Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Turtles All the Way Down

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...

Title:Turtles All the Way Down
Author:
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Turtles All the Way Down Reviews

  • Becca

    Let us play a little game called "What could this book possibly about?"

    First off, we can argue a bit about the setting. His early work would suggest that he prefers warm places, but over the years he has slowly migrated to the Midwest.We can assume that this time it will be set on the sun, for the conditions are best for cultivating our feels, and destroying our hope.

    Next, we can examine the characters. They must be the perfect combination of witty, socially awkward, beautiful, and of course, bu

    Let us play a little game called "What could this book possibly about?"

    First off, we can argue a bit about the setting. His early work would suggest that he prefers warm places, but over the years he has slowly migrated to the Midwest.We can assume that this time it will be set on the sun, for the conditions are best for cultivating our feels, and destroying our hope.

    Next, we can examine the characters. They must be the perfect combination of witty, socially awkward, beautiful, and of course, burdened with a great amount of tragedy and overwrought with pain. I'm guessing ex-convict and clown. Good pairing

    The plot is tricky, you see, for this varies greatly book to book. The spectrum is quite wide. I'm going to guess it'll be a complex story that weaves together the lives of the ex-convict who becomes the first great poet in years, and the young circus clown who keeps having dreams of the constellation Hercules. Yes, this sounds about right. I think they will need to save the world from llamas.

    And the romance. One mustn't forget the romance. All you really need to know is it will break your heart.

    So, if I have guessed correctly, this book will be about a past criminal mastermind and a clown, living on the sun. Together they will stop llamas from taking over the universe.

    Or, y'know, worst comes to worst and it's twilight fanfiction.

    Whatever it is, I'm sure we will I CAN'T,"ASFJSDFLK" and feel all of the feels.

    UPDATE: So, we have a title. This is

    about wimbleton and its philosophical after effects.

  • Angelica

    Well, this is awkward.

    I went into this thinking I wouldn’t like it. Heck, I went into it pretty much expecting to dislike. And yes, I know that’s a horrible thing to say, and a terrible reason to read a book, but come on, you can hardly blame me.

    I hated

    , with all of its extremely pretentious characters (although I did cry a

    Well, this is awkward.

    I went into this thinking I wouldn’t like it. Heck, I went into it pretty much expecting to dislike. And yes, I know that’s a horrible thing to say, and a terrible reason to read a book, but come on, you can hardly blame me.

    I hated

    , with all of its extremely pretentious characters (although I did cry at the end, and actually liked the movie). I then left

    , halfway through after a friend spoiled the ending (thanks a lot, Megan!) I also couldn’t get past chapter five of

    , (mostly because I had already seen the movie and hated Margo).

    So,

    , was me giving John Green one last shot. And you know what? I liked it. I actually, genuinely liked it.

    This book is classic John Green. You got the two teenagers from well to do families who sit around contemplating the meaning of the universe with all the knowledge and wisdom of college philosophy professors and the vocabulary of a SAT test book.

    And yet, in spite of all of these things, I actually enjoyed this one. Maybe because Aza and Davis didn’t come across as annoyingly pretentious as Augustus and Hazel had.

    So, the story is about Aza, a girl dealing with spiraling thoughts that are entirely out of her control. She feels trapped and bullied by her mind as her anxiety takes over. And yet, she tries her best to be a good friend and daughter and to live the life she wishes she had.

    It’s also about Davis, a billionaire boy with a missing father, who is trying his best to be a good influence for his 13-year-old brother.

    It’s also about mental illness and family and friendship and falling in love. Really, it’s about a lot of things, but more on that later.

    I think John Green does an excellent job at portraying Aza’s illness and the way that thoughts can sometimes control a person. I know firsthand how hard it can be to deal with invasive thoughts. I know that sometimes the mind seems like a different entity from the self and John Green wonderfully showed all the thoughts going through her head. More so, he did it in a way that properly displayed mental illness.

    I liked the romance also, although at points it was a little too philosophical for my taste. I liked that love doesn’t fix mental illness. I liked that the world goes on and good things happen and sometimes bad things happen. I also like the way that mental illness is portrayed as affecting not just the individual but also those around them. I loved seeing how family and friendships are tested and yet remain. Truly, I think that it was all brilliantly done and I must say, kudos to John Green because I could actually relate.

    So, why not a higher rating? Well, this book felt like it was trying too hard. It was too many things. It took a great story and stretched it out to the point that the plot seemed thin. It felt out of focus and it greatly diminished my liking of it.

    I think it could have had a greater emotional impact if it had focused on only one thing, either Aza and her troubles, or Davis and his missing father. It could either be a look into mental illness or a mystery. Or, it could be both if it were longer and found a way to combine the two. But, alas, it did not.

    Overall, I really enjoyed it and totally recommend. I am actually looking forward to whatever John Green writes next.

    Let me know what you thought!

