. Aside from the usual yearbook crap, it contained seventy-twosignatures. Twelve were just signatures, fifty-six cited his intelligence,twenty-five said they wished they’d known him better, eleven said it was funto have him in English class, seven included the words “pupillary sphincter,”[2] and a stunning seventeen ended, “Stay Cool!” Colin Singleton couldno more stay cool than a blue whale could stayskinny or Bangladesh couldstayrich. Presumably, those seventeen people were kidding. He mulled thisover—and considered how twenty-five of his classmates, some of whomhe’d been attending school with for twelve years, could possibly havewanted to “know him better.” As if they hadn’t had a chance.

But mostly for those fourteen hours, he read and reread KatherineXIX’s inscription:

Col,

Here’s to all the places we went. And all the places we’ll go. Andhere’s me, whispering again and again and again and again:iloveyou.

yrs forever, K-a-t-h-e-r-i-n-e

Eventually, he found the bed too comfortable for his state of mind, so he laydown on his back, his legs sprawled across the carpet. He anagrammed “yrsforever” until he found one he liked: sorry fever. And then he lay there in hisfever of sorry and repeated the now memorized note in his head and wantedto cry, but instead he only felt this aching behind his solar plexus. Cryingadds something: crying is you, plus tears. But the feeling Colin had wassome horrible opposite of crying. It was you, minus something. He keptthinking about one word—forever—and felt the burning ache just beneathhis rib cage.It hurt like the worst ass-kicking he’d ever gotten. And he’d gotten plenty.

(1) Greek: “I have found it.”

(2) More on that later.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher


An ALA Best Book for Young Adults
A Horn Book Fanfare Best Book of the Year
A Booklist Editors’ Choice
A Kirkus Best Book of the Year

"Fully fun, challengingly complex and entirely entertaining." Kirkus, starred review

“Laugh-out-loud funny…a coming-of-age American road trip that is at once a satire of and tribute to its many celebrated predecessors.” –Horn Book, starred review

“Imagine an operating room at the start of a daring but well-rehearsed procedure and you will have something of the atmosphere of “An Abundance of Katherines”: every detail considered, the action unrolling with grace and inevitability.” --New York Times Book Review

“Funny, sweet, and unpredictable.” –The Minneapolis Star Tribune

“The laugh-out-loud humor ranges from delightfully sophomoric to subtly intellectual.” –Booklist, starred review

Customer Reviews

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An Abundance of Katherines 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 436 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you had the opportunity to devise a theorem that could correctly predict the outcome of a romantic relationship, would you do it? If it worked, would you use it? Can it even be done? This is the problem plaguing Colin Singleton, recent high school graduate, nearly-former child prodigy, hopeful genius. Colin, you see, has a significant problem. He falls in love quite easily, which in and of itself isn't such a bad thing. The fact that all of his loves, nineteen of them to be exact, have been named Katherine can even be explained away by some form of twisted scientific method. What can't be explained, though, is why Colin has been dumped by all nineteen of those Katherines. When he's dumped by the love of his life, Katherine XIX, he finds himself in a bad place. He can no longer call himself a child prodigy, since he's graduated from high school. He's not a genius, because he's never come up with anything that will change the world. There's an empty place inside of him where his latest Katherine's love used to live, and he doesn't know what to do with himself. Until Hassan Harbish (Muslim, but not a terrorist) devises a way to get Colin out of his funk--a road trip. With no destination in mind, the two set off in The Hearse, Colin's car, and go where the road leads them. Where it leads them is a small town called Gutshot, Tennessee, where Colin gets the urge to see the supposed grave of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. It's also where the two meet Lindsey Lee Wells and her mother, Hollis. Not to mention where they get to live in a giant Pepto Bismol-pink house on a hill, interview employees of a factory that makes tampon strings, and eat Monster Thickburgers at the local Hardees. It's also the place where Colin decides to finish the Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability. Assign numerical value to different variables, plot it on a graph, and you'll be able to predict how long a relationship will last--and who will be the dumper, and who will be the dumpee. Except Colin forgot some pertinent information, like chance, and distorted memories, and the fact that love is never predictable. As Colin and Hassan learn a few things about life in the small town of Gutshot, we get to follow their journey of learning to grow up, to make a name for yourself, and how to matter as a person. I loved AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES, even more than Mr. Green's previous book, LOOKING FOR ALASKA. That book won the prestigious Michael L. Printz award, and I won't be surprised if this book is nominated, as well. This story is funny, poignant, and informative. For example, if I hadn't read AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES I would never have known that: 1) Fetor hepaticus is a symptom of late-stage liver failure where your breath literally smells like a rotting corpse. 2) The junior senator from New Hampshire in 1873 was Bainbridge Wadleigh. 3) There is absolutely no scientific proof that drinking eight glasses of water a day will improve your health. 4) Dingleberries can be anagrammed into see inbred girl lie breeds grin leering debris greed be nil, sir be idle re. rings ringside rebel and residing rebel. 5) Nikola Tesla did a lot for electricity before Thomas Edison came along and stole some of his ideas, and he also loved pigeons. 6) I still suck at math. Order this book today. It's great, you'll love it, and you'll actually learn stuff. Three for the price of one!
Millie13 More than 1 year ago
Witty, empathetic, and charming don't even begin to cover the beginning pages of this most enjoyable book. An Abundance of Katherines is the story of a young man named Colin who believes he is no more than a washed-up child prodigy who has been dumped by his girlfriend Katherine - for the nineteenth time. So, in order to recover from his broken heart, he and his Muslim friend, Hassan, decide to take a little roadtrip and wind up in Gutshot, TN where the coming of age story begins. I couldn't put this book down if I tried, and I often reread it just for fun. I can't get enough!
Guest More than 1 year ago
John Green has written a fantastically humorous book. The characters are very real and I found it easy to relate to them. Full of fun, infused with a few questions about mattering, and a whole lot of smart-aleck remarks, I made my friends read this or told them it was very worthwhile. For those with a great sense of humor, I especially recommend it!
Awesomeness1 More than 1 year ago
Heehee, this books was so funny. However predictable it might have been, I loved it. It was refreshing and filled with interesting trivia. The characters were great and memorable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Did anyone else think it's funny how Hanks wife's name is katherine and this book is called an abundance of katherines and the main character is a very smart guy just like hank?
KatrinaO More than 1 year ago
A novel on understanding how the brilliant mind works. Though the novel "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" is way much better, this is still a good read. But Among John Green's works, The Fault in our Stars and Looking for Alaska tops the list.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
If you had the opportunity to devise a theorem that could correctly predict the outcome of a romantic relationship, would you do it? If it worked, would you use it? Can it even be done? This is the problem plaguing Colin Singleton, recent high school graduate, nearly-former child prodigy, hopeful genius. Colin, you see, has a significant problem. He falls in love quite easily, which in and of itself isn't such a bad thing. The fact that all of his loves, nineteen of them to be exact, have been named Katherine can even be explained away by some form of twisted scientific method. What can't be explained, though, is why Colin has been dumped by all nineteen of those Katherines.

