It had been almost five years since a new John Green book had been released, and that wasn’t that unusual for the author, but since two of his books had been turned into movies so recently, people were clamoring for a new novel. Green absolutely delivered with his new book, Turtles All the Way Down, which has quickly become my favorite of his novels. I loved Looking for Alaska, hated Paper Towns, and felt indifferent about the rest, but I can’t stop recommending Turtles All the Way Down to everyone I meet and thinking about it whenever I look at hand sanitizer. If you haven’t read it yet, you’ll understand what I mean when I do.
Turtles All the Way Down follows Aza, a teenage girl suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder as she tries to grapple with her increasingly concerning thoughts, all while dealing with the mystery of a missing businessman, his son who she is reconnecting with, and a best friend that seems a bit tired of her antics. Green crafts a fascinating and adorable story that keeps the reader locked into every page and breaks your heart a couple times throughout. It’s not a tearjerker like The Fault in our Stars, but if you don’t tear up at the end, you might be soulless.
One of the biggest issues of the novel is Aza’s mental illness, and how it affects her life and the lives of those around her, and Green handles it well because he’s affected by a similar plight. His writing does a great job of making you FEEL what Aza feels and understanding how it affects her decisions even if you don’t agree with her decisions ultimately.
Personally, I loved the undercurrent mystery of the missing business, Pickett, throughout the novel and thought the resolution was very smartly done and gave a nice resolution without being too heavy-handed. Yes, the end felt inevitable, and I expected what came about, but I certainly didn’t expect it to be discovered in the manner that it was, and that was a pleasant literary twist.
Overall, Turtles All the Way Down was an excellent book and I flew through it. If you’re skeptical of John Green, I beg you to give this one a chance. It has so much nuance that his other novels lack, and this novel has a fascinating plot that you’ll actually care about more so than I did in Paper Towns, when I could have cared less about Margo. I wanted to know where Pickett was, even if I liked what was happening to his son and Aza in his absence. Aza’s mental illness and its description is needed in modern YA literature, and I think it will be much appreciated. Pick up this book. You won’t regret it.