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John Green is hands-down my favorite author of books for young adults. Why? Well, there are a few reasons. For one thing, I got to know him through his vlog before I ever read any of his books, so it sort of felt like reading something a friend had written.

More importantly, though, I love the fact that he respects teenagers. His books are funny and smart and aren't afraid to be real. He knows that teens live in a hard world, that even if their lives aren't particularly rough that they're surrounded by peers whose lives are. He knows and respects that teens worry about and deal with some serious issues, and when he writes about them, it is honest and unpatronizing - and not sensationalistic, either.

An Abundance of Katherines is probably Green's most lighthearted and silly book. It tells the story of Colin Singleton, a recent high school graduate with some fascinating quirks. He's obsessed with anagrams, for one thing - you know, the thing where you mix up the letters in a word or phrase to create a new word or phrase. (If you rearrange the letters in "The Morse Code" you get "Here Come Dots"!) His best friend, Hassan, is a plus-sized Muslim with a "thing" for Judge Judy. Colin refers to himself as a "washed up child prodigy."

And quirkiest of all, Colin has dated - and been dumped by - nineteen girls. Let me rephrase that: Colin has been dumped by nineteen girls - all of whom were named Katherine. And after this, the most recent of dumpings, Colin is determined to understand why. He and Hassan hit the road in search of enlightenment, truly original ideas, and a Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability.

This book is a goofy buddy road-trip story, stuffed with laugh-out-loud dialogue, annotated with even funnier footnotes, and liberally sprinkled with nerdiness. It's the sort of book that isn't for guys or for girls, even though the main characters are male (and if you happen to be, like me, a Katherine, it makes it doubly funny at moments). It will almost certainly appeal to you if you like smart humor, math and theoretical stuff, and really well-written characters. If you watch The Big Bang Theory or even How I Met Your Mother, you may very well fall in love with An Abundance of Katherines.

Qualifies for AERP and available from my classroom library!

 


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