bookish: turtles all the way down review
“Spirals grow infinitely small the farther you follow them inward, but they also grow infinitely large the farther you follow them out,” Aza
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green (here)
John Green has been one of my favorite contemporary authors since I read Looking for Alaska for the first time in 2007. Until, I read The Fault in Our Stars days after it was released. While it certainly is touted as his best novel yet, I didn’t love it. I thought I had, perhaps, outgrown Mr. Green’s writing. So, when Turtles All the Way Down released in 2017, I was hesitant to say the least. I put it off in favor of other reads (mainly the bodice ripping historical fiction series Outlander...oh, Jamie...I love you so).
As they say, everything happens for a reason. And there was a reason I did not read Turtles All the Way Down when it released. A big Cosmic Reason.
Had I read this book in 2017, I would not have been in the place in my journey to truly appreciate how stunningly accurate John Green captured the all-consuming spiral of anxiety and worry.This book came to me at exactly the right time. Always trust the Cosmos, people.
Aza is quiet, smart teen floating along the proverbial river of high school (and sometimes the actual river around which Indianapolis was built). Aza, like all great main characters, has a Secret. Sweet Aza suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and is frequented by invasives - also known as intrusive thoughts. These thoughts often paralyze her but luckily, her best friend, Daisy, has her back.
When a billionaire, who’s son went to camp with Aza, goes missing and a $100,000 reward is posted, Daisy and Aza take off down the river to seek out clues about his disappearance from his riverside estate. After faking a canoe crash, Aza and Daisy are escorted around the property where they, of course, run into Davis.
Aza and Davis reconnect amidst the public frenzy surrounding his father’s case but it isn’t long before Aza’s inability to steer the ship of her consciousness derails their budding romance.
This YA contemporary romance novel captures the essence of John Green - complex, quirky main characters and gorgeous, poetic prose. There is nothing more quotable than a John Green novel.
His famous formula is present here - a character with a bizarre habit or weird obsession, a love interest, and an imperfect but happy ending.And sure, there were some problematic parts - like Aza’s mom totally inappropriate, awkward, and immature outburst when meeting Davis for the first time. Still, I loved this book because of the incredibly detailed depiction of an anxiety disorder. This book made me laugh and cry and feel all the feels. Because, Aza’s experience was so, so real.
If you have ever suffered from anxiety, depression, impulsive thoughts, or just had difficult getting out of your own head, this book is for you. Take solace in knowing, once and for all, that you are not alone.
“There is hope, even when your brain tells you there isn’t.” - John Green