Author: John Green
Pages: 227 p.
Publisher: Dutton Books
John Green's follow up to his award winning first novel Looking for Alaska is just as entertaining and well-written, although not as heartbreaking. Colin Singleton has made a habit out of only dating (and getting dumped by) girls named Katherine. When Katherine 19 breaks up with him he and his best friend Hassan embark on a road trip to nowhere to break Colin's depression. Colin, who happens to be a child prodigy hoping to one day be a genius, decides to find a formula based on his history with Katherines that would predict the outcome of all romantic relationships. The two get sidetracked in a small town in Tennessee and Colin discovers much more than a formula.
Although Colin is a bit whiny and tends to drive people (Katherines) away with his constant need of approval and his low self-esteem, he is at heart a likable character. The friendship between him and Hassan is realistically portrayed and entertaining. Hassan is the comedic relief who slaps some sense into Colin. In Tennessee they meet up with Lindsey who also brings Colin back to reality.
Green includes footnotes throughout the story, especially when Hassan tells Colin that some piece of knowledge he is about to impart is not interesting, allowing readers to judge for themselves. As a geek, I found the footnotes very interesting. There's also an appendix explaining the math used in the formula. I haven't gotten around to reading that yet but I intend to.
While this is by no means a fluffy feel good novel, it is not as emotionally heartbreaking or significant as Alaska. It is a bit lighter, with funnier moments, and a less intense plot. It is definitely an enjoyable read and highly recommended. I think it would suit high schoolers more since they tend to have more of a romantic life-history and the angst that goes along with graduating from high school and not knowing what's going on in your life.
On My Nightstand: