The day after I finished my last exam and came home for three weeks, I picked up "Turtles All the Way Down" by John Green. Needless to say, my expectations were extremely high. It's been around five years since "The Fault in Our Stars, which was an extremely popular YA novel that spread like wildfire through the social ladder and the NYT Bestseller lists. When I found out about "Turtles All the Way Down," I wanted to read up on it as much as I could because I was so unbelievably excited. But then I thought, why not go in blind? Why not just go in with minimal expectations? So, that's what I did. And I am so glad I decided to.
Let me first tell you: John Green did not disappoint.
The story is told in first-person by 16-year-old Aza Holmes, also referred to as Holmsey by her best friend Daisy. They don't live in the best part of Indianapolis, but Aza's old friend Davis Pickett does. Even though she hasn't talked to him in years, Aza and Daisy decide to sneak over there one day. Of course, this is after they discover that Davis's billionaire dad, Russell Pickett is a missing fugitive with a cloud made of $100,000 in reward money hanging over him.
I assure you that even though that paragraph sounds quite cheesy, the book is far from that. In fact, I'm pretty sure it's vegan.
Although I did thoroughly enjoy the plot line, I enjoyed Aza's character much more. From my previous description, you probably figured Aza is a perfectly normal and typical 16-year-old (besides the fact that she's hunting down a fugitive who also happens to be her friend's father). However, Aza struggles daily to function with OCD and anxiety. Her thoughts are plagued by fears of bacteria and deep questionings on what her life "really" is.
In the YA literature world, mental illnesses are a hot topic. From what I have personally read, I never thought it was captured well and I figured that it never would be. But I'm pretty sure John Green heard my thoughts because he came sliding in and proved me real hecking wrong.
I have never, and I mean never, read a book that captured the day to day struggles of a mental illness so well. I honestly don't want to even describe how John did it because I know if I try, I'll probably ruin it. But what I "can do is give you some amazing quotes from the book in hopes of showing its pure beauty.
Some heckin' good quotes about mental illness from "Turtles All the Way Down:"
"...but I can no more choose my thoughts than choose my name."
"...like invasive weeds, these thoughts seem to arrive at my biosphere from some faraway land, and then they spread out of control."
"I wanted to tell her that I was getting better, because that was supposed to be the narrative of illness: It was a hurdle you jumped over, or a battle you won. Illness is a story told in the past tense."
"I feel like I might not be driving the bus of my consciousness..."
"I think, 'you will never be free from this.' I think, 'you don't pick your thoughts.' I think, 'You are dying, and there are bugs inside of you that will eat through your skin.' I think and I think and I think."
"...and even though I laughed with them, it felt like I was watching the whole thing from somewhere else, like I was watching a movie about my life instead of living it."
And guys, these are only a few. A FEW!!!!!!! AND these are only the quotes about mental illness.
I deadass read this book in five hours; I literally could not put it down. Granted, the plot is borderline cheesy and slightly unrealistic. BUUUUUTTTT 1. it's a YA lit book, so what else would be expected? and 2. it's not really about the literal plot line; the meaning of the book lies in between the lines.
So with your Christmas (if ya celebrate) money/gift cards, go out and get yourself this amazing novel. It's gonna make you have an existential crisis, but what better time to have that than right before 2018 approaches?!
In all seriousness, this book is phenomenal. I truly believe that everyone should read this because there is something everyone can gain from it, no matter who you are. John Green hits you in the feels, and there is no escaping it.
OVERALL: 5 stars.