Today's review is for:
Turtles All The Way Down
Author: John Green
This is what mental illness looks like. Sixteen year old Aza is trying to be a good person, but she is stick in her mind. She is convinced that she is going to get sick (especially from C Diff). She has a cut on her finger that she will not let heal - sure it will be infected, and she cannot stop spiraling and convince herself it isn't. She lives constantly in fear of germs.
In this story, a billionare goes missing. His son, Davis, is a childhood friend of hers, and she decides to look him up to see what the story of his dad's disappearance might be. There is a $100,000 reward for anyone with information in finding his dad. Aza never intended to get involved, but when she sees Davis, she can't stop herself. She starts to fall for him, but is so tortured with her own thoughts, that she struggles to have a relationship with him. Instead, she helps Davis and his brother find what happened to their dad and with that - come to terms with her own demons.
I have read all of John Green's books. And I have to say - I find them hit or miss. Some of them are fantastic, and others are....fine. This one was fine. I loved many parts of it. Seeing into the mind of a truly mentally ill person is fascinating. (is that the right word?) I found myself gripping the book as Aza spiraled out of control with her thoughts, wanting to shake her and tell her to "get a grip". But she can't. She can't help it. She would give anything to not have these irrational fears and thoughts, but she cannot stop them. And no matter what it looks like to us in the outside world, to her it is very real.
The "eh" part for me was, well....mostly the rest. Her best friend is a bit of a jerk. Her mom seems to only parent about 50% of the time (letting her daughter stay out until 11pm on school nights without much care, even though her mom is a teacher). There isn't much background to Davis' father - we never really hear the whole story, but I guess to be fair - that is a very minor part of the book. The book felt a little jumbled and scattered, but maybe that was the style he was going for.
I read the book in one day. It is a quick read with not a lot of dialogue. It is definitely geared toward the YA crowd, and I know for a fact my 14 year old daughter would love this book.
Hard to say, hard to say. If you like John Green - give it a go. I think it has enough value - especially in the world of mental illness - to not be passed up.
Stars: 3 1/2
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