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Turtles All the Way Down Hardcover – 10 Oct 2017
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A new modern classic (Guardian)
A wrenching and revelatory novel (The New York Times)
Imaginative . . . affecting . . . unforgettable (Heat)
Written with a sure grasp of the thought processes of teenagers . . . Another winner (The Sunday Times)
Tender, wise, and hopeful (The Wall Street Journal)
Green's most authentic and most ambitious work to date (Bustle)
An existential teenage scream (Vox)
Turtles delivers a lesson that we so desperately need right now: Yes, it is okay not to be okay . . . John Green has crafted a dynamic novel that is deeply honest, sometimes painful, and always thoughtful, delivered with the characteristic charm the author is known for. John Green, welcome back. We missed you. (Mashable)
A thoughtful look at mental illness and a debilitating obsessive-compulsive disorder that doesn't ask but makes you feel the constant struggles of its main character . . . Turtles explores the definition of happy endings, whether love is a tragedy or a failure, and a universal lesson for us all: 'You work with what you have'. (USA Today)
A full-on emotional bleed-out . . . John Green hasn't created a book as much as he's created a place - a place to have your most indefinable and grotesque thoughts articulated, to ponder the disconnected reality you experience . . . No matter where you are on the spiral - and we're all somewhere - Green's novel makes the trip, either up or down, a less solitary experience. (The Globe and Mail)
From the Inside Flap
The wait is over! John Green, the #1 bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars, is back.
First edition includes an exclusive jacket poster featuring some of John's most brilliant and memorable quotes.
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.
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What’s it about?
Turtles All the Way Down is about Aza and her best friend Daisy who discover that a billionaire in their town has gone missing. Not only that, there’s a huge reward for anyone who can help locate him. And not only that, Aza used to be good friends with his son. Aza and Davis become close and have to navigate through their relationship and their own issues, including Aza’s severe OCD and mental health problems.
Admittedly, it wasn’t the most riveting storyline in terms of action. The billionaire storyline probably wasn’t strictly needed but unlike so many others, I actually really liked it winding through the main elements which is firmly Aza’s OCD and anxiety (more on that later). I thought the missing billionaire element could have been a bit “more” but I also understand that it was more about Davis and his brother, Noah’s reaction to their negligent, missing dad rather than the dad himself.
Mental health & Aza
John Green did an amazing job with Aza. Written from her point of view, you get a real, raw sense of what it’s like being in the mind of someone with OCD. Although I have anxiety, I don’t have OCD nor do I know too much about it and the thought processes that people with the condition have on a daily basis. But this book truly made me understand more. If you’re one of those people that say something is, “a little bit OCD” then I would highly suggest you read this book because I guarantee you will stop saying something so insensitive after reading it. It was heart-breaking at times, seeing Aza’s constant struggle with her own mind.
It’s quite obvious that Green went through extensive research for this character and her condition. We’ve all read books with mental health themes which weren’t sensitive or accurate and generally just got it really wrong but John Green knows what he’s doing, he understands and you can tell that straight away from this book. He doesn’t try and make Aza anything she’s not. She is what she is, thinks how she thinks and that’s that, we take her or leave her but we’re also led to sympathise with her and really feel for her as a character.
Aside from Aza who I’ve gone in to, I absolutely loved Aza’s best friend Daisy, she had such a huge personality and was probably my favourite character in the whole book – she’s the kind of person I’d love to be friends with myself (she also writes Star Wars fan fiction,what more could you want?) She’s a huge contrast to Aza, in fact the complete opposite and despite the fact they clash quite heavily in one part of the book, I think it makes them better friends that they are so different.
I would have liked to read more about Davis and know him more because on the surface, he’s a really interesting and intriguing character. He’s clearly quite lost in himself and in life – perhaps because of growing up a billionaire’s son and not having a mum but I liked the insights into his blog and his poetry.
There wasn’t many more main-ish characters but I think the characters such as Aza’s mum and her psychologist were very well written but also very annoying but I think that was intentional, especially because the book was written in Aza’s POV. From my own anxiety experiences, I know that people can come across as annoying when dealing with your mental health, even though their intentions are well.
After such a long wait, I personally was not disappointed in the slightest with Turtles All the Way Down. As always, it captures Green’s beautiful way with words and his immaculate ability to make you think about yourself and life in completely different ways. It was effortlessly written and effortless to read – it was without a doubt the quickest book I’ve read all year and I’m not a fast reader. Although it’s not the most action-packed and riveting book, it packs a punch, delivers a message and it made me think about the idea of the “self”, of our thoughts and actions and what it means to love and miss people. Nothing I say will do this book justice for me. I adored every bit of it.
― John Green, Turtles All the Way Down
Wow. This book was stunning. Hard to read (trigger warnings for OCD and anxiety), but Jesus, did it feel healing at the same time.
John Green wrote the shit out of this book. The way mental health was portrayed through Aza was excruciating, harrowing and educational to read about and it still made me feel that though the stigma might have lessened a bit, the understanding of this subject is narrow.
I felt this book to my core. I was there with Aza when she was spiralling out of control, her mind constantly pulling her in different directions, finding no centre, the constant doubt hurling you further into finding no fixed point, so that you may breathe and focus.
I've so much admiration for Green for writing so openly in this book. It was so raw and bleak and the ugly side of mental health truly came to live, because that's how it is and what it can manifest into.
And though, it may seem difficult to find hope, a way to see the light at the end of the tunnel that seems never-reaching, it is there. It is tangible and can be found.
John Green took me on a rollercoaster of emotions. I was laughing at the character interaction between Aza and her best friend, Daisy. And then I was crying at how much Aza's character was fighting a lonely battle with her inner demon. It was heart-wrenching at times and I hoped for a quick fix for her, but as I found out, that's not easy with mental illness. There is a part of me that was disappointed with how the story ended and I was going to leave this story 4/5 but I now realise that Aza's battle with her demon would be long-lasting. There is no fast cure for what she feels and we were left knowing that she would go on fighting way after the last turn of the page.
There were some comical character interactions between Daisy and Aza which helped to throw in some lighter moments to the quite 'harrowing' read. The characters are brilliantly written and likeable. I love that each character has their own feel to them and I read with both tears in my eyes and a smile on my face.
With every spiral that Aza battled I felt every twist and turn and understood the intensity of struggle to remain normal and to ignore her invasive thoughts; especially when she tries to have a romantic relationship with Davis.
All in all, this book was a very interesting read and I can see how it could help a lot of people who are in the same boat as our main character. Even if it gives them words to show their family/friends so they can get a better understanding of what they go through.
I would highly recommend this book!
As a fan of John's YouTube work, and being a little more aware of his personal life than a random author, it was a real eye opener into the day to day struggles John may have with his own personal OCD demons.
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