Review: Turtles All The Way Down, John Green

There are no spoilers in this review.

Before heading into this, I have to say that this is the first time I’m reviewing a John Green book properly on my blog and I feel really weird about it. Yes, my blog is called drizzle and hurricane books, yes, I’m a huge fan of John Green’s books. Yet no, I never reviewed a John Green book on my blog.
I know. What the heck am I doing.

Anyway, let’s move on. Before I get into this review, know that, even if you don’t like John Green too much or just didn’t enjoy Turtles, you’re still welcome to leave your thoughts, I don’t bite even if I’m a fan of Green’s work πŸ˜‰

ORANGE SPIRALS, ALL THE WAY DOWN

πŸ’­

β€œEveryone wanted me to feed them that storyβ€”darkness to light, weakness to strength, broken to whole. I wanted it, too.”

Turtles All The Way Down‘s synopsis is telling us about Aza, a teenage-girl with very anxious and invasive thoughts all the time, getting into an adventure with her best friend Daisy and trying to find her former childhood friend Davis’ dad who has disappeared. A mix of mystery, suspense, maybe, adventure, fun, childhood friend trope and so on. Well. Strike all of that. Before anything else, Turtles All The Way Down is a real insight into Aza’s life and her own story. What it’s like to live with OCD and how it controls her thoughts and sometimes takes over her actions and her own life.
Despite what the synopsis promises us, I think it’s really important to mention that, in this story, you have to expect what you’re seeing on the cover. Not turtles (unfortunately), but this orange spiral. Endlessly.

AMAZING REPRESENTATION AND REALISTIC CHARACTERS

πŸ’­

β€œYour now is not your forever.”

I know I’m probably making it out as a boring book, just saying this right now. That’s not true: Turtles All The Way Down is intense, but not for the reasons you might imagine an action-paced book to be. It is intense to read, sometimes hard, sometimes you want to take a breath but realize you can’t, sometimes you want to close the book but want to know how the thoughts end, how everything happens next. John Green doesn’t explain us what it’s like to live with OCD, he shows us with vivid details, throwing us without any kind of warning or consent into thoughts spirals and endless loops Aza is going through in her everyday life. An intense, very realistic representation of OCD that can be a bit triggering for some people, that will make you feel like you are struggling too, just by reading the words. This is an #ownvoices story, so I only have to tip off my imaginary hat to John Green for being able to write these struggles at all.

β€œI would never slay the dragon, because the dragon was also me.”

Obviously, we follow Aza and Daisy’s quest as they try to find out the missing billionaire, as Aza tries and navigates her own relationships with her best friend, who doesn’t always quite understand her thoughts, and tries and makes or re-make her relationship with Davis. Scenes that are always tainted with John Green’s prose, a language and dialogues that might seem a bit β€œpretentious” for some people, but that I personally just found really thoughtful. I’m sure John Green could write a grocery list that’d make me think, though, so…. His scenes are always tainted with Aza’s thoughts, sometimes okay, some days harder to figure out, some other days a just impossible to stop. Her struggles made her relatable, human, I found myself feeling something for Aza right from the beginning and until the very end, wanting her to be okay. Thing is: she is not okay. Well, eventually, she will be. There is no magical cure, nor is there a magical relationship that saves her from her thoughts spirals. This just made the book even more realistic.

πŸ’­

β€œAnybody can look at you. It’s quite rare to find someone who sees the same world you see.”

The side-characters for this story are really interesting as well. From Daisy, the best friend / nerd and very popular writer of fanfiction about Star Wars, to Davis, the childhood friend / rich book whose dad went missing… I liked them, I wanted to know them, I appreciated the time they had on the page and most especially the way they and the relationships they tried to forge or salvage with Aza had an influence on the whole story and Aza’s own trail of thoughts.

OVERALL

There’s a little mystery to this story, as to find the whereabouts of Davis’ dad, but mostly, Turtles All The Way Down is telling Aza’s story, a teenager’s life, with intense moments and an accuracy that only an #ownvoices kind of book can do when it comes to the OCD representation. It felt a bit different from all of the other John Green’s novels, a bit more intense, a bit more personal. It made me smile, sad, mad, it made me think and overall gave me all the emotions I eagerly awaited since I learned there was a new Green book being released. Obviously, I recommend it.

Final rating:Β  It’s a hurricane!

Trigger warnings: self-harm.


John Green, Turtles All The Way Down, Β Published by Dutton Books For Young Readers, October 10th, 2017.

goodreads-badge-add-plus-fad3b68d35050280ea55d50f17c654b5

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.

