3/52: Turtles All the Way Down


Kath's Bookshelf / Monday, January 15th, 2018

Upon deciding to read fifty-two books this year─which I am documenting over on my Goodreads account as well as the blog─I knew John Green’s new novel, Turtles All the Way Down had to be one of the first books I read. I’ve been a huge fan, like a lot of people, since reading The Fault in Our Stars. From crying on an aeroplane throughout the last few chapters of The Fault in Our Stars, I read all of his books and was delighted to repeatedly see this book in the window of most bookstores late last year. I’m certainly glad my quest to read more lead me to reading this glorious book. I’ll have a chit chat to myself about it below!

turtlesTurtles All the Way Down is narrated by our protagonist, Aza Holmes. After hearing about an attractive award promised to whoever finds Mr. Pickett (a disappeared criminal), Aza’s best friend Daisy convinces her to endeavour to find him. After all, once upon a time, Aza knew his son, Davis. Although immediately disapproving of the pair’s motives, as readers, we follow the best friends as they try to uncover some truths. Once reunited with Aza’s childhood crush, Davis, their objective is interrupted by a little romance. Aza suffers with OCD─although her mental illness is interestingly never named─and Green’s next tale, Turtles All the Way Down, is told through the eyes of intrusive and loud thoughts.

Aza’s narrative is immediately driven by her OCD; a direct reflection of her almost every thought. Green depicts a very raw, honest and, most importantly, useful account of OCD; the mental illness many don’t realise is a mental illness. Aza’s thoughts allow readers to learn about OCD; my absolute favourite part about the book. I’ve never read a book that explores OCD and I’m so glad that I now have. It’s generally accepted that, as a society, we do not face mental illness in the way that we should. Most of us want to change this. It is, however, equally true that we ignore OCD; the anxiety disorder that is fuelled by unwanted thoughts. Green gives OCD a voice through Aza and this is why I first and foremost recommend this book.

As a fan of John Green novels, Turtles All the Way Down didn’t disappoint at all. Elements of the novel supply a little nostalgia to previous novels; in the form of its dark humour, quirky friendships and sense of adventure. It by no means, however, feels like a duplicate of any of his other tales; as always. Aza, Daisy and Davis serve to show us friendship, solidarity, grieving and love. Aza and Daisy’s friendship is endearing, while Aza’s close relationship with her mum is charming; it provides us with comfort while Aza struggles with OCD and missing her dad. An important take away I got from Davis’s character─intentionally or not, by Green─was that, of course, boys and men are allowed to cry. We are so used to strong and stoic male characters and I was happy to see Green inject a lot of emotion into, not just Davis, but every male character we come across in Turtles All the Way Down.

Turtles All the Way Down was exactly the kind of book I wanted to read last week. It’s fun, moving and poignant in all the ways I like a young adult book to be. From the word “go,” you can understand why YA is a genre enjoyed by both young and old alike. Thanks, again, Mr. Green!

I rate Turtles All the Way Down by John Green as 5/5! <3

You can…

  • Buy the book on Amazon HERE!
  • Check out other reviews of this book on Goodreads HERE!
  • Read my review of the second book I read this year HERE!

“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book,” – John Green.

~ Kat ~

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