Why Aza Homes From John Green's 'Turtles All the Way Down' Is The Character We've All Been Waiting For

Why Aza Homes From John Green's 'Turtles All the Way Down' Is The Character We've All Been Waiting For

Aza Homes; not your typical girl next door.

John Green, best selling author of The Fault in Our Stars, has done it again. On October 10th, 2017 John Green released Turtles All the Way Down, a novel starring Aza Homes, a sixteen year old girl that faces the challenges of boys, school, solving mysteries, and her own mind.

Aza Homes is not your typical "girl next door" who has her life together, lives in a fancy neighborhood, and looks flawless, but she is the character we have all been waiting for.

Here are just a few reasons why Aza Homes is breaking stereotypical boundaries of a lead teen girl character in newest novel:

1. She struggles with OCD.

It's no secret that throughout the novel, Aza struggles with the voices in her head that constantly tell her what to think and what to do. Her thoughts spiral into deeper and more persistent commands as she ignores them, which is why she is constantly worried. One glimpse into Aza's mind, "'He's trying to treat you like you're normal and you're trying to respond like you're normal but everyone involved knows you are definitely not normal.'" Aza is an anxious character, but she doesn't let it stop her from opening up to her mom, Daisy, or Davis about her struggles. This unique trait lets readers open up about mental illness and informs them on what it might be like to live with OCD.

2. Her thoughts on relationships:

There are too many times where relationships between characters just fall into place. In TATWD, Davis and Aza's relationship is far from perfect, and takes a lot of communication and pushes both of them outside of their comfort zones. Aza has a few things to say when it comes to romantic relationships that just might be more relatable than they were intended to be:

As Aza puts it in the novel, she thinks relationships are awkward: "Like, parts of typical romantic relationships that made me anxious included 1. Kissing; 2. Having to say the right things to avoid hurt feelings; 3. Saying more wrong things while trying to apologize; 4. Being at a movie theater together and feeling obligated to hold hands even after your hands become sweaty and the sweat starts mixing together; and 5. The part where they say, "What are you thinking about?" And they want you to be, like, "I'm thinking about you, darling," but you're actually thinking about how cows literally could not survive if it weren't for the bacteria in their guts, and how that sort of means that cows do not exist as independent life-forms, but that's not really something you can say out loud, so you're ultimately forced to chose between lying and seeming weird." -John Green

3. Aza's internet sleuthing abilities.

From Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even private blogs, Aza seems to be able to find a variety of information relating to mostly Davis. Aza tells Daisy while she is starring at her laptop, "'Um, Davis had a girlfriend, but they broke up last November-ish. He has a blog but hasn't updated anything since his dad disappeared." Admit it, we've all done it, but Aza owns up to her sleuthing throughout the novel when she finds out Davis's true feelings on his private poetry blog, and how Daisy feels about her constant worrying through her Star Wars fan-fiction.

4. She's awkward.

There are no shortages of awkward moments throughout the novel. Times such as when Aza thought Mychal was asking her on a date, when in reality he was asking if her best friend would be interested in him, or when Aza freaked out after her first kiss with Davis under the stars, or how she is thinking about her overly sweaty hands a little too much all the time.

We don't need another perfect looking, pampered teenager giving us life advice. Teenagers want relatable characters that they share deeper connections with. The world needs more characters like Aza, who is smart, has good friendships, and opens up the tough conversation of mental illness. Turtles All the Way Down is a fantastic novel that brings to light a knowledgeable conversation of OCD, a mental illness that John Green himself has dealt with personally. Life isn't perfect, and neither is Aza, which makes her the character we have all been waiting for.


Cover Image Credit: Thomas de Veen

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15 Little Ways To Keep Yourself Healthy

Stop overlooking your self-health.

Sometimes, you wake up and decide that you want to change your daily routine. If you're like me, you usually want some big drastic change to occur overnight. Normally, I say, "Hi, Gods above? Me again. I'd like better grades, a lot of money and...."

