Green, John. An Abundance of Katherines. 2006.
Ah, the joy of advanced reader copies. I have a small collection of ARCs from Penguin Putnam and will be reviewing them here, before they are published. Yippee!! This book should be available in September. If Amazon.com is to be trusted, September 21 to be exact.
Anyway, John Green's first novel, Looking for Alaska was awesome (see review on this blog, 12/16/05). It received starred reviews and then went on to win the Printz Award this January. I am always scared that a second book by an author will disappoint, probably because so many of them do. This one certainly d0esn't disappoint. It is totally different than Alaska, but it is still fabulous.
Colin is really too smart for his own good. He is a washed up child prodigy. He is also socially awkward-- the kid that everyone thinks is weird because he is fascinated with the most boring of topics. He has just been dumped by his 19th girlfriend, all of whom were named Katherine. Colin, who has just graduated high school, sets off on a road trip with his only friend Hassan. They don't really get very far. They take a side-trip to see the grave of Archduke Ferdinand in Gunshot, Tennessee and end up staying after the befriend a local teen that gives the tours at the grave. As he is still trying to get over his most recent dumping by a Katherine, Colin begins to think that there is a mathematical equation he can create that would predict how long a relationship will last, and he uses his experiences with the Katherines to figure it all out.
Don't let the math scare you away. After the first few chapters I got scared because, frankly I am a math moron, and I was afraid I wasn't going to "get it" if I continued on. The math is a small part of the book and you don't need to really understand it to follow the book. The book isn't about math anyway-- it's about Colin and Hassan and growing up. I highly recommend this book to all readers. And, if you haven't read Looking for Alaska yet, you need to read that one too, because both of these books are fantastic.
You can visit the author's web page and blog at http://www.sparksflyup.com