Did you read Turtles All The Way Down? Did you enjoy it, why, or why not?

Do you want to read this book? Do you like John Green’s books or not at all? Never tried them at all?

Do you have any recommendations for books with great mental illness representation? Let me know in comments!

Posted by

Book blogger, travel blogger, writer. πŸ“š |🌍 | πŸ’ž Writing & Communications Graduate. French. Living on love, wanderlust and ya books.

87 thoughts on “Review: Turtles All The Way Down, John Green

  1. I am not surprised you loved this book. I also kind of expected it to be different from his other books, just because there has been such a long break between Turtles and the previous stuff. I am sure he changed in that time, just like his writing did to some extent. Glad you shared your thoughts, Marie! I always like hearing about the books you read πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I feel like something has changed in this book, maybe it’s because it has been such a while since we read anything from him and… it’s much more personal this time as well. Either way, I loved it πŸ˜€
      Thank you!! ❀ ❀ ❀ Do you think you'll want to give this one a try someday? πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think I will read it at some point. I am not really in the mood at the moment and I will wait until the first hype dies down, but eventually, yes! I mean, I’ve read all his books (except the ones he wrote with co-authors, like Will Grayson, Will Grayson and Let it Snow), so I also want to check this one out.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, well if you’re feeling a bit drawn to this book, even if you don’t usually like John Green… who knows, this might be the one you’ll end up enjoying! I certainly hope so πŸ™‚ thank you so much for your sweet comment! ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. OMG I LITERALLY FINISHED THIS IN A DAY YESTERDAY!! What are the chances huh πŸ˜‚?
    I actually liked it so much more than TFIOS. I am not a fan of John’s books usually but I respect him a lot as a person (also his videos are amazing). I HAD A GOOD FEELING ABOUT IT TOUGH so I bought the hardcover and I AM GLAD IT DID. It was such ana amazing representation of OCD and I am so glad that John could share that very personal part of it with people (WICH IS HARD TO DO SO #RESPECT).
    And ahem…I reallllyyyy didn’t like the Daisy part all that muuuchhh….hmmmMmmmmmMm. I get that it can be a very good discussion that it can be hard to be friends with someone struggling but it could’ve been made MORE CLEAR that what she did WASN’T OK. Don’t make people feel bad about themselves when they already do.
    Anyway great review great book I am glad I finally liked a John Green novel and asdfghjkl I now want more John Green books but it’s going to be at least 7 years until the next one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yay!! I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed this book so much, even if you’re not usually a fan of his stories. Which books did you read? Which books didn’t you like? πŸ™‚
      I agree that it must have been quite hard to write about this, so I’m really REALLY PROUD. But I have to say, yes, that Daisy part wasn’t the best part of the book. I did not agree with what she did and how she reacted, either, but I think that eventually, it could have opened up a whole new discussion about friendship and being there and trying to understand and everything. Something that could have been a bit more developed for sure. πŸ™‚
      Thank you for your sweet comment!! ❀ ❀

      Like

      1. I’ve read both Tfios and Paper Towns (I didn’t finish the second one actually but not because I hated it I just put it down and never picked it up again). Hype kills stuff for me a lot and maybe that plus the romance aspect (which I’m rarely a fan of) and the translation (I read both of those in the Romanian version) were not a happy equation for me. I AM glad people love his books so much though ❀.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hype is the WORST at times, I get it. Also, translations are sometimes so, so… well, let’s face it, they are awful. I have read John Green’s books both in French (my mother tongue, read them a while ago, I can’t even remember when) and in English (a little later on, still a long time ago though ahah) and I remember REALLY falling for his stories and words with…well,reading his actual words in English. Funny how translation sometimes ruins whole books :/

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Yay Turtles! As you know I loooooved this book. I’ve seen a lot of complaints about the romance, but I actually liked it. The unresolved-ness of the whole thing felt much more real to me than them riding off into the sunset would have – and I think if it had of been this sweeping her off her feet event then it would have undermined the message of the novel that there’s no easy fix.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YES, I agree with you. I know that tons of people don’t really like unresolved books, but there, it just felt realistic and I didn’t expect any less, or more. I’m glad that there was, as you say, no easy fix in this or no cure. It was really a great rep overall ❀
      thank you so much! ❀ ❀

