Colin Singleton is a prodigy, not a genius…a prodigy. This is a fact that has gotten him down and to make matters worse, his girlfriend Katherine just dumped him. The thing about Colin is, he only dates girls named Katherine (“K-A-T-H-E-R-I-N-E”, not to be confused with “C-A-T-H-E-R-I-N-E”)…and the most recent dumper has earned the moniker “K-19” –being the nineteenth Katherine to break Colin’s heart.
After graduation, Colin and his best friend Hassan, go on a road trip to get Colin’s mind off of Katherine XIX and along the way, they stop in Tennessee to visit the alleged resting place of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Enter Lindsey Lee Wells—paramedic-in-training and tour guide to the tomb of the Archduke. Colin, Hassan and Lindsey hit it off right away and the boys soon find themselves employed by Lindsey’s mother, Hollis, to interview the residents of Gutshot, Tennessee for an oral history of the town.
During their stay, Colin develops an obsession for developing a theorem that is meant to predict the curve of any relationship. Even while being absorbed in theorizing about dumpers and dumpees, Colin manages to fall for someone new; someone who sees Colin for who he is and not for his prodigy status; someone NOT named Katherine…
My Reaction: I loved this book. It was witty and sophisticated, while still being appropriate for a teenage-audience…everything I’ve come to expect from John Green. The interactions between Colin and Hassan are hilarious. The situations the boys, Lindsey and her friends find themselves in are authentic—totally believable. And who doesn’t want to believe that there could be an algorithm for every relationship…but, then again, who wants to know that the current love-of-their-life might actually be a dumper!? Grades 9-12.
Themes: Friendship, Relationships, Love, Math, Critical-thinking, Algorithms, Moving on, Growing up, Coming-of-age, Road trip, Comedy