John Green has yet again written a hit, and I can’t wait to read what he churns out next— even if it takes another six years as TAtWD did. Turtles All the Way Down follows Aza, a sixteen-year-old girl who undertakes the challenge of finding a missing billionaire. Aza also has OCD, and the book portrays her invasive thoughts and the horrifying thought spirals they lead to. This is an Own Voices novel as John Green also has OCD.
Overall, I found this book to be an amazing read. Green created an accurate portrayal of a heavy topic while still keeping the light, witty scenes that he’s known for. I recommend this book for ages 14+. I am also placing a trigger warning on this book. With Aza as the narrator, you get to see the world through her eyes, and during her thought spirals, a scene can quickly go from lighthearted to severely intense. If you would like to read a review of this book by someone who has suffered from anxiety similar to Aza’s, click here.
My rating: 5/5 stars
Now, lets get into why this book was amazing:
To begin, the whole plot line was very enjoyable. While there was a lot of focus on her illness, I loved that John Green showed there is more to a person than their disorders — even if they can’t see it. A leading example of this is the whole idea of the mysterious disappearing billionaire. She decides to take on this challenge with her best friend, Daisy, and this leads to some shenanigans and ultimately a rekindled friendship (maybe even a romance?).
As always, John Green conjured up characters that seemed as real as you and me. Aza and Daisy’s friendship was strong but imperfect, as friendships tend to be in real life. The characters were hilarious and different than any other characters I’ve ever read. Sometimes, it seems like authors who publish multiple stand-alone novels have the same characters in all their books, just different names and situations. It drives me insane, but John Green is a wizard at creating perfectly imperfect characters that are raw, real and unique. However, I have noticed multiple reviews mention a problem that I definitely agree with. The way in which some of the characters speak and view life is far too advanced and mature than those of real world teens *cough* Davis *cough*. Honestly, I have never heard such deep, thought provoking insights (or anything close to them for that matter) from anyone near 16. Nevertheless, it’s a slight issue that is easy to dismiss while reading the novel, because the importance of the words matters more than who said them.
John Green also has a lovely writing style. He writes in such a lighthearted and comedic fashion that you can’t help but laugh out loud. I feel his writing has improved in the six years since his last work was released. If you were a fan of his writing style in the past, you will enjoy his style in this book too. He also wrote dark scenes with clarity and grace. There were some scenes in this book that were chilling and hard to read. Aza’s thought spirals were very intense, but his writing made them clear and understandable. It was a story that needed to be told, and he told it perfectly.
Overall, this book was fan-freaking-tastic. I was so pleased with this book, and I actually finished it all in one day. I just could not put it down! Kudos to John Green for creating such a wonderful book that told such an important story.