Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Happy Halloween! While many of you are looking forward to candy, there is no greater treat to me than a good book. So instead of candy corn, I’m treating you to this tasty review that will tickle your brain instead of your sweet tooth!

Aza is trapped. Not down a well or in a dungeon, but in the claustrophobic spiral of her own obsessive thoughts.  She worries about germs and bacteria. She worries about sweating too much. She worries that the scab she keeps opening up on her finger will get infected, and the infection will spread and eventually kill her. She worries that her medication doesn’t really work. She worries that all her worries mean she’s crazy. So when eccentric local billionaire Russell Pickett disappears under questionable circumstances and Aza’s exuberant best friend Daisy insists that they try and find him so they can claim the hundred thousand dollar reward, Aza feels a little relief at being able to focus on something other than her uncontrollable thoughts. But trying to solve the mystery introduces a whole new set of complications into Aza’s life, including an inconvenient crush on Pickett’s son, her former schoolyard friend Davis. Davis is the first person Aza’s ever told the truth about the scab on her finger: “that the pressing of my thumbnail  against my fingertip had started off as a way of convincing myself that I was real.” Aza worries that if she can’t control her thoughts, maybe that means she isn’t really in control of anything and maybe, just maybe she doesn’t even exist. Instead of pulling away, Davis only grows more interested in Aza, until she’s less worried that he likes her and more worried about his bacteria mixing with hers when they kiss. Can Aza find a way to manage her anxieties and relationships in a way that will allow her to feel alive instead of just living? This deeply personal novel is by master heart-tugger and brain-bender John Green, so expect no easy answers. What you can expect is a realistic and compassionate examination of what it’s like to live with OCD,  a fair amount of Star Wars fan fiction, facts about tuataras and clever, rapid-fire dialogue. Because like I said, this is a John Green novel. And he does cerebral, unconventional YA like no one else. Both superfans and John Green neophytes should also check out these interviews about the book and this adorbs morning show clip:

2 thoughts on “Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

  1. TBH I wasn’t too impressed with the writing in The Fault in Our Stars but the topic was interesting. I feel the same way about Turtles All the Way Down even though I haven’t read the book. John Green really knows how to intrigue his readers!

  2. Yep, I read TATWD, and granted it wasn’t the best JG book, but it wasn’t half-bad. I especially love that nothing became perfect for Aza, like there was no awesome kiss and no great sex after which she suddenly lost OCD, tossed all anxieties to the wind and lived happily ever after, because that doesn’t happen. She didn’t make out, her relationship didn’t work and it was okay, because she was okay, she was learning to live with it, just like she had been all her life, and though there was no cool rich billionaire to smooch her through life, she had good friends and a loving parent and strength to cope with shit.
    But TATWD was still not better than Will Grayson, Will Grayson. I love ThAT book by JG, honestly. Though he co-wrote it with David Levitham but whatever.

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