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Turtles All the Way Down

Turtles All the Way Down

Book - 2017
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Aza Holmes, a high school student with obsessive-compulsive disorder, becomes focused on searching for a fugitive billionaire.
Publisher: New York, NY : Dutton Books, [2017]
ISBN: 9780525555377
9780525555360
Call Number: TEEN F GREE
Characteristics: 286 pages ; 22 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

"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.

A sometimes heartbreaking, always illuminating, glimpse into how it feels to live with mental illness. – NPR


From the critics


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sarahmokhtari
Apr 16, 2021

Turtles All the Way Down follows the story of Aza Holmes, a girl who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The novel explores mental illness and also delves deep into the mind of Aza and her spiral of compulsive thoughts and worries. While we see many things happen in Aza’s life, the true focus of this book is supposed to be on her inner struggle.
I thought this book was overall a good attempt at exploring mental illness but just felt quite lackluster at some points. It could very easily have been an exceptional representation of OCD and anxiety, but attempts to add a bizarre subplot made the story fall short. I am not opposed to an introspective novel, especially concerning a novel dealing with mental illness, but I cannot understand why the author decided to add such a disorganized side story. I would have found Aza's story far more powerful without it.

j
JEDIsauer
Mar 29, 2021

I love John green and the realism he incorporates in his books, however, this particular book was hard to read. The story feels a bit stale and uneventful. The ending is unimpressive and leaves the reader feeling like there should be more.

h
haileyrose13
Mar 25, 2021

One of my favorite authors of all time would definitely have to be John green. All of his books just show his raw talent and emotions behind the characters. He uses real life issues/problems and inserts those into his books. Johns Green tells a story about a sixteen year old, Aza who suffers with extreme anxiety and Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). We are also introduced to Daisy, Aza’s best friend, who is the complete opposite of Aza. When a local billionaire goes missing, Daisy has an idea to play detective since Aza knows the billionaire’s son, Davis, and also there is a reward for $100,000 which prompts the girls to find clues. Davis and Aza share a common pain of losing parents, Aza lost her father and Davis lost his mother, and that is how they met. When Davis and Aza are reunited something about their relationship booms which terrifies and excites Aza. This book is definitely a good read because it focuses on subjects like anxiety and the downward spiral that it could cause. If you don’t pay attention to the book you may miss important details. If you like mystery and uncovering new events this is the book for you.
Age: 14+

l
lkim17
Feb 22, 2021

Sixteen year old Aza Holmes is a teenager dealing with OCD, a rocky friendship, and her childhood friend’s father’s disappearance. Navigating her life around her spiraling thoughts and personal struggles, Aza takes the reader on her journey on finding a fugitive billionaire and living around her many thoughts. This book is a great representation of mental illness in literature as well as the complexities of everyday life. Fans of fiction and novels will be sure to enjoy this one-of-a-kind book.

j
jun_177
Feb 02, 2021

John Green delicately unfolds the personality of Aza Holmes, the main character of the book who suffers from anxiety and OCD, through the words of her inner monologue. In this story, Aza tries to solve the mystery of the disappearance of her childhood friend’s father while struggling to control her life and mental illness. One thing I liked about this book is that it allowed me to get a deeper insight into this topic of mental illness and I became more understanding of it, along with other related topics, such as love and losing a loved one. The way Green portrays his characters convincingly and powerfully adds to the connection of the book to the reader and develops the story into one that can be enjoyed by any young adult. This book is definitely one of my favorites and it is a must-read for anyone who wants a heartfelt experience, full of honesty and warmth.

flightofabluebird Dec 18, 2020

John Green is a fantastic writer and does a great job portraying mental illness. I think that most teens will be able to connect with Aza on some level. With the current pandemic situation, I wonder how this book would have been written had Green started it in 2020.

t
trhannah01
Dec 07, 2020

I feel very conflicted reviewing this book. On one hand, the description of mental illness is immaculate. Green did an excellent job showing what one with this particular illness must deal with. However, besides the main character, I found the supporting and minor characters bland and without substance. The storyline of the book is weak with an unimpressive ending. I struggled to get through the first few chapters. I wanted to learn more about Aza's mental health because that is something I've never struggled with before, but the plot was so dull and uninteresting I almost gave up several times. If you have a loved one with mental illness/curious about mental illness, this could be a great enlightening book for you. If you're looking for entertainment, not so much.

