Turtles All the Way Down is a young adult novel written by John Green. I haven’t had very many YA titles in my reading queue lately, but I’ve enjoyed Green’s books in the past, and so I took the opportunity to check this one out of the library.
Aza seems like a fairly typical teenage girl, but she struggles with anxiety, which is exacerbated by thoughts of germs and becoming sick (specifically with c diff). Her routine is thrown into disarray when Russell Pickett, a local billionaire disappears and a $100k reward is offered for any information that leads to his whereabouts.
Aza, goaded by her best friend, reluctantly takes up the search. She happens to know Pickett’s son Davis because they attended a grief camp together, and her sleuthing leads to a reconnection with her old friend. Everything seems to be going well for Aza, but her negative thoughts become more persistent, and she can’t stop thinking about getting sick, and starts exploring extreme measures in her quest to avoid illness.
This was a wonderful book, infused with the quirky charm that Green’s books always have. It has been a few years since I was in high school, and times have changed significantly, but some things are universal. Green captures American youth so perfectly- friendships, falling in love, and figuring out the future. Green deals with the struggle with anxiety and compulsions fairly well. I could empathize with Aza because I experience similar anxiety revolving around stomach bugs. It’s so easy to fall into a cycle, and Aza tries so hard to maintain a sense of normalcy.
I would recommend Turtles All the Way Down to YA readers of all ages. I would say that The Fault in Our Stars is still my favorite of Green’s books, this one comes in a close second. It is certainly worth waiting several years for a new John Green book!