Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Reviewed by Andrea K.

A common theme I have noticed is John Green’s YA novels is that of “trying.” In A Fault in our Stars, both Hazel and Augusten are trying to adjust to life with cancer. Augusten was always trying to outsmart cancer and be more adventurous whereas Hazel seemed like she was happy to tread water in the shallow end of life. Both knew very well they had cancer but were always trying to be people, not patients.

Aza (also known as “Holmesy” by her by BFF, Daisy) is another one of John Green’s characters who are always trying. She tries to control her OCD by keeping a bandage over her calloused finger. Aza wants to forget about the bandage but it’s almost like her mind is in a constant loop of taking off the bandage, re-inspecting her callous, re-breaking the callous open, and reapplying another bandage. When she is not trying to continue this cycle, Aza tries to be a good daughter to her single mother and is trying to be a friend to the fearless Daisy. All things are tough on this 16 year-old.

Now the plot thickens when Daisy finds out Aza’s former friend’s dad has disappeared. Daisy is all about collecting the $100,000 reward if she and Aza find Mr. Pickett but this will involve Aza’s getting out of her comfort zone and befriending Davis Pickett again. Of course, this is totally awkward for Aza, and it does make Davis suspicious of the girls’ motives.

This was a great story because John Green once again talks about the value of true friendship, and you can’t put a price tag on this. I was very shy and awkward as a teenager so I related to Aza. I always tried, but sometimes, I failed and sometimes, I succeeded. But when I was older, my husband shared with me some solid advice, and I would like to pass it on.

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone!” (Donald Neale Walsh)

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