Don’t give up on me just yet, I’m still trying to post on here from time to time, and today I am here with a book review! I have read all the John Green books and really enjoyed them, so of course I was really anticipating his new book Turtles all the way down. To be honest, I didn’t really know what to expect because I grew a lot since his previous releases, and I wasn’t sure I would like this one quite as much. However, when I learnt that it was going to deal with mental illness, I knew I had to pick it up.
Title: Turtles All The Way Down
Author: John Green
Release: October 2017
Genre: YA, Mystery
My rating: ★★★★★
What the book is about:
The main character, Aza, deals with OCD and doesn’t know how to get out of her spirals of thoughts. When millionaire Russell Pickett disappears, leaving his two sons and his tuatara behind in his mansion, Aza’s best friend decides that they have to reconnect with Davis, Russell’s oldest son who used to be friend with Aza, and the two girls try to pierce the mystery of his disappearance.
Honestly, the story didn’t sound like much, but I did love the book.
The first thing I noticed is how much John Green’s style has matured, and I’m so glad it has. The book is extremely well-written, and therefore really enjoyable to read.
MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
I also liked how it dealt with money issues. Aza lives alone with her mom, after her father died in an accident, but they do have money. However, her best friend Daisy comes from a family with several kids, works a part-time job and is worried about her college fund, so when the reward is announced for any information concerning Pickett’s disappearance, she wants to go for it. But not just for fun, she wants to use the money to go to college. Now that’s an issue I’m not really familiar with, on the one hand because college education isn’t that expensive in my country, and on the other hand because it has never really been an issue with my family. However, I know it’s a problem for a lot of people, and it’s unfortunately something I don’t get to see a lot in books, so I’m glad John Green decided to address it here.
And of course, I loved the mental illness aspect of the book. What makes it powerful in my opinion is the fact that John Green also has OCD, and it’s the first time he addressed this very important issue in a book. No wonder it took him so long to publish a new story. And I’m so glad he decided to write it. I don’t have OCD but I do have depression and anxiety, and you have no idea how much I could recognize myself in Aza’s spirals of thoughts. And it feels to good to be able to read such a relatable character.
I definitely appreciate that we didn’t get a “love saves it all” ending because falling in love doesn’t cure mental illness, and I will never say that enough. I think the romance aspect of the story was well-executed and very realistic. Turtles all the way down feels like a coming of age story, and more than this, it feels like my kind of coming of age stories, and we need more books like this.
In addition, and this is something I like more and more in books, was the way it dealt with friendships and family. Aza and Daisy’s friendship is not perfect. They are very different though complete each other. They have their fights, they make up, and I think that in the fight with mental illness, friendship can be your best ally. Of course, that’s not all you need. But I loved that aspect of the story.
And finally, I couldn’t conclude this review without talking a little bit more about how Aza deals with her OCD. She sees a therapist, and doesn’t see how it helps. She is scared of taking her meds because she is afraid it will make her not her anymore. And I have those fears myself sometimes. Dealing with mental illness is a restless fight day after day. But I promise that seeing a therapist and taking your meds can help.
Meanwhile, I definitely recommend you check out Turtles all the way down, because it’s a fantastic book. And if you liked it, I can also recommend A Quiet Kind of Thunder because it also deals with similar issues and it’s a very wonderful book (review here).