Green’s new release: Turtles all the Way Down

I had previously read Green’s The Fault in Our Stars when it first came out in 2012. I remember liking it, so when I heard about his new book Turtles All The Way Down, I thought I would enjoy it as well. So, I picked up the book and read it within a few days.
The storyline:
The novel follows a high school girl named Aza Holmes who, along with her loud and rambunctious friend Daisy, discover that local billionaire Russell Pickett is missing. There is a $100,000 award, so they are determined to get more information about his whereabouts to receive the money.
In the process, Aza reacquaints herself with Pickett’s son Davis, who she used to be close friends with when she was younger. While all of this is happening, Aza struggles with major anxiety and OCD. She has “intrusive thoughts” in which simple things such as eating or kissing cause her to freak out.
My thoughts:
The story does not necessarily follow the tale of trying to find Pickett as much as Aza’s internal battle and how that relates to her connections with other people. Throughout the novel, she refers to her thoughts as spirals, a reference that basically resembles her never-ending worries.
Maybe it’s because of her struggles, but boy, this girl speaks and thinks about some deep issues. Practically every word that comes out of her mouth is a metaphor.
And it’s not just her character – it seems that everybody speaks in metaphors.
The problem I have with this is that people, teenagers especially, do not talk like this. And maybe it’s just Green’s writing, but I got tired of the profound writing after the first page.
I enjoy learning about deep, philosophical truths, but it began to sound so scripted, and not at all how people actually talk, that it actually deterred me from wanting to read more.
Aza’s psychiatrist even discusses how Aza speaks in metaphors, and do you know how she addresses this issue? With another metaphor.
Also, regarding the storyline, I thought it was going to be more of an action novel. However, the main characters practically stay within the same radius location-wise. Now, this can either be played out really well or not so, and I would have to go with the latter. The story began to feel repetitive within the first few chapters. I would actually categorize this book as self-exploration and romance.
In addition, the product placement is ridiculous. Star Wars (including The Clone Wars, the TV show Rebels, and EA’s Battlefront as well as fan fiction), Chuck E. Cheese’s, Star Trek, and Applebee’s are mentioned various times.
Star Wars was especially a major problem in this book. I love the franchise, but reading about it constantly was extremely tiresome. I feel like there could’ve been a more creative way to incorporate movies, stores, and restaurants without name dropping.
Also, the title in and of itself is confusing. You don’t really learn about what it means until the end of the book. Of course, it’s a metaphorical representation.
The story wasn’t completely bad. I thought it was really interesting to learn more about those who struggle with anxiety and OCD. I feel like Green did a good job addressing this issue, especially regarding how over-powering and tedious these kinds of thoughts can be.
Also, there was a bit of humor. Aza loves her car so much that she calls it “Harold,” the one thing she can say she actually loves.
Final verdict:
Would I recommend this book? If you are a Green fan, then you will probably like this book and I say go for it. However, if you are new to the Green world, I would suggest starting off with The Fault in Our Stars, as there is more action in that book and I think it’s a better romance novel than Turtles All the Way Down.
Also, if you enjoy philosophical reading, regardless of plot, then this is the book for you. However, keep in mind that this book is not for those who do light reading. Prepare to think, and enter the never-ending spiral of your own thoughts.

Author: Sarah Ifft

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