In John Green’s latest novel, Aza is faced with a dilemma when the billionaire father of a childhood friend becomes a fugitive. When her best friend Daisy hears about the $100,000 reward for information leading to his arrest, the pair begin to look into anything that may lead them to his whereabouts. However, through the investigation, Aza becomes much closer to the fugitive’s son and childhood friend, Davis Pickett. Being a supportive friend to Daisy, a good student and investigating the case is a lot, but Aza must also learn how to cope with thought-spirals and intrusive thoughts caused by her anxiety and OCD.
Probably the biggest positive of this novel was how it handled Aza’s mental health conditions. Green has both of the conditions that Aza has, therefore through reading this book I have an increased my awareness of the effect of these conditions on the everyday lives of people like Aza. I think that books are one of the best ways to learn about mental health from a personal perspective, especially if you want more information if you have little experience of them. In my local library, we have a section in the teen fiction area called ‘shelf-help’ with books that cover mental health as one of their main themes, which I think is a really good concept. All the books are endorsed by mental health professionals, so take a look when you next visit your library! (England and Wales).
“The thing about a spiral is, if you follow it inward, it never actually ends. It just keeps tightening, infinitely.”John Green
Many of my friends who are critics of John Green’s novels don’t like, what is in their opinion, cringe-worthy, predictable relationships and the deep, philosophical themes running through many of his books. I agree with them to some extent, but I would say that if you share these opinions, Turtles All the Way Down is different. There isn’t an overly complicated theme running throughout (it’s relatively easy to follow the underlying messages) and the romance was believable and didn’t take centre stage.
Characters like Aza, her mother and Daisy were easy to relate to – they really came to life for me, and I felt like the teens in the story could be in the real world – in Green’s other novels, the protagonists didn’t really represent your average teen because of the deep, philosophical metaphors that they were able to come up with.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and thought it was very good – especially the characters and the themes explored. Let me know how you think these compare to other John Green books, and what you thought about the book as a whole – I’d love to know your thoughts!