I have a soft spot for John Green. The Fault in Our Stars exposed me to a new type of young adult novels where before I was only reading dystopian (The Hunger Games) and fantasy (Harry Potter). He does YouTube videos with his brother Hank called the vlogbrothers and he is open about his mental struggles. His newest release is called Turtles All the Way Down and even though it doesn’t beat The Fault in Our Stars as my favorite, I enjoyed reading it and the story managed to surprise me.
The story is about Aza Holmes, a high schooler who lives in Indianapolis, Indiana. Her best friend is Daisy and she lives with her mom, a teacher. She misses her deceased dad every day and drives his car to school. Aza has obsessive compulsive disorder. She is constantly worried about the bacteria that could be infecting her body. And when she decides to investigate the disappearance of a local billionaire with Daisy, her mental health starts to spiral out of control.
Green has used the missing person angle before. Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns both deal with boys going after girls that they are fascinated/infatuated with. When I began Turtles I thought I was getting more of the same. Aza’s singular focus on what is going on in her body irritated me as the story of the eccentric billionaire didn’t hold my interest. But as I kept reading, I began to empathize with Aza. I don’t know if it is because sometimes I wish I could get out of my own head because of the destructive thoughts or if I could relate to her feelings of almost drowning. The mystery became secondary to her getting worse and those around trying to help.
If you like young adult novels (and you really should because there are so many great ones out there), I recommend Turtles All the Way Down. John Green obviously cares about the younger generation and it is reflected in these characters he creates with attention.
I hope you have a go to list of things that make you happy and you get to enjoy them over the weekend. Thanks for reading!