Book: Turtles All the Way Down
Author: John Green
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Synopsis: Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.
Previous to this, I have only read two other books by John Green, The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns. I loved TFIOS, and I enjoyed Paper Towns, just not as much. I know there was a lot of expectation surrounding Turtles All the Way Down because there is such a huge gap between it and his last novel. I have to say I am so glad that I read this book!
We follow Aza, a high school student who helps her best friend try to figure out what happened to a fugitive billionaire who disappeared from his home the night before a police raid, who also happens to be the father of her childhood friend. Whilst all this is happening we get an in-depth look inside Aza’s head as she struggles to deal with anxiety and OCD.
I’ve never been diagnosed with anxiety but there was so much in this book that I related to. The characters were so real and showed raw emotion that is difficult to capture in writing. The complex way Green manages to show us the thought process going on inside Aza’s head, I feel, accurately depicts what goes on people start worrying and the internal battle they struggle with. I think the metaphor used throughout the book of the spiral is the best way to describe it;
“Spirals grow infinitely small the farther you follow them inward, but they also grow infinitely large the farther you follow them out.”
I have a habit of overthinking literally everything I do, and I feel myself getting stuck in a spiral sometimes, I just need to start focusing on following them out rather than in.
I really liked the ending of this book because it showed that there isn’t an immediate cure, there is no one thing fixes all magical medicine. You may struggle with this for the rest of your life, but it shows there are ways to cope with it and to try to make it easier to live with. It’s all about finding what works for you.
This book was just so real. Everyone has good and bad days, even those who suffer from mental health issues. One of the quotes that stuck out to me in the book was;
“I was not always stuck inside myself, or inside my selves. I wasn’t only crazy.”
This is such an important message for people suffering from mental health issues, it does not define who you are. I know that there is a habit of YA books to show characters with mental health issues being their sole personality, and I know that this does happen in extreme cases, but what I liked about this book was that it showed Aza being a normal teenage girl, hanging out with her friends and trying to start a new relationship.
The subplot of this book with the mystery of the missing fugitive took more of a backseat than I would have liked, but I still enjoyed it, I just wish there was more of it. I also found it a little unbelievable that Davis would just give Aza all that money, but that is my only criticism of this book!
This book is beautifully written, so relatable and just all around a triumphant return for John Green! I urge anyone who feels as though they are struggling to go and read this book, it may help put into words how you’re feeling.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5