Thursday, 18 August 2011

A review of John Green - An Abundance of Katherines and Paper Towns

Whilst on holiday, I read two of John Green’s books; An Abundance of Katherines and Paper Towns.  I absolutely loved both.  John Green has a wonderful style of writing, and both books (but in particular an abudance of Katherines) are laugh out loud funny.  Highly recommended!
An Abundance of Katherines
When it comes to relationships, everyone has a type. Colin Singleton’s type is girls named Katherine. He has dated–and been dumped by–19 Katherines. In the wake of The K-19 Debacle, Colin–an anagram-obsessed washed-up child prodigy–heads out on a road trip with his overweight, Judge Judy-loving friend Hassan. With 10,000 dollars in his pocket and a feral hog on his trail, Colin is on a mission to prove a mathematical theorem he hopes will predict the future of any relationship (and conceivably win the girl).
It’s not often I laugh out loud at books but this book is hilarious (and I don’t mean just a few laughs, I mean the whole way through!)  It is packed full of an incredibly unique story, and there are even footnotes and an appendix.  Green seems to have a wonderful ability to tap into the teenage mind and recreate this in his books. 
A lot of people seem to say this is their least favourite of Green’s books, and I'm disappointed people don't appreciate the beauty of this book.  Taking the books as a whole, this one was my favourite.
An easy read (despite the mathematical formulas) and well worth it.  Although it is a YA book, it is not as simplistic as some others I have read – and is definitely worth a read even for older readers.

Paper Towns
Who is the real Margo? Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life – dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge – he follows. After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. She has disappeared. Q soon learns that there are clues in her disappearance …and they are for him. Trailing Margo’s disconnected path across the USA, the closer Q gets, the less sure he is of who he is looking for.
This is a story of teenagers, but also a story of mystery in which Q finds and follows clues to bring him ever closer to the girl next door who he is in love with.  Once again, Green is able to show his incredible understanding of teenagers, and creates some wonderful characters.  This is another wonderfully unique story, packed full of humour and mystery.  It isn’t predictable, and it certainly kept me turning the pages.  Easily a book for any age group, despite being based on teenagers and being another YA book.

The man himself, John Green
I didn’t get round to reading John Green’s first book Looking for Alaska, but from what I gather his writing and books have only got better and better since this debut.  Looking for Alaska won the Michael L. Printz Award in 2006.  An Abundance of Katherines was a 2008 Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book and a finalist for  the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.  Paper Towns was awarded the 2009 Edgar Award for Best Young Adult Novel and the 2010 Corine Literature Prize.
In 2007, Green and his brother Hank ceased textual communication and began to talk primarily through videoblogs posted to youtube.  Although they have long since resumed textual communication, John and Hank continue to upload three videos a week to their youtube channel, vlogbrothers. Their videos have been viewed more than 75 million times, and their channel is one of the most popular in the history of online video. These videos are well worth a look, as both John and his brother Hank clearly share the humourous gene – you can see their youtube page here
Green’s next book (The Fault in Our Stars) is available for pre-order now on amazon. This book will be released on 10 January 2012 

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