Monday, November 06, 2017

Review- Turtles All the Way Down by John Green


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. 

In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.

Release date: October 10th, 2017
Published by: Penguin
Page numbers: 286


It is difficult for me to review a John Green book. I am not a crazy John Green fangirl but I thoroughly enjoyed myself while reading Will Grayson, Will Grayson. It still remains to be one of my all time favourite reads. Turtles All the Way Down is the story of Aza and her struggle with her mental illness and anxiety. So while I did find Turtles All the Way Down to be an interesting read it did not blow my mind away.

I want to start with the good. I love John Green's writing style. The only reason I want to read his books are for the way he strings together words into sentences to make perfect sense of what we feel sometimes. It does sound philosophical and I have a hard time imagining a sixteen year old would have these thoughts but it is beautiful. I could keep on gushing about his writing forever. Here are a few examples of what I'm talking about-

"Anybody can look at you. It's quite rare to find someone who sees the same world you see."

"And we're such language-based creatures that to some extent we cannot know what we cannot name. And so we assume it isn't real."

" I thought about him asking me if I'd ever been in love. It's a weird phrase in English, in love, like it's a sea you drown in or a town you live in. You don't get to be in anything else- in friendship or in anger or in hope. All you can be in is love. And I wanted to tell him that even though I'd never been in love, I knew what it was like to be in a feeling, to be not just surrounded by it but also permeated by it,"

"In the best conversations, you don't even remember what you talked about, only how it felt."

See what I mean? I think John Green does a good job of showing how mental illness and anxiety affects Aza. While we are in her head we can see how difficult it is for a person going through these things. How it feels impossible to overcome one's thoughts and it is a spiral which keeps tightening and tightening and tightening.

What fell flat for me in Turtles All the Way Down was the mystery plot of the billionaire Russell Pickett. At first I was intrigued but then I basically didn't care and lost my interest. There is also a sweet romance between Aza and Davis who is her childhood friend and the missing billionaire's son. Again while I thought it was cute I wasn't very invested. I did admire Aza's best friend Daisy though. Her character had spunk and she was a good friend to Aza.

So as you can probably make out from my review, I have some mixed feelings about Turtles All the Way Down. I would highly recommend it if you're a die hard John Green fan or if you enjoy his writing. If you're looking for more though, I'm not sure you'll find it.

*Note: A copy of this book was provided by the publishers in exchange for an honest review. We thank them.


  1. Excellent review, Janhvi! I loved the quotes you chose and your thoughts on his writing. Have you read Fault in Our Stars? I loved that one, but had trouble getting into one of his other books. The mental health aspect of this one has me intrigued.

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