Title: Turtles All The Way Down
Author: John Green
Published In: 2017
Rating: 5 stars
Review: Turtles All The Way Down by John Green is a young-adult contemporary novel following Aza Holmes, a teenage girl battling anxiety throughout her daily life. In their senior year of high school, Aza and her extroverted, Star Wars obsessed best friend Daisy decide to investigate a “missing person” case, hoping to find a fugitive billionaire for a huge cash reward. The case leads Aza to reunite with an old childhood friend who happens to be the son of the billionaire. Throughout the novel, Aza’s story explores the tumultuous lives of teenagers acclimating to new aspects of friendship, romance, and college planning. Aza struggles to navigate her busy life with her overwhelming anxiety issues and spiraling thoughts.
I have been reading John Green novels since 5th grade, and his “Crashcourse” educational videos on YouTube have helped me through many history exams. However, I have always been hypercritical of his novels due to their immense popularity and often cheesy romance plots. This book was a quick read for me, immediately becoming my favorite John Green novel, despite being viewed with such a critical eye. The characters and their relationships were astoundingly realistic- not once did I sense the feeling of “cheesiness” that I have accused John Green of in the past. While reading this novel, Aza’s experiences with anxiety were captivatingly genuine. Accurate representations of mental illness are important in today’s media, and Green handled the heavy topic in a way that resonates with the reader and does not glorify the terrors of anxiety. Turtles brings up a lot of existential musings about the meaning of life, leaving the reader feeling both entertained and enlightened.
This book is a classic “coming of age” novel. Although it is geared towards teenagers experiencing the pressures of high school, I would recommend it to adults as well. Anyone who enjoys John Green’s previous books are sure to be blown away by this one- in my opinion, this newest novel has surpassed all of his other works. If you have not tried reading John Green yet, this book is definitely the one I would recommend to start off with. However, it should contain a trigger warning for anxiety, self harm, and OCD. Although reading about a genuinely represented mental health story may be comforting and interesting for some, certain parts of the plot may be upsetting to others.