Turtles All the Way Down by John Green, 3.5 Stars

I’ve clearly been on a YA kick lately. But it does seriously come in droves for me when it does. I got Turtles All the Way Down as an add-on in my December Book of the Month Box. And ever since then I’ve wanted to read it but really needed to be in the mood for some real teenage angst as only John Green can provide.

Although lets face it…John Green’s teens are extraordinary  and far more mature and self-aware than normal teen human beings. But hey, as role models for today’s youth, they work. It’s probably good to shoot high. And the fact that there isn’t a lot of sex or drug use (and if it does exist it isn’t glorified), I’ll hang on to the John Green books I’ve read to give to my oldest son in a couple of years.

Man, I sound so old talking like that. What happened to me? It’s like you go to bed normal one day and wake up the next seriously old and not fun. Oh well. I suppose fighting it will only make it worse. Then I’ll be one of those super dorky moms who thinks she is still fun and hip.

I’ll contemplate on that some more, but I’ll spare you the details!

From the Publisher:

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.

My Review:

I really wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up Turtles All the Way Down. I basically picked it up knowing that John Green is an extremely talented writer and I’ve at least liked if not loved (Fault in our Stars, I’m talking to you!) just about every book of his I’ve read. For me, Turtles All the Way Down fit more into the “like” category, but I still really enjoyed it and it was a quick, easy read. Probably all I could handle during the busy holiday week when I picked it up.

Aza is definitely different from most of the teenagers I know. But then again, Green does a fantastic job of peeling away the layers on his characters and revealing how no one is truly just like everyone else. And I think this is especially true during the teen years. Because although none of us were the same as our peers, we desperately tried to pretend that we were to fit in.

But Aza has some fairly serious issues, that seem to mostly stem from the tragedy of not only losing her father at a young age, but seeing it happen. Her best friend, Daisy, normalizes her. And while the story centers around the disappearance of another friend/boyfriend Davis’s father, the rich and notorious Russell Pickett, and two blossoming romances, the story is really one of the friendship between the two girls.

In usual John Green tradition, there are some fairly unique aspects pickled into the story, like a rare dinosaur era lizard and a beloved car named Harold. Overall the book is classic Green. And I probably would have rated it even higher than 3.5 stars but I always compare an author’s work to his previous work so anything less than a book that gives me ALL the feelings will be dinged a bit.

But if you are a fan of John Green or deliciously angsty teen love stories that take you back, check it out!

Buy it:


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