John Green, author of bestsellers Looking for Alaska, Paper Towns, and The Fault in Our Stars, needs no introduction. Turtles All The Way Down more than lives up to the standard of writing and soul we’ve come to expect.
This book is heartfelt and moving. It is at times darker than some of his previous novels and Green is never been afraid of tackling significant topics – terminal illness, complicated romance, teenage angst, and self-discovery.
Sixteen-year-old Aza Holmes is just trying to get through the day. With worries such as a rambunctious best friend, a mother who doesn’t understand her, and a father who’s passed away, she drifts through high school by dealing with Human Microbiota and terrifying Wikipedia articles.
You see, Aza has OCD, and deals day to day with anxiety and intrusive thoughts (though she prefers to call them invasive, like weeds in a garden). Even though her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, and her mum try to be there for her, it’s a daily struggle to keep a grip on her thoughts, while quieting the invasive ones.
When her childhood crush’s billionaire father skips town to avoid getting arrested, a hundred thousand dollar bounty is set for his return. She seriously wasn’t expecting to be drawn into a world of detective work, hacking at Appleby’s, and millennia old lizards that live in the local mansion. But her Most Fearless Friend encourages her to get on the case, since she’s pretty much the only one who knows Davis Pickett, the billionaire’s son.
But David doesn’t want his father to be found, and all of a sudden Aza finds herself juggling the demands of her Best and Most Fearless Friend with her crush’s wish for secrecy.
Turtles All The Way Down is exceptional for the way it blends genres – it’s a Young Adult coming-of-age that combines elements of detective fiction with a treatise on mental illness. Aza’s OCD is represented honestly and thoughtfully, which comes as no wonder, given how open Green has been about dealing with the same illness.
While the book unflinchingly depicts mental illness and panic attacks, we highly recommend this for readers over fifteen. It deals with grief, anxiety, and the struggles of being a teenager. But beyond that, it’s an honest and insightful look into love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.
John Green is the award-winning, #1 bestselling author of Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, Paper Towns, Will Grayson, Will Grayson (with David Levithan), and The Fault in Our Stars. His many accolades include the Printz Medal, a Printz Honor, and the Edgar Award. John has twice been a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize and was selected by TIME magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. With his brother, Hank, John is one half of the Vlogbrothers and co-created the online educational series CrashCourse. You can join the millions who follow him on Twitter @johngreen and Instagram @johngreenwritesbooks or visit him online at johngreenbooks.com. John lives with his family in Indianapolis, Indiana.