Since I’m a complete and utterly John Green fan, it’s going to surprise ABSOLUTELY NO ONE that I loved his new book.
Turtles All The Way Down was really brutally excellent and totally gave me 3 existential crises in like the space of 2 hours. So that was nice.
I’m actually floored by how much this book meant to me??? It was so good and so worth the 140 year wait or whatever it was. I wasn’t nervous about the hype because it’s about (a) mental health with an #ownvoices perspective, (b) missing people, (c) smol sad rich boys, and (d) a girl who’s name begins and ends the alphabet so that’s aesthetic. My kind of novel already.
I think The Fault In Our Stars is still my MOST favourite Green novel, but this is a super close second!!
Also I usually only review books I’ve been sent from publishers on the blog but NOT TODAY, FIENDS. My own dragon coins fed this review.
Also not signed because I live in Australia. And it also it doesn’t have the surprise under the dust jacket. Thanks, Australia, you’re doing great.
Also about the title…no it’s NOT ABOUT TURTLES. But The Fault In Our Stars isn’t about a Roman dude talking about Julius Caesar, okay?!?? I don’t understand why everyone’s complaining! The brand is on point!
✓ The plot was really equal parts addictive and engaging.
Bit slow but really really good. I loved that it wasn’t rife with cliches or annoying tropes. It was just so pure and it felt real. It’s not really a “detective” story (I thought it was going to be??) but Aza is lowkey curious about the mission millionaire because she used to know his son, Davis. She does about 12% digging on the missing millionaire and 93898% investigation on Davis. How adorable.
✓ Aza was honestly amazing.
She is EXTREMELY quiet. She hardly ever talks and she’s very much locked in her own head. #RELATABLE #CONTENT However I get sad when this is portrayed as a negative…I mean ok being self-absorbed isn’t great, but Aza had a lot of thinking going on. And so what if all your thoughts are inside not out??? I loved how quiet she was! She’s obviously extremely intelligent and swims in the philosophical too. ALL JOHN GREEN’S CHARACTERS DO THIS. I love how “pretentious” they are because I was 110% like that as a teen too. (Me now??? Hahaha. I mean, no. My attention span and pretentious genius took one look at adulthood and wanted a nap. Which is understandable.) Anyway I LOVED that they talked about the stars and metaphors and what poetry means and the infinite possibilities of death and life. The sheer amount of knowledge these kids spew out is just refreshing and perfect to me. I am HERE for smart people. Also can I have some.
✓ I really really wish the term “OCD” had been used.”
I actually hate when books do this because (a) I end up spending WAY too much time trying to figure out their diagnosis and therefore miss parts of the story, and (b) it actually diminishes good representation because we dont’ get a name for it. I get that some people are “anti-labels” saying it puts you in a box. I’m firmly in disagreement. I think it helps you understand yourself and find help and find people like you to relate to. Plus the fact that John Green wrote an accurate and not cliched or stereotyped representation of OCD is ACTUALLY REALLY REALLY NEEDED AND IMPORTANT AND RARE. So if the book said: “Hey, OCD can look like this.” It would’ve started snuffing out some of the horrible stereotypes OCD people have to put up with from the uneducated populace.
Hey I just said “Uneducated Populace”. MATE, I THINK THIS BOOK IS MAKING ME MORE INTELLIGENT HOLY HECK.
✓ Anyhow! The OCD and anxiety was really amazingly written!
It did stoke my own anxiety, so I will put that out there. I loved it and felt heard but also really anxious when I was done. #ANXIETY #LIFE #PROBLEMS. It focuses on thought-spirals and the psychology behind how and why you act the way you do with OCD. You are not watching someone with OCD, you are experiencing what it’s like to have OCD while reading this book. And that’s freaking important ok.
✓ I have mixed feelings about Aza and Daisy’s friendship.
I felt it started off such a good friendship, and was particularly impressed that their interests were like Star Wars and, ya know, being rich instead of fighting over a boy or something intolerable. But there was an incident and I don’t like how turned out. Also I’m bad at forgiveness hahahhaah. Sorry but no.
✓ Can we talk about Davis WHO IS SUPER ADORABLE AND I LOVE HIM.
It was like SUCH a cute romance. Slow and cautious and fraught with problems just from Aza’s OCD and Davis insurmountable grief. He was also the BEST big brother ever and I just…my heart. I loved how geeky and nerdy and beautiful he was. Honestly. DAVIS.
✓ It felt really deep and also like an existential crisis on 300 pages.
Nice. I love overthinking my life. Of course it’s full of psychology and metaphors and it’s very layered. I loved it and also am a potato, but okay.
✓ And yes I teared up at the end.
I mean. It’s a John Green novel. I LOVED the ending and I hated it and I LOVED IT and just ajfdsakld I have at least 4 emotions which is double as many as I usually have. I need to sit down.
So I’m forever a John Green fan.
It discusses the world and minds and how the two are often incompatible with the hugeness of life and thought. It’s sad and it’s not sugar coated and I ached with Aza as her OCD spun her life in scary directions she couldn’t control.
Liking a boy doesn’t make Aza “better” (John Green dismantles that trope SO WELL) and there’s no messages that you need to be fixed to have a good life. Your mental illness isn’t ALL of you, but it is some of you. And that’s okay! Be you and be safe and try to find happiness where and how you can.
I appreciated this book.
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.