  • Hailey (HaileyinBookland)

    Trigger warnings: anxiety, OCD

    Writing: 5 stars

    Characters: 4.75 stars

    Plot: 4.5 stars

    Originality: 4 stars

    (all out of 5 stars)

    It's hard to believe I just read a new John Green (JG from now on) book. My mind can't really wrap around that. (Especially given where I was 5 years ago, not even knowing BookTube existed, now I can't imagine my life without BookTube and being Hailey in Bookland). But it was a pleasure to read his writing again. He is extremely talented. I was super nervous

    Trigger warnings: anxiety, OCD

    Writing: 5 stars

    Characters: 4.75 stars

    Plot: 4.5 stars

    Originality: 4 stars

    (all out of 5 stars)

    It's hard to believe I just read a new John Green (JG from now on) book. My mind can't really wrap around that. (Especially given where I was 5 years ago, not even knowing BookTube existed, now I can't imagine my life without BookTube and being Hailey in Bookland). But it was a pleasure to read his writing again. He is extremely talented. I was super nervous going into this admittedly. After the smash success of TFIOS I couldn't imagine a more high pressure situation. Especially as I haven't absolutely loved all of his novels, I just didn't know where this one would fall for me. But I'm so happy that I loved it. It's definitely my favourite YA book on mental illness that I've ever read.

    What sets JG apart and makes him, IMO, a pioneer in the YA genre, is the fact that he writes knowledgable teenage characters. He doesn't discount teenagers as unintelligent due to their developing brains. He recognizes that teenagers, IRL, are able to comprehend complex concepts. (This may seem obvious, but I read a book on writing books for young readers recently and it emphasizes the fact that you have to use the most simplistic language possible so young teenage minds can understand it. BS. Teenagers are not dumb).

    Because of this, his characters are so startlingly relatable. I think Aza is an especially relatable character for me with her struggles with anxiety. The way JG describes her experiences with anxiety spoke to me so intensely. Specifically the metaphor of the spiral. Blew my mind in all honesty. JG definitely has a talent for metaphors, I never get sick of it. He's always had a way of finding the perfect words to describe that which seems indescribable. Seeing him use this technique regarding mental illness was fascinating. I think if you do, or ever have, suffered from mental illness, you will vastly appreciate his narrative.

    I found this story to be very different than JG's other novels. Not in a bad way at all, but the plot was much more subtle. There are two plots happening simultaneously really, one internally and one externally. You think you're following the one and then it turns out the other is the central focus. The way the two were interwoven was genius.

    I think this has been written in a way that will appeal to both the next generation of YA readers as well as the aging generation of YA readers. Typically JG's novels have the romance as a main focal point, and they really are some of my favourite romances, but here the romance takes a back seat. The front seat is occupied by Aza's own personal mental health journey. It was such a nice change. (That's not to say there is no romance, it's there but it's just not the main topic).

    Overall, this made me SO happy that John Green is returning to the world of YA. It was the most authentic representation of mental illness I've ever read and I'm so glad I went in with an open mind. You can tell he is writing about something he's extremely familiar with. I can't wait to see what he comes out with next (I hope he has plans to write more!)

  • Raeleen Lemay

    Not gonna lie, I’m tempted to flip right back to page 1 and read the book again. THAT NEVER HAPPENS TO ME.

  • emma

    : i know what "turtles all the way down" means, i know that the spiral holds significance, and i know that this cover is still full-on ugly. please do not feel obligated to explain to me the wonderful intricacies i am missing. the only thing i am missing is my vision, because this cover is so ugly it blinded me

    -----------

    yes i am already biased against john green, but can we agree that this cover is straight up UGLY???

    and also:

    (i borrowed my sister's computer to say this)

  • Emily May

    This is difficult to rate. Looking back, there were definitely certain aspects that I thought were done well, but I just didn't enjoy either the story or the uber-philosophical writing. Given that I consider three stars t

    This is difficult to rate. Looking back, there were definitely certain aspects that I thought were done well, but I just didn't enjoy either the story or the uber-philosophical writing. Given that I consider three stars to be a mostly positive rating, I'm going with two.

    is really only for those looking for

    . To give him some credit, Green captures Aza's needling anxiety and compulsions very well. That little inner voice of doubt that causes you to question things you

    until maybe you're not so sure is spot on. It's everything else around Aza's inner turmoil that feels like what it is - filler.

    It could very easily have been an interesting portrait of OCD and anxiety, but attempts to add a bizarre subplot of a missing billionaire (who is also the father of her childhood friend, Davis) don't disguise the fact that nothing really happens. I am not opposed to an introspective novel, especially in YA contemporary dealing with mental illness, but I cannot figure out why the author decided to add such a disjointed and nonsensical side story to the mix. Unless, of course, it is yet another "deep metaphor" for the nonsensical nature of anxiety, but I would have found Aza's story far stronger without it.

