Title: Turtles All the Way Down
Author: John Green
Published by: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Publishing date: October 10th 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
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.
Things I liked:
– The OCD and anxiety representation: This book has #ownvoices representation for OCD and it shows, the depictions of intrusive thoughts in particular are so vivid that it’s easy to empathize with the frustration, the feeling of inevitability and the feeling of being out of control that the main character experiences. In terms of the representation, other aspects that are very well done are: 1) the fact that mental illnesses are a life long struggle and 2) other people don’t understand, even the ones that try to understand have moments were they just don’t, or sometimes it’s just too much for them.
– Positive view of therapy: this is so important and it’s missing from so many books that deal with mental health, even if lately there’s more and more that have positive representation of therapy.
– Love is not a cure: John Green stays away from the love ‘fixes’ people trope. Davis was not a cure for Aza’s mental illness. Also, John Green doesn’t shy away from showing how some actions that for a lot of people are easy like kissing can be difficult, awkward and embarrassing to someone with a mental illness.
-Aza is a quiet person and that’s amazing: Aza is incredibly quiet, and she is ACTUALLY incredibly quiet. A lot of times in books, a character is described as quiet and then you see them be social butterflies and it’s disappointing. So, Aza is quiet and intelligent, and she thinks a lot and as someone who is quiet, I think that’s amazing.
-Davis is a great love interest: He is considerate and patient and such a good big brother. I loved the relationship between Davis and Aza.
Things I didn’t like:
-Some aspects of Aza and Daisy’s friendship: Daisy didn’t understand Aza’s OCD and anxiety, so she felt like Aza didn’t care about her, when in reality Aza was just trying to survive her mental illness and she didn’t have energy for much else. The main problem is that Daisy said some pretty hurtful and harsh things and then she gave a half assed apology, after that everything was resolved too easily and there were things that weren’t addressed.
– Pretentious characters that are a bit unrealistic for the way they talk: This is always a problem with John Green’s characters, I knew what to expect and I didn’t mind that much. But still I feel like it’s important to mention it because it takes you out of the story sometimes, when it’s hard to suspend one’s disbelief at the way the characters talk like they are philosophers.
-It has a weak plot: The plot is introduced shortly at the beginning and then it’s kind of mentioned throughout the story when characters make loose comments about it, but nothing else really happens with the plot until the very end. They do solve the mystery and that help me feel like the plot wasn’t an entire waste of time.