Turtles All the Way Down Review

This October, John Green released his first book since The Fault in Our Stars was published in 2012. As soon as I could, I preordered Turtles All the Way Down without even knowing what it was about. I’m a big fan of Green, so I figured I’d like the book no matter what it was about, and I couldn’t pass up the chance to get a signed book.

When I finally found out what the book was about, I was worried that it would be too weird for me. Turtles is described as a high school girl’s mission to find a missing billionaire with her best friend while dealing with her spiraling thoughts. Really, the book is more about the main character’s struggle with severe anxiety.


The storyline didn’t initially draw me to the book, but once I started reading, it sucked me right in. Aza Holmes tries her best to focus on what’s going on, but she often gets lost in her own thoughts and worries. When a former friend’s billionaire father goes missing, Aza and her friend Daisy team up to find him and claim the reward. Of course, things get complicated when Aza reconnects with Davis, the elusive billionaire’s oldest son.

Green’s take on anxiety and mental illness is unlike anything else present in pop culture. Aza’s thoughts and fears are clearly articulated with the use of medical terms and descriptions that anyone can understand. Although it is apparent that Aza’s anxiety is hard on those around her, Green makes it very clear that she can’t control her illness and it’s not her fault.

Aza’s fears are a bit far-fetched, but that doesn’t change how she feels. She knows deep down that she probably won’t get C. Diff, but that doesn’t stop her from constantly worrying about it. Aza is plagued by intrusive thoughts, which means she can’t stop thinking upsetting thoughts. Once she starts thinking about something that bothers her, she can’t stop. As someone who struggles with anxiety, it was refreshing to see a character face some of the same issues I do and have words to describe some of what I go through even though my anxiety is on a much smaller scale than Aza’s.

I finished reading Turtles in about two or three days, and I have to really love a book to read it that fast. Green’s writing has gotten better and better over the years and if you’re a fan of his other work, you’ll certainly enjoy this book. Even if you can’t relate to the characters, it’s still a lovely read and worth checking out.