I’m going to try something new, a post where I review two separate books – and compare and contrast them. I’m trying this for two different reasons: because I haven’t read them in a while and I don’t remember enough minute details to really get into them and because I like to challenge myself.
So today, I present you with the combined reviews of An Abundance of Katharines and The Forest of Hands and Teeth, two very popular YA books.
Katherine V thought boys were gross. Katherine X just wanted to be friends. Katherine XVIII dumped him in an e-mail
K-19 broke his heart
When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton’s type happens to be girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact.
On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun–but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl.
Love, friendship, and a dead Austro-Hungarian archduke add up to surprising and heart-changing conclusions in this ingeniously layered comic novel about reinventing oneself.
(& for FOHAT)
In Mary’s world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded by so much death?
Plot: One is lighthearted and quirky, the other is dark and apocalyptic. I love the unique stories that both of these book are based around. John Green can take a completely mundane situation, like a roadtrip or a breakup, seem like a complete existential adventure. Ryan has the ability to take a grim situation and add more twisted details to make it even more captivating. They’re definitely both easier reads; some parts of FOHAT hurt a bit but the rest of the book is fairly simple. I love John Green’s work but this one was one that settled further down the list of favorites and when I read the second installment of FOHAT, it completely disillusioned me from the first book. I strongly recommend them to people who enjoy YA and love stories or coming-of-age novels. Also, zombies and nerds are totally fucking awesome. The plot of AAOK is interesting, but a little odd. I adore the main character but really? He’s dated nineteen Katharines? Not that its not totally plausible but it’s not exactly an attention grabber and it’s kind of corny, in a bad way. I love the concept of the zombie-riddled world that Mary lives in and that religion is the focal point behind their society’s structure. We never really find out if it’s set in an earlier time period or if we revert back to old ways in her reality, so have fun with that.
Characters: Okay, so here’s the thing. I’m not in love with the plot of AAOK but I adore the main character, Quentin. While I love the plot of FOHAT, the main character is extremely hard for me to like. She’s not a very strong woman, and it’s easy to forgive her for that given her circumstances but also, I don’t want to forgive her because she is impossible to be involved with. Another neat contrast is that AAOK has a very interesting romantic background and then there’s a heart breaking love triangle in FOHAT. Love triangles, are again, my shit.
Ending: I found both the endings to be pretty satisfying! A little sad, but they weren’t cliffhangers of doom, either. Again, not in my top ten, but still good reads!
I mean, who can avoid sweet nerds like Quentin who say marveolous statements like
‘Books are the ultimate Dumpees: put them down and they’ll wait for you forever; pay attention to them and they always love you back.’
or a book that has this in it:
Suddenly, all I can think about are all the things I don’t know about him. All the things I never had time to learn. I don’t know if his feet are ticklish or how long his toes are. I don’t know what nightmares he had as a child. I don’t know which stars are his favorites, what shapes he sees in the clouds. I don’t know what he is truly afraid of or what memories he holds closest.
And I don’t have enough time now, never enough time. I want to be in the moment with him, feel his body against mine and think of nothing else, but my mind explodes with grief for all that I am missing. All that I will miss. All that I have wasted.
The Book Witch