Author: John Green | Page Count: 236
Colin Singleton is an awkward former child prodigy who has yet to live up to his potential. Much to his chagrin, he has yet to turn his intellect into anything resembling extraordinary; what he calls a "eureka moment". This is only exacerbated by his girlfriend, a girl named Katherine, dumping him; a scenario that has happened to him a total of 19 times. To help him heal from the breakup and assess his life, his middle eastern friend, Hassan, takes him on a road trip.It kept the loneliness of crushlessness from being entirely crushing. Driving was a kind of thinking, the only kind he could then tolerate. But still, the thought lurked out there, just beyond the reach of his headlights: he'd been dumped. By a girl named Katherine. For the nineteenth time.
Colin's obsession with the name Katherine is one of his many eccentricities which also include excessive anagramming of words and phrases and adding lists in the middle of sentences. Since he cannot seem to make himself matter to the world, mattering to his girlfriends worked as a substitute until they inevitably crush him. Colin's motivation for learning and excellence contrast with Hassan who has no game with the ladies and is excessively lazy. Watching Judge Judy instead of enrolling in college classes is his favorite past-time as well as jabbing Colin on his awkwardness and atheism. Both are set to learn something on this road trip.
Colin is supposedly unlikeable, but I found him much more interesting than the protagonist of author John Green's previous novel, but this second novel is full of his non condescending and flawed, but personal characterizations that would become even more refined in his later novels. The inserted footnotes are both informative and entertaining and similar to the list interjections that Colin favors which makes me feel Green has put some of himself in the character. This only helped with the engagingly thoughtful ideas that really make the book worthy of any reader and not just the "young adults" it is targeted at.
4½ Archduke Franz Ferdinand out of 5