      Like

  4. FANTASTIC review Marie! I am constantly going back & forth with myself on whether I should pick this one up. I’ve read so many reviews from both sides of the scale, those who loved it & those hated it. I have OCD myself that through the years I’ve gotten better at handling & would love to read more stories on characters with OCD. I think you may have just been the review to sway me πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw thank you so, so much, Lilly, so glad you enjoyed reading this and I’m so glad to hear it πŸ™‚ ❀ I don't personally experience what the character is going through, but I thought and read from other reviewers that it was a really good rep for OCD. I hope you'll end up enjoying it ❀ ❀

      Like

  5. I’ve never read a John Green book – I was put off TFIOS because of the hype surrounding it and I never picked up one of his books since that hype train so… maybe I should some time πŸ€·β€β™€οΈπŸ˜… glad to see you enjoyed it

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OH, I get it – sometimes it’s really bothering, when all you see is the same damn book everywhere, ahah. I hope that you’ll want to give this one a chance, you might love it, who knows πŸ™‚
      thank you so much for your sweet comment! ❀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I literally have NO idea! I think I was so put off by the hype that if I even saw anything about TFIOS I would just scroll by… and even though I’m not as against it now, I’ve still not seen anything so – maybe I have magical powers? πŸ˜›

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m thinking you must have magical powers ahah. I want them. Even when I’m not seeking out spoilers or when I’m trying my best to avoid them, I have a tendancy to fall right into them all ahah

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I usually don’t mind spoilers, but if I am trying to avoid them, then I usually scroll past as soon as I see anything to do with what I’m trying to avoid… it’s worked well so far πŸ˜…

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Hahaha, well you’re doing awesome. I’m going to need you to teach me how to NOT stop everytime I see spoilers and how to learn to CLOSE MY EYES instead of being too curious and reading everything hahaha.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve been debating on whether to pick this one up or not. I have read two of John Green’s books and truth be told, I wasn’t a huge fan. But the synopsis of Turtles All the Way Down really intrigued me and I might give it a try after all. Really glad you enjoyed it though!

    Elena @ Book Lady’s Reviews

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy Green’s books so far! I have to say, I found this one a bit different from his previous works, so if you’re intrigued by the story overall, I’d say, give it a try! Who knows, you might end up enjoying it πŸ˜€
      Thank you so much for your sweet comment, Elena πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  7. So while I am very surprised to see this is the first John Green book you’ve actually reviewed on your blog (does this mean you’ll be rereading and reviewing his other releases on here one day?) I am definitely not surprised to see your rating for Turtles All the Way Down Marie. πŸ˜€ ❀
    I am so glad you loved this book, and it sounds like a great story as well. I had no idea this was an #ownvoices read, and even though I haven't read it I think it's great John Green has put some of his struggle into this book and his characters.
    Great review, I definitely have to add this one to my to-read list, and get around to it soon like all of John Green's other books (except The Fault in Our Stars which I have already read.) πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was surprised as well ; but looking back on my blog, I realized I never reviewed his books properly. Probably because I all read them over three years ago πŸ™‚ I don’t know if I’ll be reviewing his other releases one day, maybe if I am re-reading them soon I’ll consider it πŸ˜€
      I can’t wait for you to read this one, Beth – and his other books, especially Looking for Alaska. I am hoping you’ll love them as much as I did πŸ™‚
      Thank you so much, Beth ❀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ahh, those amazing books that slip through the blogging cracks because we read them before we started blogging. I have so many favourites like that. πŸ™‚
        I’m going to try and get to them soon, especially Turtles All the Way Down because it’s his newest and Looking for Alaska because I know it’s your fave. πŸ™‚ I hope I love them, it’s been so long since I’ve read a John Green book.
        That’s all right! πŸ˜€ ❀

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh my, I have read TATWD too. I liked it, though maybe not as much as you did. πŸ˜… There’s just always a dilemma when it comes to John Green’s books. Two books about mental (& social) health that I enjoyed more than this one and that I can think of right now are Made You Up and Eliza and Her Monsters. πŸ’•

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the book! πŸ™‚ What is the dilemma for you, on John Green’s books, if I can ask? πŸ˜€
      Ohh, both of these books are on my TBR already – I heard fantastic things about Eliza and her Monsters, so eager to read this one. I’m so happy you enjoyed it πŸ™‚
      thank you so much for your sweet comment! ❀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh it’s just I never really know how to put my emotions into words when it’s his books. I don’t love them, but I don’t hate them either. It’s like they’re real, but they’re too good to be true. He’s not really my favorite author, but I like him because his books make me think of things I’ve never even really thought of before. Does that make sense? πŸ™ˆπŸ˜¬

