Review – Turtles all the way down

Turtles all the way down by John Green
Published: October 10th 2017 by Dutton Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young adult, contemporary, fiction
Pages: 304

Turtles all the way down

“The thing about a spiral is, if you follow it inward, it never actually ends. It just keeps tightening, infinitely.”

John Green has the incredible ability to suck you in with a little mystery, curiosities and a whole lot of heart. I always feel like I learn something new reading his books. I’m sure I’m not alone in this and that a whole myriad of people scratched their heads before googling “turtles all the way down” when they heard the title. (Yes, it does mean something, and no I’m not going to tell you, you’ll just have to google it yourself!)

So what is the book about? Have you read a John Green book before? The books are never about one thing, one person or one story. There are always an intricately woven bunch of stories and I love that about them. The book is about everything a teenager goes through, which is a thousand things a minute. It’s about love and loss, the relationships in our lives, our journeys, how our paths cross, our joys and struggles along the way.

“I thought about him asking me if I’d ever been in love. It’s a weird phrase in English, in love, like it’s a sea you drown in or a town you live in. You don’t get to be in anything else – in friendship or in anger or in hope. All you can be is in love.”

It’s also should be mentioned that it focuses a great deal on mental health. It shows us ways to deal with the things that gnaws on us. Some of the characters obsess and pick on their issues. Other characters use outlets for their issues, like writing, poetry, music and art. I admire the way it’s laid out so delicately, and comforts us in saying that there is no right way or wrong way to feel or deal or grieve or move on. We just have to find our own ways through our spirals, but it’s ok to have a little help, and we don’t have to do it alone. Everybody has somebody, even if they feel all alone and it’s ok to ask for help.

For a YA book it’s infinitely deep, and the pain of the main character Aza is so real at times, you almost feel as if you’re intruding in her thoughts. One of my favorite parts is where she pleads outward towards you, and brings the whole inside of the book out into your world – or you into it if you will… It almost felt that if I only stopped reading, she would stop feeling so bad.

“Please just let me out. Whoever it authoring me, let me out of this.”

But as with all the hard things in life that we just can’t get over, we have to find a way through. And this was one of the easiest hard books I’ve ever read through. The writing just flows, the characters are lovable and yet complicated, the stories are fun and sad at the same time. I can dissect, analyze and gush about this book forever and I’m sure the more I look, the more I’ll find, like the spiral that never ends….

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