This is my second John Green novel, the first being the indomitable ‘The Fault in Our Stars’, and it did not disappoint. It follows the story of Colin Singleton who, after being dumped by his 19th Katherine (he only dates people called Katherine), goes on a road trip with his best friend Hassan and tries to develop a relationship theorem to predict the trajectory of future relationships. As a former child prodigy, this is his chance to get over K-19, make a name for himself and become a real genius. However, after finding themselves in a town called Gutshot, Colin finds that everything is about to change.
One of my favourite things about this book was the dichotomy between Colin and Hassan. While Colin is a prodigy with words, able to solve anagrams in seconds, with a desire to make something of his life, Hassan is lazy, preferring to spend his days watching Judge Judy. This works. It makes for an entertaining relationship between the two, as they each bring out good things in the other, and yet can also be a cause of conflict. The other characters were fun and interesting, but none of them struck you as much as Colin and Hassan did.
The story itself was a journey of self-discovery. I found it to be quite warming and while not as moving as ‘The Fault in Our stars’, it allows you to relate to the characters and slip yourself into the tale. Even the maths and footnotes (yes, maths and footnotes) did not detract from the story, instead they added their own quirk which made it all the more enjoyable to read. I really liked the ending. It was a small, yet enjoyable twist that I felt brought the story to a lovely close.
However, it was not perfect. I found parts of the novel to be slow, and some things to be a bit unbelievable. I also felt Colin’s constant whining and moping about K-19, as well as Hassan’s continued assurances that he was not a terrorist, to be annoying. It was also fairly predictable and the lead up to the romantic conclusion did feel a bit forced at times.
All in all, I enjoyed reading this book. It makes for an easy, relaxing read that you can just get engrossed in.