Though Woodman did a strong job on the audio version of Green's Looking for Alaska (see above), the author's second young adult novel proves to be more of a challenge. This follow-up is looser and less traditionally structured, more in the postmodern vein, without a sad and lovable heroine for a narrator to wrap his energies around. There's a much nerdier element to Green's latest hero, teenage prodigy Colin Singleton, and not as much understandable or likeable weirdness in the other characters. Despite these shortcomings, Woodman does manage to carve out a narrow turf of credibility and interest, where young adults who enjoy being tested by their entertainment choices might find some moments of pleasure. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)[Page 61]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Gr 9 Up Printz medalist John Greenâ€™s main character in this novel (Dutton, 2006) is a loner who has a hard time making friends (though no trouble finding girlfriends) and a quirky taste for anagrams and odd facts. At the end of his senior year of high school, Colin Singleton has just been dumped by a girl named Katherine (itâ€™s the 19th time heâ€™s been dumped). Stuck in a quagmire of indecision about his future and egged on by his friend Hassan, Colin sets out on an aimless road trip until his attention is caught by a sign for the burial place of Archduke Franz Ferdinand in the middle of rural Tennessee. Colin and Hassan find friends, jobs, and fulfill Colinâ€™s quest to understand why he is always being dumped by his girlfriends. He develops a mathematical theorem that focuses on predicting the outcome of romantic relationships. Along the way, there is plenty of humor in the story. Narrator Jeff Woodman creates a distinct and lively persona for each character, complete with accents and inflections. Colinâ€™s uniquely nave attributes combine with his obvious intelligence and checkered romantic past to create a character that Woodman brings to life quite vividly. The math angle and humorous anagrams may create additional interest for some teens. Although the story line is a bit thin, the plotâ€™s identity concerns make this an interesting choice for high school and public library collections for older teens. Jane P. Fenn, Corning-Painted Post West High School, NY[Page 73]. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.