Book Review | Turtles All the Way Down by John Green


Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

YA, Fiction

Dutton Books for Young Readers | October 10th, 2017

5/5 Stars

It all begins with a fugitive billionaire and the promise of a cash reward. Turtles All the Way Down is about lifelong friendship, the intimacy of an unexpected reunion, Star Wars fan fiction, and tuatara. But at its heart is Aza Holmes, a young woman navigating daily existence within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

In his long-awaited return, John Green shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity.

My Review

When I saw that a new John Green book had come out I immediately wanted to read it even before reading the description or reviews about it. Having read all of his other books, I knew I wasn’t going to be let down with this one. After reading other people’s reviews and comments about the book, I wanted to read it even more. Thankfully, I was given this book as a graduation/Christmas present last month and began reading it as soon as possible.

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green is about a girl named Aza. Aza suffers from serious anxiety issues, particularly anything to do with the microbial self. Aza is forever thinking about her body, her cells, and everything that goes on in her body.  These thoughts are invasive and she doesn’t know how to control them which not only wrecks havoc on her but kind of everyone else around her as well. Aza is really trying to overcome her intrusive thoughts as her and Daisy become detectives in order to solve the mystery of Russell Pickett’s disappearance for the $100,000 reward.

I was really curious as to what this book was going to be about because the title seemed kind of strange to me. When I finally got to the part where it is explained I found the title very fitting. I really enjoyed reading this book because I felt like I could connect on some level with the main character. She is fighting so hard with her thoughts and they keep relentlessly coming back to the point where she questions her self, and self in general. As far as John Green novels go, I would have to say that this is one of my favorite. I hope that this book is just the beginning of more to come from Green.

YA author, John Green, has done it again, brought us a brilliantly written novel with relatable characters and a great story. Green never dumbs anything down and expresses his characters in a way that you can feel their emotions and actions. He has done it in all his novels, the admiration between Hazel and Augustus in The Fault in Our Stars, Quentin’s feelings for Margo in Paper Towns, Colin’s hope for romance in An Abundance of Katherines, and Mile’s feelings for Alaska in Looking for Alaska. In this particular novel, Green provides us with Aza’s intrusive thoughts and how she tries to fight them so fiercely but is unable to do so. It makes you want to give her a hug. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys YA novels, not just fans of John Green.


I don’t know about you but I keep a notebook where I write down quotes from books that I really like. There were a few quotes throughout this book that really grabbed my attention:

Admittedly, I have some anxiety problems, but I would not argue it isn’t irrational to be concerned about the fact that you are a skin-encased bacterial colony.”

 –Aza, Turtles All the Way Down

This quote, in particular, I feel introduces and sums up Aza’s character and what she suffers with on a daily basis.

True fear isn’t being scared; it’s not having a choice in the matter.”

 –Aza, Turtles All the Way Down

I really like this one because it’s so unbelievably true. Sure we can be scared of things in our minds but until you have no choice but to face it, you have not experienced true fear.

You’re right that self isn’t simple, Aza. Maybe it’s not even singular. Self is a plurality, but pluralities can also be integrated, right? Think of a rainbow. It’s one arc of light, but also seven differently colored arcs of light.”  

–Dr. Singh, Turtles All the Way Down

Aza’s therapist, Dr. Singh, tells her this while Aza is trying to explain how she feels that because her thoughts are so strong and invasive she doesn’t know who she is. She is questioning whether we are really singularly ourselves or pluralities.

“Our hearts were broken in the same places. That’s something like love, but maybe not quite the thing itself.”

 –Aza, Turtles All the Way Down

Of course, it would not be a John Green novel without a touch of romance. Aza is thinking this as she is laying next to Davis on the golf course looking up at the sky.

Last but not least,

“Maybe we invented metaphor as a response to pain. Maybe we needed to give shape to the opaque, deep-down, pain that evades both sense and senses.”

 –Aza, Turtles All the Way Down

This quote takes place toward the end of the novel so I won’t say much about it. I like this quote because it’s true. We can’t always put our pain into words that make sense to anyone but our own selves because no one else can feel the pain that you are feeling.


Check it out even Baby Groot likes Turtles All the Way Down. 


teal thanks for reading


4 thoughts on “Book Review | Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

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