Book Review: Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

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. 

Title: Turtles All the Way Down
Author: John Green
Published: October 10th 2017 by Penguin

Blurb: 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. 

Review: Let me start by saying Turtles All the Way Down is a brilliant book. Given that John Green is a really famous writer and that his last book was a smashing success, expectations for this one were really high, to say the least. So I went into it with quite an open mind but I instantly realised we were in for a very special ride. 

In this story, we get to meet Aza, her mum and her circle of friends, especially her best friend, Daisy. Aza is a highly interesting character. She suffers OCD and as you read about her and her ever-tightening spiral of thoughts, you really understand what she is going through and how it is affecting her life. I really think that John Green paints a really clear picture of what suffering a mental illness feels like (for the person suffering and for the people around them), which I am sure will open many eyes. 

Once again, teenagers in this story are very mature and really intelligent, discussing complex concepts and wondering about the universe and the meaning of life. I've read already a few reviews that say that this makes them less real or relatable but for me it's quite the contrary. I enjoyed immensely reading about them and learning about their struggles, their fascinations and dreams and I think many young readers will relate easily with these characters. 

On first sight, the plot for this story is not really complex, two girls trying to gather clues about a famous disappearance. But everything that happens around it, the characters, their conversations, their interactions, their struggles, their inner worlds... is what makes this book so special.

For me, this book is a winner and a must-read. It's definitely different from John Green's previous books but so so good. I am sure this book will touch many readers.

Rating: 5 stars

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