Book Review - Turtles all the way down


Turtles all the way down - John Green

I spent a lot of my teenage years reading John Green’s books, with many of them making me cry (I still haven’t forgiven you about Gus, Mr. Green) so you can imagine my excitement over his new release, Turtles All The Way Down, five years later.

I went into reading this book with very high expectations. Granted, not all of them were met, but there were many aspects of this book that surprised me. Yes, the sixteen year olds still spoke like middle aged poets and often spoke in metaphors, but isn’t that what makes a John Green book? The whole book was littered with beautiful quotable material which I’m sure is already circulating across Tumblr. Maybe it’s because I’m no longer a teenager anymore, but I found myself asking “would a sixteen year old really say that?” more than I did when I was younger. But these very wise and poetic sixteen year olds is what makes his books so identifiable as his own and it’s something I wouldn’t change.

What I really loved about this book is how the main character and narrator, Aza, was the most interesting character in the whole thing. Green often makes his secondary characters (see Alaska, Margo and Augustus) the more interesting ones, but Turtles All the Way Down was so obviously Aza’s story and not a protagonist running after a different character who is far more interesting. I didn’t really care much for Davis at all, but I loved Aza. I’ve never suffered with anxiety myself, but she made me understand what it was like and I lived the story with her. Aza dealing with her anxiety was the more interesting part of the novel, and I really liked how she never really ‘got better’ and there wasn’t some miraculous cure that made her better. It felt very, very real. I’m not going to mention Daisy all that much because I really really did not like her at all. Aza deserved better.

As for the fugitive billionaire side of the story… Hm. I wasn’t keen. Maybe I missed something, but I didn’t understand why Russell Pickett had gone missing in the first place. I also didn’t find Davis just giving Aza 100,000 dollars all that believable. Part of me thinks I would’ve liked this novel a lot more without this part of it.

All in all, Turtles All the Way Down wasn’t perfect, but certainly was an easy read. As a positive there is no dying of the main characters, which I really liked. Like the rest of John Green’s novels, there isn’t a happily ever after, but I finished the novel feeling content and knowing this was how the novel is supposed to end and not thinking of any other possible outcomes. Turtles All the Way Down is definitely worth reading because it’s different from his other work but at the same time very much the same. In terms of his other books, I would say Turtles All the Way Down is better than Paper Towns, but not as good as Looking For Alaska.


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