I just finished reading Turtles all the Way Down, the new John Green book! It completely lived up to my expectations!
"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."
So! Turtles All the Way Down has been highly anticipated since John Green's Fault in Our Star, that took (and broke) everyone's hearts a few years ago.
In Turtles, we meet Aza, a high school student who lives with OCD. What's interesting is that the author has announced his OCD and has talked about it before.
Never have I read a book where mental illness was a characteristic of one of the main characters, where the illness was talked about so incredibly. Some thought spirals felt real, they were written in such a way that they felt almost like my own thoughts. It was never romanticized, over-dramatized or downplayed. It was truly incredible to read something like this!
This is definitely Green's darkest book, but also the most unique one. We're not looking at his usual tropes of a love story between incredibly quirky characters, with strange friends and deep philosophies. This is a whole new twist on his style, one that I really appreciated!
** SPOILER SECTION**
Okay so I really liked Daisy as a character - she was a supportive friend in the sense that she never pressed Aza for information about how she felt. She had her own story but didn't burden her friend with it because she knew she had problems of her own she needed to face. She took Aza on an adventure which allowed the book to progress.
However, whereas plot is usually a driving force in a book, this book revolved around character interactions. The plot allowed for characterization to develop. Aza and Daisy didn't always agree, but they were there for each other. Their other friend, Mychal, was sweet and strange and a nice addition from time to time.
And then there was Davis. Davis is one of my personal favorite guys from the John Green books. He's quiet, allows for awkward silence and understands that some relationships should be careful and slow. He loves astronomy (aw yes), and is an incredible brother. He is so beautifully patient with Aza's OCD and does not let it bother him.
Oh, can we just talk about how mature everyone is in this book? Characters say exactly what they think, and they recognize individuality. It was nice to read something where you didn't have to 'yell' at characters for not seeing others as human.
One part that really stressed me is when Aza would get into her thought spirals about C.Diff. Her cut finger was like an anchor, which was off-putting. But when she kissed Davis and swallowed hand sanitizer to feel safe, I got so worried for her. There is so much stuff in hand sanitizer... and then she did it at the hospital in front of her mother. That's when I really got the idea that mental illness is not something you can hide in front of others during a bad period. It's not 'just in your head', it's really something scary that almost controls you more than you control it.
I could keep talking about this book forever! There was so many amazing things about it that I wish I could write about with the right words, but I think it's best if you discover all of this for yourself :)
I'm giving this a 5/5 feather! It was really a book I can get back to!
Have you read Turtles All the Way Down? What did you think? Let me know!!