Colin is a washed-up child prodigy who has just been dumped for the 19th time by a girl named Katherine. Colin was so sure that this time, this KatherColin is a washed-up child prodigy who has just been dumped for the 19th time by a girl named Katherine. Colin was so sure that this time, this Katherine was the one. But now he’s heartbroken, graduated from high school and is convinced he’ll never amount to anything. Ever. Not only is he sure he’s going to die alone, but he’s also sure he’ll never be able to cross from child prodigy to genius. What does it matter if he can anagram any word or phrase in the English language? He’ll never amount to anything. Never, ever, ever.
Of course, there’s only one cure for heart break and despair. A road trip. Colin’s friend Hassan, who is awesome, shows up to drag Colin off the floor of his bedroom for an epic road trip. They road trip along until Colin notices a sign, in Tennessee, claiming that the town on Gutshot contains the grave of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. A girl named Lindsey Lee Wells escorts them to the grave, and it’s on the way there that Colin trips on a molehill, smacks himself in the head and has his eureka moment. He knows what he’ll do that will take him from prodigy to genius. He knows how he’ll leave his mark on the world. Love is graphable. Colin will create a mathematical equation that will show who will break up with whom and approximately how long the relationship will last.
Hassan and Colin work out a deal with Lindsey’s mother, Hollis. In exchange for staying at her place, Hassan and Colin will take oral histories of the workers of the Gutshot textile mill, which Hollis owns. This still leaves Colin plenty of time to work on his Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability. And hijinks ensue.
I love everything John Green has ever written, but this one is absolutely my favorite. It’s so funny, and don’t worry if math isn’t your favorite, it isn’t actually math heavy. If you are into math, there’s an appendix that goes into detail about the equation. It’s a really great book; I would recommend it to anyone. ...more
Karl Shoemaker has one goal for his senior year: be normal. If he can only be normal, then maybe for one year he won't be sent to the therapy group. H Karl Shoemaker has one goal for his senior year: be normal. If he can only be normal, then maybe for one year he won't be sent to the therapy group. How hard can being normal be? Pretty hard, when your mom steals your money to go drink and "being normal" means not being able to talk to your best friend. As much as Karl wants to be "normal," he finds it's pretty hard to leave a group where everyone knows your story.
OK Printz committee. I’ll give you this one. This was a good book. OK? You were right about this one. I really liked it. But I still maintain they were trying to be hip and edgy. It just so happens it was good too.
Reasons I liked this book:
Nice job with dialogue Mr. Barnes. So often teenage characters end up talking like snarky English professors or street kids from an 80s movie. Or valley girls from a 90s movie. There’s a middle ground people. And it was found in this book. The character’s voices were all very distinct, and very real. They felt like actual people. I very much appreciated that everything wasn’t fixed in the end. One things was fixed, but hey, it’s a YA book, we need something. But there was no happy ending, for anyone really, and that felt true. It was a bittersweet ending, but I really like those. Have you ever seen Little Miss Sunshine? You know at the end when they all come together as a family and they’re feeling good and it’s really uplifting? But at the same time, you know they have to go back home and they’re bankrupt and the father’s business idea has failed and their grandfather’s dead and the uncle is still sad about his lost boyfriend and the kid has lost his dream of being a pilot. So sad. But uplifting. It was like that. I’ve read a number of books that try to tell the story through “real time” and it does not work. This book took place over the course of five days, and it worked perfectly. It didn’t feel forced, it didn’t feel accelerated. Things were actually happening at a pace that was believable for a five day period.
I disagree with the subtitle though, which is A Historical Romance 1973. I didn’t think of this as a romance at all. I’m glad that title isn’t actually on the cover of the book, because I think it would be a turn-off....more