However, the odds of me waking up to straight A's and hundreds covering me like a blanket are slim to none. That doesn't mean that I can't make little changes here and there to keep myself happy and healthy, and you can too.

Here is a list of little ways to keep yourself happy:

1. Moisturize.

No, I'm not joking, and no, this isn't always common sense to people. Your skin could really become dry (especially in the cold!) quickly without you even realizing! This would make for flaky skin and red patches. Also, if you're a make-up wearer like me, washing your face and then moisturizing makes you feel refreshed.

2. Take care of under your eyes.

Trust me on this one. Rubbing your eyes, taking off mascara, or just little things could be harsh on your under eye area. I used to have horrible reactions under my eyes and they would swell shut. Now, I use Cetaphil to keep them from getting dry. I also LOVE this cooling water stick by Milk Cosmetics.

3. Brush your teeth twice a day.

Let me be more specific on this one, because I know everyone knows to brush their teeth. However, I just recently got this toothpaste powder from Lush and it's amazing. You wet your toothbrush and dip into the powder, and then brush. I wanted to try the product because everyone was saying that it was a good whitener. I'm not too fond of the taste, so after brushing with the powder I go back in with a regular mint toothpaste. After only a few days of that routine, I've already noticed a difference!

4. Keep up with your grades.

Listen, I know we like to pretend that school IS NOT a thing, but it is. A lot of the times if you fall behind or forget what you're doing, you don't check on your scores. It's so important to pay close attention to the grades entered online versus the paper you get back. You never know if the grades don't match or if you feel like you deserve a different grade, it'll give you opportunity to discuss with the professor!

5. DO NOT sleep with makeup on.

Yes, parties that go until 3 AM make it hard to remember to remove your makeup. Sometimes we are caught up in stress, fatigue, or plans and overlook the makeup wipes right next to our mirrors. Sleeping with makeup on can clog your pores and increase wrinkling. Plus, who likes waking up looking like a raccoon?

6. Clean your makeup brushes.

If you're like me with makeup, then you're no MUA. A lot of the time, we overlook cleaning off our brushes when we're in a rush. However, it's so important. Your face is very sensitive, and anything as slight as old makeup being on your brush can give you a reaction. There are so many brush cleaners out there that are easy to use. I personally use brush wipes, and they work great! My brushes get clean, stay oil-free, and dry quickly.

7. Go outside.

Take a walk, ride a bike, go to a beautiful park. All of these things and more will keep your body moving, while also improving your mental health as well. You will be at ease and feeling great!

8. Write down your dreams.

This one may not be for everyone, but I do this all the time. Whether it's a bad dream, awesome dream, or one I've had before, I love writing down my dreams. Sometimes, I dream of a memory I've had, or something out of my dream comes true. It's so cool when you recognize somewhere, and remember that you've dreamt about it before! The mind is truly a beautiful thing.

9. Eat three meals a day.

Almost all of the time, all of us will miss at least one meal. Whether we do it purposely or not, this is not healthy! About a month and a half ago, I went on a cruise. My family and I ate three meals a day at around the same time each day. I felt wonderful and always just the right amount of full. After leaving the cruise and going back to rushing around and skipping meals, my body was a complete mess. I would be starving at 12 AM and then miss breakfast. Eating three meals a day even if it's something small will make you feel awesome.

10. Drink water.

Don't worry, I used to fight everyone on this too. "Water has no taste, I don't want to drink that!!!" I would always have dry and chapped lips, and I felt tired. Until I had visible signs of dehydration, I wouldn't drink more than half a bottle of water every few days. Now, I drink up to three (I know you're supposed to have four or more. I'm getting there) bottles a day, and it's really helped me. I feel more energized and can put on lipstick without looking like someone diced up my bottom lip. Water is SO important, don't forget that!

11. Scrub your lips.

This one might sound girly, but let's be honest here, my boyfriend loves when I use sugar scrub on his lips. (Sorry, babe) I personally use Jeffree Star Cosmetics lip scrub in 'Watermelon Gum'. It's an awesome flavor, and it really makes my lips feel amazing. Like I said, even my boyfriend likes (mostly eating) it! It's sugar scrub, so you can lick it off with no harm done to yourself. I've also used Lush's 'Mint Julep' scrub. They both work amazing!

