17 November, 2017

#BookReview :: Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

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. 

I am a more recent John Green fan as I discovered TFIOS shortly after its release and since then I have read all the books by John Green. I must admit, when the details of this book were first unveiled, I wasn’t impressed. Both the title and the cover felt underwhelming and the blurb only confused me. Plus, I kept asking myself whether it is even possible for the author to top TFIOS or Looking for Alaska. So, I held off on reading it till a trusted friend had read and reviewed the book.

I am happy to report that not only has John Green done it again, but this is his best work till date. I absolutely loved it.

As the book blurb states, Daisy enlists her friend Aza’s help to solve the mystery of the fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett. But the story is obviously a lot more than that. It smoothly incorporates the lives of two best friends who have insanely opposite personalities. Aza, our protagonist, is a person who deals with OCD/anxiety and as such she is mostly caught up in her own life and what she terms as her ‘thought spirals’. Daisy on the other hand is an extrovert and a very bright personality. Their friendship is unique and extraordinary. I have to admit that there were moments when Daisy felt really mean and rude. But on the other hand, whatever it is and however it is – their friendship works. There were quite a few additional characters like Davis, Mychal and Aza’s mom. They each add to the story in their own way and was given enough attention. They were developed well enough for the readers to be interested in their characters as well.

What overwhelmed me at times was Aza’s ‘thought spirals’. They felt frustrating and intriguing at the same time. It was frustrating because these patches were taking Aza away from everything else that was going on. Also, not always did I catch on to the triggers immediately. But intriguing as well because these were the moments that truly reflect what it is like to be dealing with a mental illness. For a relatively normal girl (some would dispute that though) it was fascinating to me to see how Aza’s mind worked. We do not really understand what a person with mental illness goes through and this book just provides a window to a kind of it. 

I also loved the ending of the book. It doesn’t tie up all ends to give us a happily ever after. Instead it gives us a reality check and HOPE.

NOTE: For those of you, who like me, felt the cover and the title felt underwhelming, I would like to report that both the title and the cover will make 100% sense once you read the book.

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