An Abundance of Katherines


Title:   An Abundance of Katherines

Author:  John Green

Publisher: New York Dutton Books, 2006

ISBN: 9780525476887

 About the author:   from

John Green is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, Paper Towns, and The Fault in Our Stars. He is also the coauthor, with David Levithan, of Will Grayson, Will Grayson. He was the 2006 recipient of the Michael L. Printz Award, a 2009 Edgar Award winner, and has twice been a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Green’s books have been published in more than 55 languages and over 24 million copies are in print. John is also an active Twitter user with more than 5 million followers.

 Plot: Colin Singleton only dates girls named Katherine. Katherine XIX just broke up with him. So Colin and his friend, Hassan, take a road trip for self-discovery. Then he meets Lindsey, but Lindsey is dating TOC (The Other Colin). Will his road trip lead him to a possible Katherine XX?

Critical Evaluation:

Colin Singleton is grasping for control in his uncontrollable world. He attempts to take control through his sardonic attitude and his use of anagrams.  An Abundance of Katherines is a fun, leisurely paced read. Katherine XIX just broke up with him. What is he going to do next? Colin has always dated Katherines. He was too afraid to branch out and explore life by limiting himself to only Katherines. “…one of his general policies in life was never to do anything standing up that could just as easily be done lying down.” Maybe it’s time for Colin to bravely branch out and live his life.

Colin’s use of anagrams is humorous “…he was busy anagramming anything odd – any odd night, handy dog tin, doing thy DNA…” The book is filled with anagrams:

“can sushi be anagrammed” uh, sis.

p-o-t-s into s-t-o-p

Yrs forever—sorry fever

Called Dana for Blow—ballad for a clown

Colin feels like a washed-up child prodigy. “I know I’m seventeen. But I’m past my prime.” This novel is an engaging, witty, and wordplay-filled story that was a joy to read. A story with angst-filled teenagers is nothing new, but Green’s take on it made for a funny and offbeat story.

 Reader’s Annotation:  Colin will only date Katherines. Then he meets Lindsey.

Genre: realistic fiction, coming-of-age

Curriculum Ties: english, wordplay

Booktalking Ideas: Set up a game with anagrams and have everyone participate. How many anagrams can they figure out?

Reading Level: 14+

Interest Age: 16+

Challenge Issues: 

Challenge Resources 

  • Library Selection Policy
  • Rationale explaining why the item was chosen for the collection
  • Active listening skills
  • Awards
  • Reconsideration form (as a last resort)
  • National Council of Teachers of English “Right to Read”
  • Positive and negative reviews: expert, parent, student
  • ALA Strategies and Tips for Dealing with Challenges to Library Materials
  • ALA Bill of Rights on Intellectual Freedom
  • Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
  • Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.

Why did you pick this for your collection?  

  • Printz Honor, 2007
  • Booklist Editors’ Choice – Books for Youth – Older Readers Category: 2006
  • YALSA Best Books for Young Adults: 2007
  • YALSA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults: Journey > Destination (2009)
  • Classic Realistic Fiction for Teens