An Abundance of Katherines – John Green

 “How do you just stop being terrified of getting left behind and ending up by yourself forever and not meaning anything to the world?” 

It’s a known fact that I think John Green is a genius and I ended up buying and devouring any book of his I pick up. I chose An Abundance of  Katherines as my third John Green novel to read about Paper Towns although this novel isn’t bad I wish I had chosen to pick up the latter.

Colin Singleton is a child prodigy, his mind is incredible and he is expected to do incredible things, that is until he hits a limit and start to wonder if he’ll ever have a ‘eureka’ moment. It doesn’t help that Colin has yet again been dumped by another Katherine, number 19 to be exact. To get away from it all, with the help of friend Hassan the two boys take a road trip after graduation and end up in Gutshot, Tennessee and end up having a very different experience to what they had planned.

While the pair find summer jobs in Gutshot and make friends with the beautiful Lindsey, Colin still has Katherine’s on the brain. He settles down to work on the mathematical likelihood of relationships, starting with Katherine one and working through them to perfect the equation. Although it doesn’t sound amusing it is and doesn’t take up the whole book which I was thoughtful for. What I think this novel is really about is a young guy who’s trying to work himself out through the only way he knows, math.

Although the novel was interesting and again Green has worked his magic at making believable characters and that loveable and slightly annoying nerd at the centre of it all, I wasn’t as hooked as I had been with previous novels. Throughout the novel I really didn’t understand the importance of all the Katherines and felt quite confused by it all! On top of that, to match Colin’s character there are a lot of foot notes with various explanations, comments etc and for me it didn’t help. I like getting lost in a novel and I just felt that the footnotes took away from that and made me think about them too much. Although that said I know people who found that to be the best part of the novel, so it really is down to personal preference.

I want to give An Abundance of Katherines 3 stars. I did like it but it’s not my favourite John Green novel. As with Green’s other novels you can’t help but feel as if you are friends with the characters and have your own hopes for them. I would have liked to have known more about genius Colin and what Lindsey did next but that’s not what this novel was about. From my experience of reading it I felt like it was about having that time before a big change to figure yourself out, as usual Green has been fantastic in getting into the teenage mind. I’d say if you’re a fan then you should give this a go but if you’re only just starting then try out The Fault in Our Stars or Looking For Alaska, my two personal favourites.

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The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins ****

May the odds ever be in your favour 

In the future a land that was once called ‘North America’ is ruled by the Capitol. Divided into districts residents have little or no information about the rest of the population other and are eerily separated apart from for The Hunger Games, a fate no parent wants for their child. The Hunger Games are deigned to place two children between the ages of 12-18 into the arena where the whole country watches as they fight to the death for victory, and Katniss Everdeen has just signed herself up.

I know what your thinking, does this girl have a death wish? No. After Katniss’ younger sister Prim is chosen for the games Katniss volunteers herself in desperation and knowing that she will die by the time the games end. Throw in a permanently drunk mentor, a boy who drives you crazy and stylists , fighting to the death sounds easy.

I’d heard a lot of good things about the Hunger Games before I read them but didn’t like the idea, kids fighting to the death? I decided to pick the novel up out of interested and ended up finishing it within a day with a set of new favourite characters. I couldn’t put the book down and I was sure as hell fighting alongside Katniss, I fell in love with her too. Although I was sceptical of her at first and slightly bored at the beginning I was soon absorbed and wanted to know every detail, what , why, how? and found myself surprised by some of the twists within the book. I was also able to visualise everything and have little drawings inside my head of what I think the characters look like, the only other series I’ve been able to do this with properly is Harry Potter.

On that note I do have some criticism, I feel like there were so many details but they were all rushed through to condense the games into one book. I would have honestly liked the first book to be split into two so we could get more action and more of a sense of the arena rather than the prep, although I sense this is important somehow. I do feel rushed though , for example the ending felt incredibly rushed, like there were so many ideas and leads to tie up before the end of the novel that they all had to be thrown in. I’m also confused and unsure as to what there is to the next book, although I am intrigued. What could possibly happen in  the next one if we get to the end of the games in this book? I suppose I will have to wait and see.

I will give this book 4 stars, **** I really enjoyed it and read it within 24 hours before going out t buy the rest of the series. That said I do think it can be quite a slow start and that could lose some people, stick with it! Katniss will not let you down and neither will Peeta in an unexpected way….