12. Stress less.

Stressing might as well be a large part of everyone's diet since we all do it so much. Try to stress less by facing problems differently, working things out, or doing things you love to take your mind off of the issue. Draw, write, or sing. Do whatever makes your heart happy!

13. Vacation when you can.

Everyone needs a little getaway. Whenever you get the money, the ticket, or the opportunity, take it . Not only does vacationing get you away for a while, but you will get to see beautiful things and also have amazing memories to carry on for a lifetime.

14. Take vitamins!

Not much explanation needed for this one. A daily multivitamin and Vitamin C tablet never hurt anyone. While everyone else is in bed with the flu, you'll be bouncing around happily.

15. Just breathe.

Take a second to relax, clear your mind, and breathe deeply.


Wow, I'm so inspired by this list I want to make a part two! No, but seriously, please stop and try at least two of these things today. I promise you it'll help. Always keep smiling! :)

Cover Image Credit: Newscult

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Look Forward To The Next Day In Your Life, There Are Beautiful Things Ahead

Because every day is a blessing.

Looking back on growing up, and looking forward to family vacations or spending a day with a close friend that you haven't seen for a while was always something I looked forward to when I was younger. For many of my friends, sometimes "family vacations" weren't a thing, and looking forward to anything meant a disaster... in their terms.

So, as fortunate as I was to grow up with amazing, successful parents, I didn't just see the bigger picture at a young age, I saw the beauty and felt the adrenaline rush on how a small simple plan or hangout can make yourself automatically driven, feel and want to get through the week.

Which clicked in my mind... that we humans live for purpose. Whatever that purpose may be, we search for it, we guess it, we do a test and trial period for what makes us tick and what makes us expand our happiness throughout our life and as we get older, we tend to look back on good or bad memories and reflect sometimes on a certain memory that can make you feel a rush of different emotions.

The beautiful thing is to always remember, even when you're having an awful day or awful week, is that you have the power to think and feel different within a split second.

The beauty of life is everywhere, and we are just figures in this huge board game of life. Motivating yourself, and having the mental strength to go on about your day. Every day is a full-blown accomplishment.

Not many people have the self-discipline to really push themselves out there in this world, in this life.

With so much distraction, insecurities, opinions, and such a diverse range of humans, we all tend to compare and tend to wonder why and what is my purpose in this world?

We are "matter," we are a range of atoms, and we are a living species that gets so much crap for being on social media, on our phone, tablets, answering a call, checking an e-mail. Everything is run on technology, so our minds are constantly consumed. Consumed not just by technology, but our own thoughts, our opinions of ourselves that eat us alive at night and our accomplishments that help us rest easy, every day.

You are made to be here.

We are only human. Looking forward to small things you have planned for your night or even huge plans. They always keep us guessing and mark our next chess move for life. Motivation has become the key element for a successful future, and a complete game changer for the people who follow a simple routine and are not feeling as much love as they should.

I started to set goals, and whip out a planner to organize my week-to-week schedule. I write everything I will accomplish at an exact time and place and the best part to checking off as your day goes by is that you see the end result (leaning towards the end of a day), which could be a hot bath with your favorite bath bomb, Netflix movie marathon for an hour, or reading a favorite book you read when you were little. We don't need one another or co-dependency to feel loved every day.

We don't need someone who will reply at our fingertips via text, and we certainly don't need a special "vice" to make us feel accomplished and successful as we are just learning how the world works. Through our own eyes and own fingertips. So look beyond, and push to keep moving forward, because you're the only one in charge of what kind of ending you pick for your story at the end of your life to tell others. There is beauty everywhere, just take a look and love the sky, love your own piece of the world you are in now.

Everything changes, and we will too, but our hearts will forever stay the same, and feel the same.

Cover Image Credit: Photo by Krista McPhee on Unsplash

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