When he's dumped by the love of his life, Katherine XIX, he finds himself in a bad place. He can no longer call himself a child prodigy, since he's graduated from high school. He's not a genius, because he's never come up with anything that will change the world. There's an empty place inside of him where his latest Katherine's love used to live, and he doesn't know what to do with himself. Until Hassan Harbish (Muslim, but not a terrorist) devises a way to get Colin out of his funk--a road trip. With no destination in mind, the two set off in The Hearse, Colin's car, and go where the road leads them.

Where it leads them is a small town called Gutshot, Tennessee, where Colin gets the urge to see the supposed grave of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. It's also where the two meet Lindsey Lee Wells and her mother, Hollis. Not to mention where they get to live in a giant Pepto Bismol-pink house on a hill, interview employees of a factory that makes tampon strings, and eat Monster Thickburgers at the local Hardees.

It's also the place where Colin decides to finish the Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability. Assign numerical value to different variables, plot it on a graph, and you'll be able to predict how long a relationship will last--and who will be the dumper, and who will be the dumpee. Except Colin forgot some pertinent information, like chance, and distorted memories, and the fact that love is never predictable. As Colin and Hassan learn a few things about life in the small town of Gutshot, we get to follow their journey of learning to grow up, to make a name for yourself, and how to matter as a person.

I loved AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES, even more than Mr. Green's previous book, LOOKING FOR ALASKA. That book won the prestigious Michael L. Printz award, and I won't be surprised if this book is nominated, as well. This story is funny, poignant, and informative. For example, if I hadn't read AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES I would never have known that:

1) Fetor hepaticus is a symptom of late-stage liver failure where your breath literally smells like a rotting corpse.
2) The junior senator from New Hampshire in 1873 was Bainbridge Wadleigh.
3) There is absolutely no scientific proof that drinking eight glasses of water a day will improve your health.
4) Dingleberries can be anagrammed into see inbred girl; lie breeds grin; leering debris; greed be nil, sir; be idle re. rings; ringside rebel; and residing rebel.
5) Nikola Tesla did a lot for electricity before Thomas Edison came along and stole some of his ideas, and he also loved pigeons.
6) I still suck at math.

