Despite popular opinion this is definitely one of my favourite young adult coming of age novels and easily in the top two for John Green’s books – nothing beats Looking for Alaska. The book is different from your typical high school dramas in that it is set immediately after graduation, yet it still dives into the themes of friendship, bullying, love and acceptance – the key ingredients to this type of story.
We’re introduced to Colin Singleton a former child prodigy, who struggles to fit in due to his status, and is unable to find acceptance within himself as he has failed to have his ‘eureka moment’ and living up to the title of ‘genius’. We follow his post graduation journey as he and his best friend Hassan embark on a road trip to find a change of scenery in their lives after Colin is dumped by his girlfriend Katherine, the name of all nineteen of his girlfriends, all of whom dumped him – hence ‘An Abundance of Katherines…
The book brings a refreshing level of intellect for this type of story through the eyes of out narrater. It opens our eyes to the differences of people, primarily shown through Colin’s intelligence, Hassan’s islamic culture, and the lifestyle differences between city and country kids.
I love the relationship between Colin and Lyndsey for more reasons than the obvious. Like Colin Lindsey is struggle with her identity and sense of self. We see their relationship develop because of this. It’s not born of some animalistic attraction to one and other, but a mutually beneficial friendship that sees them help each other become comfortable with one and other, right up until we reach the conclusion we were all hoping for.
For me this story had everything, a great romance, hilarious humour, and the important message that everyone is different and that’s ok.