An Abundance of Katherines

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An Abundance of Katherines
An Abundance of Katherines-cover.jpg
Author John Green
Country United States
Language English
Genre Young adult novel
Publisher Dutton and Speak
Publication date
September 21, 2006
Media type Print (Paperback)
Pages 256 pp
ISBN 0-525-47688-1
OCLC 65201178
LC Class PZ7.G8233 Abu 2006

An Abundance of Katherines is a young adult novel by John Green. Released in 2006, it was a finalist for the Michael L. Printz Award.

An appendix explaining some of the more complex equations Colin uses throughout the story was written by Daniel Biss, a close friend to Green.

Following the announcement of the name of his latest book, The Fault in Our Stars, after which John Green's fans made hundreds of book covers, Penguin announced a contest in which they would allow the fans (known as "nerdfighters") to design the new cover of An Abundance of Katherines.

Main characters[edit]

  • Colin Singleton - Colin Singleton is an anagram-loving seventeen-year-old boy who has become depressed because though he has maintained his status of being a prodigy, he has not yet become a “genius", although he has an IQ of over 200.
  • Hassan Harbish - Hassan Harbish is a funny, lazy, obese, Judge Judy-obsessed Arab boy who is Colin's best friend. He is Muslim and will not date any girl that he will not marry.
  • Lindsey Lee Wells - Lindsey Lee Wells is a “paramedic in training.” She is also the tour guide for those visiting the tomb of the Archduke, whom Lindsey is not so distantly related to. She reads Celebrity Living.

Plot summary[edit]

Colin Singleton wishes to accomplish his goal of becoming a "genius" by having a Eureka moment. As well as not being the genius he hopes to be, his girlfriend, Katherine XIX, recently dumped him (over the span of his life, Colin has dated nineteen girls named Katherine, all spelled in that manner). In these relationships, Colin remembers only the Katherine dumping him.

After graduating from high school, and before college, Colin's best and only friend, Hassan Harbish, convinces him to go on a road trip with him to take his mind off the breakup. After driving for a while, all the way from Chicago to Tennessee, they come across the alleged resting place of the body of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. There, they meet Lindsey Lee Wells. After a short time, Colin and Hassan find themselves employed by Hollis, Lindsey's mother and the woman running a local factory that is currently producing tampon strings. They live with their employer and her daughter in a rural town called Gutshot, Tennessee. The employment she sends them on is to interview all current adult residents of Gutshot and assemble an oral history of the town.

As time passes, Colin finds himself becoming attracted to Lindsey, though matters are somewhat complicated by her on-again, off-again boyfriend Colin (he and Hassan call him TOC, "the other Colin"). Our Colin, the prodigy, attempts to become a genius by having his Eureka moment. He chases this goal through his theorem, called the Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which is meant to determine the curve of any relationship based on several factors of the personalities of the two people in a relationship. It would predict the future of any two people. His theorem eventually works for all but one of his past relationships with a Katherine. But it is later discovered by Colin that he had dumped this Katherine (Katherine III), rather than the other way around. The graphs all make perfect sense at this juncture.

As Colin’s story is revealed to the reader, we find that K-19 was also the first of the Katherines, “Katherine the Great.” While the backstories of Colin’s life play out, Hassan gets a girlfriend, Katrina, a friend of Lindsey’s. The relationship is cut short when Colin and Hassan go on a feral hog hunt with Lindsey, her friends and Colin's father, end up chased into the wilderness by hornets, and once they arrive back at civilization, caught Katrina having sex with TOC in the graveyard where the Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s corpse is located. A fight between TOC and all of the surrounding acquaintances begins when Lindsey finds out that he’s been cheating on her. While recovering from a knee whack to the groin, Colin anagrams the Archduke's name to dull the pain, and realizes that it is actually Lindsey's great-grandfather, named Fred N. Dinzanfar, that is buried in the tomb.

Colin finds Lindsey at her secret hideout in a cave that she had shown him previously, where he tells her the story of every Katherine he ever loved. Lindsey tells him that she feels so self-centered, claiming that she does not feel sad but instead slightly relieved by TOC's affair. They then confess their love for each other. As their relationship continues, Colin decides to use his dating formula order to determine if he and Lindsey will last, but reveals to Hassan that they will only last for four more days. Lindsey then slips a note under his door, four days later, stating that she cannot be his girlfriend because she is in love with Hassan. But she leaves a P.S. stating that she is joking. Colin realizes that his theorem cannot predict the future of a relationship. It can only shed light on why a relationship failed. Despite this, Colin is contented not “mattering”. Hassan also states that he is applying for two college classes, which Colin has been trying to convince him to do throughout the book. The story ends with the trio driving to a nearby Wendy's, with Lindsey saying they could just "keep going and not stop." Colin takes her advice, as a transcendental and ecstatic feeling of "connection" with Lindsey, Hassan, and everyone not in the car surges through him. He has finally found peace and happiness via connection with other people, rather than from the pursuit of distinguishing himself from everyone, feeling "non-unique in the very best way possible."


An Abundance of Katherines was a 2007 Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book[1] and received recognition as one of American Library Association's Best Books for Young Adults.[2]

Film adaptation[edit]

John Green mentioned in Brotherhood 2.0, a video blog he created with his brother, on December 10, 2007 that rights had been bought to make his book into a movie. Green was asked to write the screenplay.[3] On his website, it states that the project was abandoned, though a different production company currently has the rights with hope for the future.[4] In an Interview with Josh Horowitz, Green states that with the exception of Looking for Alaska (Paramount has the film rights to it), all of his books are in his control in regard to their film adaptation.[5]


  1. ^ American Library Association (2010). "Michael L. Printz Winners and Honor Books". Archived from the original on 8 February 2011. Retrieved 3 February 2011. 
  2. ^ American Library Association (2007). "2007 Best Books for Young Adults". Archived from the original on 13 February 2011. Retrieved 3 February 2011. 
  3. ^ John Green (10 December 2007). "Brotherhood 2.0". 
  4. ^ Green, John. "Movie Questions". Retrieved 24 December 2013. 
  5. ^ John Green on Happy Sad Confused (Wolfpop) with Josh Horowitz. Published 12th September 2014.

External links[edit]