An Abundance of Katherines Essay - Critical Essays

John Green

Literary Criticism and Significance

John Green’s first novel, Looking for Alaska, won a variety of awards for teen readers: the 2006 Michael L. Printz award, a 2005 Teens’ Top 10 award, and many others. Critics were afraid that Green could not hope to re-create such success with his second novel.

They did not need to worry. An Abundance of Katherines is a funny and quirky novel that is in the tradition of works such as On the Road and The Catcher in the Rye. It has been nominated for another Michael L. Printz award, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize award, and an ALA Best Book for Young Adults award. Kirkus Reviews called it "[f]ully fun, challengingly complex, and entirely entertaining," and named it one of the year's best books.

Young adults will appreciate a story that combine a road trip, romance, math, word-play, and contemporary teenage activities and language. Green uses anagrams to give Colin a “special skill” as well as footnotes that allow Colin to share some of his impressive knowledge. The narration is from Colin’s first-person perspective, and the story comes easily and naturally in an authentic voice. There is also an appendix, explaining in detail the math behind Colin’s relationship predictability theorem.