Study Guide

An Abundance of Katherines Summary

By John Green

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An Abundance of Katherines Summary

We've all been there. We're dating the guy or gal of our dreams when suddenly, out of nowhere, we get dumped, leaving us heartbroken, angry, confused, and totally lonely. This isn't the first time this has happened to our main man Colin. In fact, he's been dumped a record nineteen times… and all by girls named Katherine. So he does what any normal teenage guy wants to do when his heart is smashed to smithereens: he goes on a road trip with his buddy, Hassan.

Oh, and did we mention that Colin is a child prodigy who could read by the wee age of two? Because he is, though he's still waiting for his eureka moment to happen, the moment when he makes a big discovery that changes the face of life as we know it. No pressure or anything, though.

Colin's obsessed with reading, languages, and anagramming, which he loves to do night and day; it's super important to Colin that he prove he's not some washed up prodigy, so he reads and studies all the time. His pal Hassan, on the other hand, hasn't even registered for college yet and is perfectly happy sitting around wasting time watching TV.

So the two guys drive and drive and drive, trying to get away from their troubles… but no matter where Colin goes, his girl troubles follow, and he can't get Katherine (a.k.a. K-19) out of his head. They finally come upon a town called Gutshot that claims to have the grave of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand. When they stop to see it they meet a girl named Lindsey, who just happens to be dating a guy named Colin (a.k.a. TOC). The trio becomes friends and Lindsey's mom, Hollis, even gives the boys a job.

Their mission is to go around town interviewing people about Gutshot and a factory there. Lindsey's great-grandpa, Dr. Fred N. Dinzanfar started a tampon string factory years ago (really), and it's the main place to work in the small town. The boys begin interviewing old folks and factory workers about the town, and notice that Lindsey acts differently around each group of people.

Since Hassan hooks up with a girl named Katrina and spends a lot of his time hanging out with her, Colin and Lindsey grow closer and share their secrets with each other. Lindsey teaches Colin how to tell stories properly (it turns out being a child prodigy doesn't come with a set of social skills), and Colin gets Lindsey to open up about her private habits and thoughts since she always puts on a show for everyone else.

Colin really wants to prove that he's not just a child prodigy, so he begins working on a big complicated math equation. What's it for you ask? Why it plots out romantic relationships, of course, and Colin calls it the Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability. He works on this almost every night while he's in Gutshot, and finally solves it when he realizes that he broke up with K-3, not the other way around. His whole life has been based on the fact that he gets dumped, so he's pretty shocked when he makes this discovery.

Eventually, he makes another shocking discovery: TOC and Katrina are getting down and dirty, so Lindsey and Hassan break it off with them. And then the whole gang figures out that Hollis has been keeping a big secret of her own, too.

No one is buying from the tampon string factory any more, so Hollis is destroying all the tampon strings. She really wants people in the town to have jobs, so she's working double-time to make sure she can keep the factory open. They are all shocked by the news, and Hassan can't believe how hard Hollis works, which inspires him to register for college.

Then Lindsey and Colin start dating. Colin uses his theorem to predict how long they'll be together, and it comes back saying—wait for it—four days. Just as he predicted, on the 4th day he gets a note from Lindsey breaking it off. Turns out it's one big j/k, though, and Colin finally realizes he can't use a math problem to figure out his love life. Sure, a theorem is great to use for past relationships, but it can't be used to predict the future.

With that, Colin, Lindsey, and Hassan get in the car and just drive. Where to? Nobody knows. They'll figure it out along the way.

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