Turtles All the Way Down – John Green

turtles all the way down
5 star

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary 
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers

Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

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.

In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.

Turtles All the Way Down is an accurate, truthful, and genuine portrayal of anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Pain and suffering radiates from this novel in a way that cuts the reader deeply, even if they cannot identify with Aza completely.

The biggest criticism I’ve seen of Green’s work is how pretentious and unrealistic the teenagers are written. I think a lot of people forget how insightful and intelligent teenagers can be, but I do understand the criticism especially when looking at The Fault in our Stars. However, I think Green struck the perfect balance between portraying the teenagers in Turtles All the Way Down as intelligent, but down to earth.

Aza suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety. She often experiences invasive thoughts that she cannot control. She explains her thoughts and feelings in excruciating detail that made me cringe and want to look away. Green has absolutely accomplished the goal of making readers who do not understand what it feels like to experience thoughts that you cannot control. I immediately felt sympathy for Aza and those around her.

Not once throughout the whole novel did I feel like I wasn’t reading from the perspective of a teenage girl. I don’t know why it’s so hard for some authors to write a female perspective. Green does NOT have this problem. It’s almost as if he sees women as human beings! *gasp!*

Overall, Turtles All the Way Down is an in depth look into the life of a teenage girl suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder. Everything about this novel rings genuine and true. Thank you John Green for channeling your own experiences to expertly craft this all too important novel.

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