still award season... An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

I'm working my way through honor books slowly. The Printz awards this year look so intense that I think I'd need to recover from them emotionally, which is not something I typically have the juice to do during a semester. One more preface: I havent' read Green's winning book, Looking for Alaska.

An Abundance of Katherines was, well, fun. It's summer, there's a road trip, and two guys meet a girl named Lindsey and land a random job with Lindsey's mom recording small town oral history. The over-the-hill-child-prodigy Colin was an amusingly socially dysfunctional character, and his wise-ass sidekick Hassan kept the humor coming while Colin was moping. What's most interesting about the book to me is that Colin's experience of growing out of being special echoes the experiences of many kids. Many modern middle-class kids with adoring American parents are given classes, books, learning experiences, lessons, a host of gadgets and games... the result being that their every waking moment is spent in a state of pleasant stimulation. After years of this, teenage life and the impending doom of adulthood responsibilities are frankly a massive let down.

Colin deals with this let down on an internal level, as he comes to grips with the idea that, despite his high IQ and early achievements, he's basically going to live a normal life. I enjoyed Green's citation of research showing that gifted kids don't, on average, turn out much different than anybody else. Colin is absorbing this through the book, although the reader might leave wondering if Colin's dad is going to push back at him when he gets home from the extended road trip. Since the overall theme is that things are going to change, we don't worry too much about Colin's reentry into normal life. After all, he's headed to college next, and that's sure to be good for an obsessive braniac like Colin.

Fun. Good YA themes. Not groundbreaking in a profound sense, but nonetheless a good read.