s
Somanybooks11
Nov 22, 2020

Mental Illness needs to be talked about. This book shows why.

k
kwsmith
Aug 30, 2020

Aza Holmes, age 16, suffers from multiple anxiety and obsessive-compulsive mental disorders while helping her sarcastic best friend Daisy search for a mysterious missing billionaire. Along the way, Aza falls in love and pushes the limits of her various mental disorders with suitably tragic results. The core of the story focuses on Aza's inner struggle; the missing billionaire plot fizzles along until it sputters away into a terrible Deus Ex Machina conclusion. The ending? Well, let's just say it's exactly what I've come to expect from John Green.

g
Green_Cat_68
Aug 22, 2020

John Green does a wonderful job conveying to the audience what living with OCD truly feels like. The main character, Aza Holmes, has to constantly go with her daily routine while also battling the intrusive thoughts that she has. Green writes her inner thinking processes well, and incorporates metaphors such as the ‘ever-tightening spiral’ to give us a sense of what she’s going through. Aza’s best friend, Daisy, is also given a well-rounded personality. In my opinion, although a mystery is incorporated into this novel, it centers more around the genre of a coming-of-age novel. I was slightly disappointed that the mystery wasn’t the main focus of the plot, and it ended up making the ending slightly unsatisfying and abrupt.

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Age

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lkim17
Feb 22, 2021

lkim17 thinks this title is suitable for 15 years and over

j
jun_177
Feb 02, 2021

jun_177 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

b
blue_fox_2162
Jan 11, 2021

blue_fox_2162 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

f
FRIENDS118
Jan 05, 2020

FRIENDS118 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

a
amanda4love
May 27, 2019

amanda4love thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

m
marthagoldsmith
May 18, 2019

marthagoldsmith thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

b
blue_dog_38042
May 03, 2019

blue_dog_38042 thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

d
donutwombat
Jul 03, 2018

donutwombat thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

b
blue_dove_464
Oct 30, 2017

blue_dove_464 thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over

Quotes

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She sang lead, and I belted out the background voice that just repeated, "You're everything everything everything," and I felt like I was. You're both the fire and the water that extinguishes it. You're the narrator, the protagonist, and the sidekick. You're the storyteller and the story told. You are somebody's something, but you are also your you.

s
Somanybooks11
Nov 22, 2020

“I was beginning to learn that your life is a story told about you, not one that you tell.”
― John Green, Turtles All the Way Down

s
Somanybooks11
Nov 22, 2020

“Actually, the problem is that I can’t lose my mind,” I said. “It’s inescapable.”
― John Green, Turtles All the Way Down

s
Somanybooks11
Nov 22, 2020

“You remember your first love because they show you, prove to you, that you can love and be loved, that nothing in this world is deserved except for love, that love is both how you become a person and why.”
― John Green, Turtles All the Way Down

s
Somanybooks11
Nov 22, 2020

“The thing about a spiral is, if you follow it inward, it never actually ends. It just keeps tightening, infinitely.”
― John Green, Turtles All the Way Down

s
Somanybooks11
Nov 22, 2020

“no one ever says good-bye unless they want to see you again. aa”
― John Green, Turtles All the Way Down

ArapahoeTina Oct 30, 2019

“Your now is not your forever.”

ArapahoeMaryA Jan 04, 2018

Your now is not your forever.

There is hope, even when your brain tells you there isn't.


It’s so weird, to know you’re crazy and not be able to do anything about it, you know? It’s not like you believe yourself to be normal. You know there is a problem. But you can’t figure a way through to fixing it.

v
violet_crow_41
Dec 12, 2017

I know that girl would go on, that she would grow up, have children and love them, that despite loving them she would get too sick to care for them, be hospitalized, get better and then get sick again. I know a shrink would say "Write it down, how you got here."
So you would, and in writing it down you realize, love is not a tragedy or a failure, but a gift.

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