Order this book today. It's great, you'll love it, and you'll actually learn stuff. Three for the price of one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
French the llama, i love being a nerd and the amazing literature that comes with being involved with this amazing society. (:
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Exceptionally nerdy. DFTBA
Sazielle More than 1 year ago
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green, which was published in 2006 had a lot of amazing stuff. The main characters: Colin Singleton, Hassan (Colin's best friend), Lindsey, and TOC (the other Colin) are all a bunch of unique and nearly spunky characters. It starts out with the current situation of Colin Singleton's life. He had almost everything he needed and wanted n life, except for 2 things: being a genius and his 19th ex-girlfriend, Katherine. Hassan, his best friend decides for him a road trip to go on in order for Colin to forget K-19 (Katherine the 19th). However, as they go on their road trip to the east they catch a billboard saying that the Archduke Franz Ferdinand lied resting in peace in "Gutshot", Tennessee. There they meet others, like Lindsey and TOC resulting in love problems and development, cheating, fighting, smart remarks/footnotes, and Eureka moments. The problem Colin faces is with his insight on trying to be a successful genius, being comfortable being dumped for the 19th time, and sticking (or at least trying to) stick up for the girl who he thinks he fell for. One can learn that if one figuratively has a missing piece broken off from inside of them and later received it back it can never fit the whole it left again. However, one can learn to grow a new piece and forgive why the old piece was missing, but never forget it. They can heal over time. John Green uses a lot of jokes through Hassan, using conflicting details and also using remarkable, smart notes and remarks through Colin Dingleton. This book has 228 pages up to the end of the appendix. I recommend it to all people who like to read something of a journey along with romance, comedy and eureka moments. I give this book a 5 star rating!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My mom and I read this to each other on the seven-hour long ride on the way home from Iowa a few weeks ago, and we were both in stitches laughing so hard! I love John Greene's writing style and subtle (or not) sense of humor. Colin and Hassan, the two main characters, are two teenagers you won't forget.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book about adolescent trials and tribulations is sure to have you in stitches throughout all of the pages. It is simple and heart-warming, and the humor is unmistakingly 18-19 year old boy-esque, but also sophisticated. I read this for a book club, and three of us ladies have taken to using a certain word from this book (you will know it when you read it). Great read- you won't be sorry you picked it up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is hard to understand but interesting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I cant read anything but the sample! I bought the book twice and i still cant read anything except the sample? MAYBE IM DOING SOMETHING WRONG. But no, I just bought 20$ worth of Katherine! REDICULOUS
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I, in all honesty, was disappointed. I read this book for a book report assignment and found myself wishing I had chosen a book with a better plot. I couldn't enjoy the book that much because it has little direction and I felt like the ending tied up no loose ends whatsoever. Aside from all of that, the book wasn't that bad. After all, it is a John Green book. This is just not my favorite. There were parts I laughed out loud at, and parts where I just really appreciated the writing. Although, I couldn't help but notice the similarities between this book, Paper Towns, and Looking For Alaska...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love John Green books and the first (and only other) book of his that i read wasTFiOS. I understand that it sets the bar high, but this book doesnt even seem like his! I am a little less than half way and still have no motivation to read it.This book feels slow paced and just boring. If you still want to read this, it is good for high school.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I honestly don't find this book at all interesting. I read TFIOS and Looking for Alaska, and I love John Green. The lanuage was so crazy and the characters were played out too much.  It was totally predictable when Colin and Lindsey get together. I just didn't like it, nor did I understand it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wanted to keep going and find out what became of the characters
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Definitely recommend
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A fun read, socialogically speaking....if you think about it. Best read in a chapter-a-day fashion to savor the brainy timbits.
Christy Grenier More than 1 year ago
:) you would understand if u are a nerdfighter
MarkieLee More than 1 year ago
I was referred to this book by a friend who said I ablsolutely HAD to read it, so I went to the store and bought it. For me, reading is difficult and it can take me up to months to finish one book, especially if im not interested in it, but Looking For Alaska took me one week exactly to read. I could'nt put it down! I loved this book and it was the first of John Green's i have read, but I plan to read his two others as soon as possible! I recommend this book for any teen who likes a good story in general, it keeps you on the edge of your seat and it really makes you feel like you yourself come to know the characters in the book. I absolutely loved it :)
h2ojustaddwaterrox More than 1 year ago
This is by far one of my favorite books. I thought it was funny, refreshing. don't read it if you are 12 or under. John Green is one of my favorite authors!
Owil More than 1 year ago
While not as powerful as his first novel, "Looking for Alaska", John Green still holds his own in "An Abundance of Katherines" with witty characters and "fugging" interesting footnotes that are sure to make you giggle. This is definitely a book to read when you need a little pick-me-up after a hard day.
JMTJTC 5 months ago
“Books are the ultimate Dumpees: put them down and they’ll wait for you forever; pay attention to them and they always love you back.” Genre: Young Adult Fiction. Number of Pages: 229. Perspective: Third. Location: Tennessee. This book follows Colin, a not-quite child prodigy as he searches for a mathematical formula for understanding getting dumped by not one, not two, but nineteen different Katherines. I love John Green. I hated this book. It was one of his first books so I can understand (and appreciate) that his novels improved over time. But, man, this book just had me repeatedly asking: why do I care? The main drive of the book is for Colin to make a formula about your odds of being dumped. Why does he care? And if he really is as awkward and unlikeable as people say, how can he POSSIBLY find 19 girls named Katherine (and get all of them to date him, even if for just a little time)? I am all for a little leeway in young adult books about parental leniency. But I really can’t believe his parents would let him go n a road trip and live with strangers in a small town for a summer. And why would the strangers invite random people to stay with them? There were more unanswered questions than solved problems. I didn’t see the point of the story and I couldn’t get into the anagrams, theorems, or random facts in the form of footnotes. I think he tried too hard to be unique. This was a complete miss. To read my full review, go here: http://judgingmorethanjustthecover.blogspot.com/2018/07/an-abundance-of-katherines-john-green.html