TITLE: Turtles All The Way Down
SERIES: Standalone
AUTHOR: John Green
PUBLICATION DATE: October 10th 2017
PUBLISHER: Dutton Books for Young Readers
GENRE: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mental Illness


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 a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.


Have you ever had that feeling that even when you just started reading something, you sort of already know that you’d end up not loving it?

That was how I felt towards Turtles All the Way Down.

I didn’t completely hate this book. It had some charms to it. But it just wasn’t the book I thought it was going to be. Maybe, I was more disappointed with it because of the fact that I love John Green and expected more from this than what I got.


• I loved the fact that Turtles All The Way Down is an Own Voices novel. That in itself is enough for me to give this book plus points

• My second reason is closely related to my first one. Since this book is written by someone who is also experiencing OCD, the representation of the illness, I would expect, is accurate. To be honest, I’m not well-read on OCD. My understanding of this condition is completely different from what it truly is apparently.

And I like that for two reasons:

1. People with OCDs get to see themselves represented in books.

2. So that people like me who are clueless about OCD gets to understand what this condition is really about and how it affects the person who has it as well as the people around them.


POINT ONE: Why have a plot that didn’t completely focus on the main character?

I didn’t need it. I didn’t need a story involving another person’s family. I didn’t need a romance as an add on to the already unnecessary plot involving the disappearance of someone else’s father. I didn’t need any of them. I would have been perfectly fine just following Aza and her struggles with OCD. I didn’t need the irrelevant story about Davis’ (the love interest…. or sort of) father going missing. I found that entire plot completely superfluous. This story didn’t need that. I would have liked this book more if that entire thing has been cut out and just focused on Aza.

Which brings me to my next point.

POINT TWO: I had a hard time connecting with Aza or even caring about her.

To be fair, John Green did a good job showing us what it is like to be inside the mind of someone experiencing OCD. How Aza’s thought spiral out of control every now and then. That’s all well and good. I just think it wasn’t enough. I wish the story just entirely focused on Aza and her condition. I feel like her story became more of a side plot instead of being the main focus of the story which then made me not care for her as much as I cared about Noah and Davis.


Like the plot about Davis and his father, I felt that the romance plot is unnecessary, too. I would have been perfectly fine with them just being friends. Their entire relationship just didn’t feel realistic, or genuine, to me.

POINT FOUR: Everything seems unrealistic.

Aside from Aza’s condition, nothing else felt realistic to me. A lot of things that happened in this book just didn’t make sense. The characters were in situations that would most likely not happen in real life. I guess that’s most likely why I find it so hard to connect with her. One example would be two teens trying to find a missing man, then eventually finding out more than the police just because one of the characters knew the son of the missing person. That wasn’t even the worse of it.


I didn’t completely love this book, but I still love John Green. I really do. I’d definitely still be reading his future books. Turtles All The Way Down was just not for me.

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