Monday, November 13, 2017

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green- Book Review

If you are like me, when this book came out, you saw or read one of the many articles written about this book you would have seen the three words “John Green” and “anxiety.” This was billed as a book about a teen who has anxiety. What it winds up being is a small mystery/romance/book about anxiety.

Aza, a sixteen year old with anxiety, and her friend Daisy, who writes Star Wars fan fiction often involving human and Wookiee romance, see an ad offering a reward to find information about the local rich man who is missing.

Seeking to find information, Aza is reunited with her childhood crush Davis, the missing man’s son. Davis and his brother are living in his mansion filled with hundreds of thousands of dollars strewn about the house. If their father is found dead, they lose it all as their father left the entire estate to an exotic pet.

As Aza reconnects with Davis, old crushes begin to stir again, but Aza’s sometimes crippling anxiety might derail a romance that could be.

This one was a tough one for me. While I enjoy John Green’s writing and his writing style, I often find his books fall into the danger zone of YA in the sense that lots of things seem rushed and often story lines are forgotten about until the very end. I found, for example, I forgot about the missing dad and how Aza and Daisy were looking for him until there is a later chapter where Aza and Daisy once again decide to go looking for the missing dad. Aza’s anxiety shows up here and there, but one doesn’t get a complete picture of what it looks like to live with anxiety. The romance seems to be the main focus of the book, while the other two aspects play support to that romance until they are needed.

At the same time, I did find the sections on Aza’s anxiety spot on and even shared some paragraphs on my Facebook feed because they gave a great insight on what it means to live with anxiety. I found Aza’s debating with herself as to whether or not she changed her band aid, for example, as very real and true to the anxious mind. I found this would be a good tool to help a youth/young adult recognize anxiety and to learn about it, but I will warn it is a brief glimpse. This is a romance book first.

Any time I read YA, I keep in mind that I am not the target audience, so I try to read the books with different eyes, which is why I keep reading John Green books. He has a great voice and writing style for the YA audience. I would recommend this book for the person who wants a brief glimpse into anxiety without too many technical moments and a cute teen romance in the midst of it all. The mystery isn’t a mystery and it gets very rushed at the end.

I would give this one 3.5 to 4 stars.

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