Friday, April 13, 2018

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

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. (Synopsis from Goodreads)
“We never really talked much or even looked at each other, but it didn't matter because we were looking at the same sky together, which is maybe even more intimate than eye contact anyway. I mean, anybody can look at you. It's quite rare to find someone who sees the same world you see.”

I've always been a fan of John Green's books, but I think Looking for Alaska is still my favorite. There was just something about the story that's always stuck with me. Turtles All the Way Down was also really, really good. It taught me something about myself, and showed me a mindset I'll likely never experience.

Aza was a very compelling character. From the outside, she might come across as self-centered and oblivious to most things around her, but in reality she has an ongoing issue that she struggles with constantly. How would you deal with having something nag at you over and over again at the back of you mind, and never escaping it? She's a young girl struggling with herself and her thoughts, but also trying to navigate the life of a teenager.

I really enjoyed how John Green showed Aza battling with herself throughout the book. She has this voice in her head, her voice, so she cannot get away from it. It's always present, and frequently shouts at her to do things she knows are unreasonable. It's like she's both marionette and puppeteer. However, in her case the other thoughts usually win and she caves into her downward spiral. 

Daisy was an awesome best friend. They had their moments, like all friendships do, but she's never wavered from Aza despite how difficult things could be. She understood that her friend was different, even if she couldn't grasp the extent and severity of it. Their "falling out" was probably one of my favorite parts. It allowed Aza to see how Daisy felt, and made her aware of thoughts and feelings she had previously missed.

Despite all of the problems Aza faces, John Green throws in a mystery to be solved. I liked how that tied everything together, and brought her closer to Davis. Davis was interesting all on his own, and seemed to share her knack for words and intriguing thoughts. He may not have had the same mental issues that Aza was dealing with, but he was going through a lot. He still viewed the world in a positive way, and I think his presence had a positive impact on Aza.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable read. I might not have understood most of the Star Wars references, but it made me like Daisy even more!

37 comments:

  1. Glad you were able to connect with this on some level at the very least. It does sound good. I've only read two of his books but I liked them both. I'll have to read Looking for Alaska, I think I even have it somewhere on my kindle.

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    1. It's a book that has always stuck with me! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Be sure to let me know what you think!

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    2. What two books of his have you read?

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  2. I usually don't like mysteries being thrown into contemporaries, but it sounds like I'll really appreciate the friendship aspect in this. I'm not a John Green fan so I'll be skipping this, but I'm glad you enjoyed it! ♥

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    1. The mystery didn't overpower the story, so that was nice. It was just something that played in the background throughout the book. It even ends unceremoniously, but we know it was concluded. Does that make sense?

      Bummer! Not a fan, huh? Which of his books have you tried? Just curious.

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  3. I'm 50/50 when it comes to JG's books but I heard that deals with anxiety (& is something Green deals with himself) so I'm curious.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. I had no idea John Green personally deals with anxiety. After reading this book, it does make sense. Aza is able to explain her emotions and responses so vividly, and I wondered how he was able to capture her inner voice so well. It's because he's had experience with it himself, so now her explanations make more sense. Wow, I'm looking at this book in an entirely new way right now.

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  4. I might be the only one that has not read a Green book *reads comments* Ok maybe not only one lol

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    1. I know quite a few people that haven't read a John Green book! There are a lot to choose from, so something might interest you! I suggest Looking for Alaska or this one!

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  5. Probably not my kind of book but I'm sure others would like it.

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    1. No worries! Have you tried a John Green book before, or you just don't think his writing is for you? I'm just curious!

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  6. I was so worried about reading this book, but then I loved it. People hated Daisy, but I didn't really understand why. Green shared a lot of himself and his struggle with OCD, and Aza felt so authentic because of that. And the ending!!! I loved it so much.

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    1. I just learned that John Green deals with a lot of the things Aza does! (Karen mentioned it in a comment before yours.)

      Why would people hate Daisy? She was SUCH a good friend to Aza, and she was there for her despite feeling like Aza wasn't equally invested. She stuck around even after their fight, and she always tried to make time for her friend. Instead of making Aza feel guilty for things out of her control, she vented through her writing. No, I don't understand why Daisy wouldn't be liked by all. She was THERE, and that's what mattered. She loves Aza.

      The ending was beautiful! Her problems didn't magically disappear, so we realistically see what happens later in life.

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  7. As much as I like John Green as a person (love his vlogbrothers videos, the charity work he does, etc) after three books I finally had to admit that his writing just wasn't for me. I do like the fact that he shared his own experience with mental health issues in this one. So glad you enjoyed this one!

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    1. Bummer! It's okay to like an author and not their books. There are a few authors I love talking to and following, but their writing isn't for me. It's great when everything works out (love the author and love their books), but that's life.

      Which of his books did you try? I love the Mental Floss videos he does! It is Mental Floss, right? It's been ages since I watched a video.

