On The Cover: Katherine V thought boys were gross
Katherine X just wanted to be friends
Katherine XVIII dumped him in an e-mail
K-19 broke his heart
When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton’s type happens to be girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact.
On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun–but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl. Love, friendship, and a dead Austro-Hungarian archduke add up to surprising and heart-changing conclusions in this ingeniously layered comic novel about reinventing oneself.
Why I Chose It: Since reading The Fault In Our Stars I’ve wanted to check out another John Green novel. I grabbed this one up because of the name Katherine. ;)
As a main character I found Colin to be pretty unique. He’s an incredibly smart person with a fascination for anagrams. He also has trouble connecting with other people, as he was more comfortable spouting random facts than he was actually interacting with them. But I found him interesting simply because I have not read a lot of main characters with brains that work like Colin’s, and who are so incredibly socially awkward.
Unfortunately, I didn’t find Colin’s awkwardness endearing. I didn’t really find anything about him endearing. I actually had a hard time pinning down his character, because he was so awkward that he had no friends, yet somehow managed to have 19 girlfriends. I just felt like all of the dots weren’t quite lining up. I also found his character incredibly whiney and self-pitying for the fact that he had been dumped by 19 Katherines. I found it very hard to feel sympathy for him at all throughout this story.
A lot of this novel depended on the humour that it carried, and unfortunately this was not my type of humour. It was one of those novels where I could see the jokes and recognize that they were supposed to lighten the story, but I wasn’t laughing. I don’t think I laughed at all. I can’t quite figure out what it was, but there was something about the dynamic between Colin and his best friend Hassan that just felt a little awkward and forced and didn’t quite flow the way it should.
The interesting thing about this novel is that I don’t think it was badly written. It has John Green’s style through and through, but I think it’s a case where the characters just didn’t appeal to me. For other readers who enjoy this style of humour, or who perhaps have more in common with these characters, they may enjoy this story a lot. If you like John Green, I would still give this one a try, and see if you like it better than I did.
The Rating: 2 / 5
“When he exited the bathroom, his parents were sitting together on his bed. It was never a good sign when both his parents were in his room at the same time. Over the years it had meant:
- Your grandmother/grandfather/Aunt-Suzy-whom-you-never-met-but-trust-me-she-was-nice-and-it’s-a-shame is dead.
- You’re letting a girl named Katherine distract you from your studies.
It never meant:
4. A girl named Katherine called while you were in the bathtub. She’s sorry. She still loves you and has made a terrible mistake and is waiting for you downstairs.” (OverDrive, 2012 ed.)
“He was a generally pessimistic person, but he seemed to make an exception for Katherines: he always felt they would come back to him. The feeling of loving her and being loved by her welled up in him, and he could taste the adrenaline in the back of his throat, and maybe it wasn’t over, and maybe he could feel her hand in his again and hear her loud, brash voice contort itself into a whisper to say I-love-you in the very quick and quiet way that she had always said it. She said I love you as if it were a secret, and an immense one.” (OverDrive, 2012 ed.)
” ‘Kafir, I can say it with confidence: Today is a day that no pigs will die. I’m not even allowed to eat the motherfuggers; I’m sure not going to kill one.’
‘Amen,’ Colin answered.” (OverDrive, 2012 ed.)