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m glad to see that you enjoyed this book, especially since I have been seeing quiet a few mixed reviews for this book. πŸ™‚ The only John Green book that I have read is The Fault in Our Stars and I really enjoyed that book. I think I read it at the perfect time in my life. I don’t really plan on picking up any more of his books, mostly because I don’t tend to read contemporary. Great review Marie! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  10. For some reason I didn’t really feel like reading this. No reason why, I just didn’t feel any excitement towards it? I didn’t even read the summary haha. Anyway, your review made me reconsider and now I’m really curious to pick this up! I know you’re a lil bit biased, but I did like every John Green book I read (the only one I haven’t read is An Abundance of Katherines) so I think I should give it a chance! It sounds good 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, maybe because everyone was SO excited about it… it kind of made you feel over it? πŸ˜›
      I’m so glad to hear that! I hope you’ll give it a chance and that you will love it – it is such a fantastic book ❀ thank you so much, Michelle ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  11. After reading this review, I’ll be sure to make a way to read John Green’s latest masterpiece. I love to read books that tackles mental health issues and how it affect a life. I love his book, Looking for Alaska too is my favorite among his works. (Though he is well known for TFIOS) I’m new to the blogging world, so if ever I get my hands to this book, It will be my first review but will be my third book to read among his books.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OH YES, please do! I have a feeling you will love it. This book was really good and it has amazing representation of mental health, it was so realistic and poignant, in a way. I hope you will love it πŸ™‚
      Looking For Alaska is my favorite book of ALL TIIMES as well!! ❀ I love TFIOS, but I much prefer his debut.
      Thank you so much for your sweet comment! xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We have the same feeling about JG’s debut book, I prefer it a thousand times. You are well welcome and Oh, I will surely add you on my future review of TATWD. I’m so happy that I came across with your blog!

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  12. If it’s a book that would make me think and change my perspective of the world, I’m down for it. πŸ’– Gosh, I am so excited to read this book more after reading your review. John Green never disappoints!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I am so glad that you loved this book. You may already know that it is one of my favourites of the year. John Green’s writing is just magical and this book made me feel the real thing about OCD. Before this, I always thought about OCD as just an illness but this book made me realize what it is live with that.

    I was feeling Aza on every page and I loved Davis character too.
    Another brilliant work by John green πŸ™‚ I so wished it to win the Goodreads Choice Awards, but I am glad atleast it ended up as the runner-up πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes, I remember your beautiful review about it, it made me even more excited to read it. I’m so glad I read it now ❀ I was feeling everything Aza was feeling as well, it was intense at times, but very realistic and deeply personal for John Green, I'm sure of it. ❀
      Thank you so, so much for your sweet comment! ❀ ❀ I can't wait for his next book now ahah πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Marie, big fan of John Green… Are you going to kill me if I tell you that I’ve never read his books? Probably not, if I told you that I really want to read this one ahaha But tbh, I’ve been putting it off because of the issues the book deals with. I do not suffer from OCD, but I’m dealing with a lot of anxiety at the moment, and last week I watched a YT review of Turtles…, and the girl said “if your mental health is not okay, you should probably wait to read this”. Well, here I am, waiting to read it. Seems like Aza’s thoughts are very real and vivid, and can affect you. But I really, really want to read it! So happy to read your review and see there’s no magical relationship to “save” the MC. With mental illness, that NEVER HAPPENS. And for that, I live for these stories! Thank you for your review, girl!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahahaha oh no, I won’t kill you don’t you worry πŸ˜›
      I understand you putting this off, and I would advice the same thing: to wait a little bit. Aza’s trail of thoughts is very realistic, vivid and sometimes quite intense, even as someone who experiences anxiety, but not too much, I did have to stop and take a breath before getting on with it, at times. I hope you’ll read it someday, maybe when you’re feeling a bit less anxious about everything, this book might be a bit less triggering for you and you could find a lot of relatable things in it, I think πŸ™‚
      thank you so, so much for your sweet comment! ❀ ❀

      Like

  15. I 100% agree with this!!
    i think no matter how old i get i will always love john green ❀

    the only downfall for me a little bit was i felt like the romance wasn't really needed that much? but other than that i loved every aspect of it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Same here, John Green will always be my favorite ❀
      Oh I understand – I appreciated it, but… well, it was just there, with or without it, I don't think it would have changed much to the story πŸ™‚

      Like

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