Review of John Green’s “Turtles All The Way Down”

Madison Waltz, Writer

Diving into a world created by the mind of author John Green, there a few things to expect: a unique love story, an outspoken protagonist with an unconventional worldview and a promise of adventure. Green, best known for his works “The Fault In Our Stars,” “Looking For Alaska” and “Paper Towns,” released his latest book, “Turtles All the Way Down” Oct. 10.

Told from the point of view of a modern-day 16-year-old, Green’s adolescent audience is clear, though the expected clichés are cut away from this narrative. Plagued by anxiety paired with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), the protagonist Aza struggles with an irrational fear of germs and leads the story while struggling through her mental illness. The intriguing storyline sparked my interest, and the quirky characters mixed with potential love interests kept me hooked, making the book impossible to put down.

“Turtles All the Way Down” offers something for everyone and will be a classic of its time. Green does an excellent job of highlighting mental illness, a commonly taboo subject, in a positive light. The person suffering seeks treatment from a therapist and refuses to succumb to the crippling anxiety she encounters. The novel advocates for those who are often seen as “crazy” or “dramatic,” and reaches out to those who seek better understanding of their peers with similar conditions. Green’s audience is  diverse, from those who can relate to the mental illness of the main character, to people who identify with her best friend, who struggles with supporting someone suffering from an incomprehensible illness. With ups, downs, laughs, mysteries, love and self- exploration, the novel is excellent for high school students looking for a contemporary story to fall into.