book review // “turtles all the way down” by john green

turtlesallthewaydowntitle: turtles all the way down
author: john green
genre: ya-contemporary
type: hardback
pages: 284
start: 16.10.2017
finish: 17.10.2017
rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐


“The problem with happy endings is that they’re either not really happy, or not really endings, you know? In real life, some things get better and some things get worse. And then eventually you die.”



what it’s about:
aza is sixteen and she has deals mental illness. she has anxiety and severe OCD. her life is complicated and she has to struggle a lot. one day she stumbles across an old friend from her past and all her emotions get caught in a sprial, that never ends.


what i think:
as soon as i heard, that john green is coming out with a new book, i was so excited. it became my most anticipated release of the year and i couldn’t wait. you guys may have seen it, because it was probably on every list on my blog. on the other side, i was also scared, because i didn’t know if it could live up to my expectations. you all know, that “the fault in our stars” is my favorite book of all time. still. until this day. so yeah, i was a little scared, starting this book. as soon as it arrived, i started reading and finished it in two sittings. i really, really liked it, but i didn’t love it as much as i thought i would.

now, this story is pretty hard. the main character aza has anxiety and ocd. i have read books about anxiety before, but never in this way. this book goes deep, really deep. and it takes the main part of the book. i was shocked so many times, because it was so weird for me to go this deep into a mind of a person who has to live with these mental illnesses. for me i can say, that i had the luck, never to experience anything like this, so i don’t know, how it feels. how it is to live with it. and yeah, i was shocked. i don’t know, if it really feels that way, but i got the feeling, that this was real. and it made me take deep breaths while reading certain parts. i wanted to help aza and i just didn’t know how. it made me sad and angry and i wanted to take her pain away, but i couldn’t. i felt helpless, the way aza was helpless. the whole anxiety and ocd part in this book hit me very hard and i think john green did a great job portraying it. now, since i don’t know, if it is like this, you guys need to tell me, if he did his job right.

i guess for the writing part, there is not much to say. i love john greens writing. i think it’s magical. i can get lost in it. and most of my tabs are orange, because that’s my color for quotes. i marked so many quotes, because they are beautiful and honest and true as always. i think, i would need a couple of pages to write all of them down in my book journal. i know i will do it. so, as far as the writing goes, i have nothing negative to say. i just loved it so much and i think i always will.

as for the other characters. i loved aza’s mom. she is caring and she loves her daughter with everything she has. i could totally feel it and her fears felt so real to me. i could relate to her so much, because i also want, that the people i love live happy and not scared.

davis is a character, that i also loved very much. i hated how much he suffered, but i think he did a great job as a brother. i loved the idea about the blogs and i loved reading about his own thoughts, because this book is mainly from the perspective of aza. for me, davis is a very strong character and i loved the way he was with aza. he was caring, he looked out for her and wanted to make it easy for her. his understanding warmed my heart so much and the ending kind of broke my heart. it was hard for me to accept it and take it in. but on the other side i also completely understand it.

now to the parts, that i didn’t like. because yes, there were parts, that i did not like. the whole story arc that goes through this book, where aza and daisy are involved, somehow felt wrong. or maybe not wrong, but i just had the feeling that it didn’t fit that well in this book. i don’t know what it was, but it felt off and maybe that’s why i had the feeling in the end, that something was missing in this book. i wasn’t that hooked with that story arc. and don’t even get me started on the money part, because that was a thing, that made me so mad. i don’t know why, but i felt davis’ action was wrong and also the consequences felt completely wrong.  i mean how is this even possible? how would this ever happen in real life? i don’t know, but i didn’t like it at all. and when i think about the parents’ reactions, i had a feeling, that this is not reality. i may be wrong, but for me it just wasn’t believable, which took something away from the book.

another thing i had my problems with, was the friendship between aza and daisy. don’t get me wrong, i like that aza has someone next to her. but boy, this friendship felt wrong at so many points. i was so frustrated about some things that happened between them, that i got really mad. for me, this was not a healthy friendship. neither from aza’s side, nor from daisy’s. so many things were unspoken and there should have been honesty at all times. but it wasn’t and some revelations, some thoughts, just made me mad. i don’t know, but for me this was not what best friends should be. and maybe that’s because i always had problems with daisy. of course i was on aza’s side and that’s why i couldn’t build a good connection to daisy.


what you should know:
“turtles all the way down” by john green is a good book. a really good book, that felt real at the big and important parts. it made me feel emotions, that are important to feel. it made me realize some things about anxiety and ocd, that i didn’t know. i really liked that part. as for the big story arc, i wasn’t sold and also the friendship between aza and daisy was hard to understand. but if you want a story, that gives you an inside on anxiety and ocd and portrays it real, then this book is definitely for you. be aware, that it goes deep into anxiety and ocd, so if these are triggers for you, you should be warned. the writing is as always wonderful und magical, but because of certain parts, “turtles all the way down” won’t be my favorite by john green. i remember being broken by “the fault in our stars” and “looking for alaska”. i cried almost the whole time. but this didn’t happen with “turtles all the way down”. some things i just couldn’t agree, because they felt off. but maybe it’s just me.


“turtles all the way down” on goodreads
john green on goodreads

21 thoughts on “book review // “turtles all the way down” by john green

  1. I’m glad to see another high rating of this book! That kind of sucks about the main friendship though :/.

    I wasn’t the biggest John Green fan when he was in the height of publishing books, but I’ve been wanting to read Turtles All the Way Down against my better judgment.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved reading your review! I loved the mental health aspects of this book, I agree it was done really well. But I also disliked Aza and Daisy’s friendship, there was something off about Daisy. She seemed a bit mean-spirited and made everything about herself. Also, now that I think about it, the whole mystery wasn’t explained very well in the end, but I guess the book was more about Aza than anyone else.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Now that I read your review I definitely get your view on the friendship. It didn’t bother me all that much, but that’s simply because I had the feeling that Daisy struggled a lot with Aza’s anxiety and OCD. It also felt like something they could hardly talk about, which made her find a way to vent – fan fic.
    In the end, I think they’re better together though. And, in a way, I still think it’s a strong friendship since they got through it and they stick around for each other.
    *But that might just be me and my positive thinking, haha.*

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I think John Green himself has OCD and anxiety, so I suppose his portrayal was quite realistic… great review Alex! I didn’t know The Fault in Our Stars is your favorite book! It’s such a beautiful story.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great review and gives an insight on the pros and cons of reading the book. I’m still hesitant about buying this myself. I might wait for a cheaper paperback so in case I didn’t like it, I’ll at least not spend too much money on it, being the student on a budget that I am 😉


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