      I've only recently learned that John Green deals with similar thoughts and feelings, which has allowed me to view this book with a different perspective.

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    2. I read TFiOS and enjoyed it well enough, even though when the movie came out I ended up liking it more than the book (and when does that ever happen?!). Then came Looking for Alaska which (don't throw anything at me LOL) I didn't like. And then I gave it one more shot with Paper Towns, which I didn't like at all. I decided after three books I'd given it a fair shot and would just enjoy John's video's instead of his books. :)

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    3. That's fair! You tried something and didn't like it. That's how I feel about oatmeal, haha.

      I would never throw something at you! You're allowed to like what you like. It doesn't have to be what I like. We're different and that's beautiful. It also allows for interesting discussions.

      I actually haven't read Paper Towns, so I can't comment on that! His videos are too funny.

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  8. As someone with mild obsessive compulsive disorder, needing symmetry and parallel lines, even numbers or rounding up, I've been wanting to read this since I preordered months before release. There's been so many books since that have gotten in the way and other blogging commitments but really need to push this up my reading list and soon. I know a lot of readers are very anti John Green, which I don't understand because he's actually a great author but I've loved his previous books with the exception of An Abundance of Katherines, I haven't read that one yet. It sounds like a quick read too. Might pick this up sometime this week while I catch up on writing reviews. Wonderful review Linds, so glad you enjoyed it darling <3 <3

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    1. I've been wanting to read this since before it came out, too! Like you, other books kept popping up and it was pushed back. I had a lot of reviews/blog tours that I had committed to, but I've been trying to cut back on those this month. I need a breather!

      I didn't realize how many people either hadn't read John Green, or didn't enjoy his books. This comments on this post alone show how divided people are. It just goes to show you how varied people's tastes are.

      I've really enjoyed all of his books (An Abundance of Katherines was sweet)! It didn't take too long to read through it. I hope you're able to get to this one soon! It was really eye-opening and informative. It also had a lovely story with wonderful characters.

      Thank you, K!

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  9. I heard a lot about this one. I need to try his books!

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    1. Yes! I would suggest starting with this one or Looking for Alaska.

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  10. Confession time! I've never read a John Green novel. I feel shame. lol.

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    1. Never? I wouldn't have thought this before, but A LOT of people have never read a John Green book. I was so surprised! Don't be ashamed! You always have an opportunity to read one, if you choose.

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  11. I don’t usually like John Green’s books but I keep reading them hoping he’ll surprise me one day. I didn’t mind The Fault in Our Stars and I haven’t read this one yet. Fingers crossed!

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    1. I really hope this one works for you! I can't wait to see what you think!

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  12. I was curious about this one as I haven't read any John Green before- I've only seen the movie version of Paper Towns. I had heard this dealt with OCD and I was curious for that reason- I'd like to see more awareness of it. Sounds like a great book, glad it worked for you and was good. I'll have to get this one.

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    1. Hah! Here I am wondering why so many people haven't read a John Green book, and I had know idea Paper Towns was a movie! This one deals with anxiety and feeling compelled to do things she knows are unreasonable. It's like her mind gets fixated on one thing and just keeps spiraling. It was interesting to see the contrasting views between herself and herself (since the conversations occur in her mind).

      I don't think I've seen you review an audiobook, but if you like them... this one was fantastic!

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  13. I pre-ordered this one but I STILL need to make time to read it. I do love John Green though, so I'm not really worried. I'm glad to hear you liked this one! Looking for Alaska is still my favorite too.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. YES. I think you're my only other LfA buddy! That story just really stuck with me. I felt connect to it on some other level, you know? Loved it! I really hope you get to this one soon! It was phenomenal.

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  14. I swear this has been on my TBR forever. I have it on audio, but with the reading challenge I have a set list of books I want to read. I need to fit it in.
    Great review!

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    1. I listened to the audiobook for this one! It was wonderful. I thought the narrator did a great job conveying the story. Let me know what you think! (Also, what reading challenge? I've been trying to participate in more.)

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  15. Love his books. Have not read this one yet. I need too.

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    1. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

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  16. This one wasn't my favorite John Green book but I still enjoyed it overall. Like you, I really liked the friendship aspect of it. That heart to heart talk between Aza and Daisy had some harsh truths in it but I loved how open their relationship was, that they could actually have such a difficult talk like that and still come out of it loving each other.

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    1. I completely agree! Aza needed a friend like Daisy. I don't think Aza would have realized how she had unintentionally treated Daisy without that argument. It needed to happen so Aza could be more aware and try to do things a little differently. Daisy also tries to understand how Aza feels and what it's like for her, but I don't think she truly did until the end of the book.

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  17. I love books about OCD... I'm so glad you enjoyed this one Lindsi! I'm not a particular fan of Green but I have a book friend who would die for him so I have been considering this one! I may have to at your recommendation too. ❤️

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    1. If your friend hasn't read Looking for Alaska, I would suggest that one too!

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