    The ludicrous and boring plot acts as a superficial backdrop for Green to play out the usual

    Aza's mental illness and Green's philosophy bleed together into statements that are straddling the line between clever and nauseating:

    I had very little patience with hipster teens being hipster back when I was the age of these characters; I have even less now.

    I don't know why Green has to create such annoyingly unrealistic carbon copies of himself. Even secondary characters like Daisy quickly become annoying - calling Aza "Holmesy" in literally every sentence she speaks is extremely irritating. And these text messages between Aza and Davis:

    It's not even right to say these characters don't talk like teenagers because that makes it sound like teens can't possibly be this smart (and they definitely can), but these characters just don't talk like any people I've ever encountered anywhere. Of any age. They sound like what I imagine old buddhist monks to sound like.

    Green takes steps toward exploring the painful reality of living with a mental illness that deeply affects your everyday life and wellbeing, but it's sad that he pulls it back into the land of pretentious philosophical mumbo jumbo. For a while there, it felt real to me, and then it just became John Green talking to himself about the universe and the nature of "self". I guess I have to accept that early John Green - the kind who wrote

    - is a thing of the past.

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  • Ariel

    I’ve been having a bad run with YA lately. I’ve loved it for so long that I persevere on, remembering that there are gems, that there are treasures, but increasingly I’ve found myself worried - have I grown out of it? Have I overdone it? Each novel seems to be repeating some unspoken pattern, or at least trying to make something new out of the same ingredients. It was with trepidation, then, that I wandered in to Turtles All The Way Down, thinking “yes, I’ve liked John Green books in the past, b

    I’ve been having a bad run with YA lately. I’ve loved it for so long that I persevere on, remembering that there are gems, that there are treasures, but increasingly I’ve found myself worried - have I grown out of it? Have I overdone it? Each novel seems to be repeating some unspoken pattern, or at least trying to make something new out of the same ingredients. It was with trepidation, then, that I wandered in to Turtles All The Way Down, thinking “yes, I’ve liked John Green books in the past, but maybe that was before I had grown tired of the same ingredients.” … NOPE. IT’S GREAT. YA IS ALIVE AND WELL.

    Like always, I’m thankful for Green’s refusal to dumb anything down. He treats his teenagers like adults because they are adults, or nearly are, and at the very least deserve the same respect as adults. When we are introduced to Aza’s life, and her way of living it, nothing is hidden. Her anxiety and mental health continue to be an unrelenting problem in the narrative because they are an unrelenting problem in her narrative. It doesn’t ease up, it doesn’t get fixed, and at times it is nearly physically painful to read about a sad girl who can’t get better. You do just want to reach into the pages and give her a shake, or a hug, and tell her to please get better. But that’s the point. She can’t. Or not forever. And that’s okay. Because she’s still lovely and wonderful and loved.

    I have a particular love for the ending. My dad and I agree that watching a good movie is more fun the second time. Now you know that every thing is going to be all right and you can just relax and enjoy it. I went into the ending so nervous that it would be cheesy, or unrealistically hopeful, or really unnecessarily sad. I was so surprised by an ending that moved on from being a teenager, looked at a life beyond teenage hood, that I nearly cried. I nearly cried because not enough teenagers hear that what they’re going through truly matters, but also that they'll be leading a completely different life very soon. It was something I told my brother constantly when he was still in high school and I had gone on to University and suddenly had to try and remember how hard high school had been.

    A note on technology: I feel very strongly about the use of technology in YA. It frustrates me to no end when a teenager “leaves their phone at home” or “runs out of data” or “doesn’t think to text someone something time sensitive.” It isn’t the way that teenagers function, it doesn’t make any sense, it ignores a huge part of the way that teenagers understand themselves and each other, and can you tell that I really care about it yet? John Green does the impossible here: he manages to include technology organically, to make it important to the story and to their lives, but without making it gimmicky. For that, I am also thankful.

    Finally, I am thankful for this representation of mental health. It is ugly, sad, disturbing, frustrating, but not hopeless. It isn’t everything (even though sometimes it is) and it’s honest. I am so happy, so unbelievably happy, that kids and teenagers and also adults will have this. That they will read it and feel understood, or empathize, or both. You know how we always want books to “make us better people”? To “show us new perspectives we couldn’t imagine”? Pick up Turtles All The Way Down.

    Full disclosure: I read an early version of the book and worked with John Green and his editor, and my name is in the acknowledgments! The posting of this review is unrelated to the work I did!

  • Hannah

    I’m speechless. It’s stunning.

  • Zoë

    Even though I just finished this book, I already know it's one that will stick with me for years to come. I can't fully express how cathartic this book was. I finally saw parts of myself represented in a novel - the parts that I was ashamed of and pretended didn't exist. This is by far my favorite John Green novel. I can't say much more about this because I'm still sobbing over it. Just read it, please.

  • Emma Giordano

    4.5 STARS I REALLY REALLY ENJOYED THIS BOOK.

    If I leave this review blank for now, I may force myself to film a video review (which I really want to do!) hahah


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