The Book Report

‘Turtles All the Way Down’ in review

More stories from Jenna Clausing

The Book Report
December 9, 2019

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John Green’s novel “Turtles All the Way Down” was long anticipated. It was published five years after his most popular book, “The Fault in Our Stars.”

Fans of Green’s novels waited and waited for his newest novel to come out, but was it what they were looking for?

“Turtles All the Way Down” tells the story of two girls, Aza and Daisy, and their boring hometown that unexpectedly brings the mystery and adventure of a lifetime.

The girls receive word that an Indianapolis CEO has gone missing, and it just so happens that the son of this CEO, this billionaire, is a childhood friend of Ava’s: Davis.

In Ava and Daisy’s adventure to gather information about this CEO, Davis and Ava have an a near-instant connection. As their relationship grows, a different side of Ava is shown.

As the novel progresses, Ava exhibits strong signs of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. She focuses on her fear of catching diseases in the air, she obsessively forms a callous on her thumb that she then picks at until it bleeds.

Her relationship with Davis progresses, and every time the two kiss she washes her mouth out with hand sanitizer out of the fear of catching a disease from him.

This novel strongly highlights OCD in a fresh way. The reader really sees Ava’s internal struggle, which helps develop an understanding of what OCD really is like.

Although it starts off pretty slow, this book does a great job at creating twists and turns in the plot. It could be categorized as a mystery novel, a teen romance novel or a novel about mental health.

The twists and turns are what keep the reader interested because, frankly, without them this book just would not work.

The strongest feature of this novel is its ability to portray OCD so accurately. There are few teen books in existence that focus on OCD.

In an interview with National Public Radio, Green opened up about his own personal struggles with OCD and how he was able to relate to Aza’s character.

“I needed a place where I could make a connection with Aza in order to write about her, I think,” Green said.

Due to his strong personal connection with OCD, Green said he was able to project his real experiences with OCD onto Aza’s character.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 1.8 percent of U.S. adults, aged 18 or older, struggle with OCD. The number is significantly higher in females than males, 1.8 percent to 0.5 percent respectively.

Other books featuring characters with OCD include “The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B” by Teresa Toten, “The Goldfish Boy” by Lisa Thompson and “Every Last Word” by Tamara Ireland Stone.

“Turtles All the Way Down” was rated 3.98/5 on GoodReads and 4.4/5 on Amazon.

This book would be great for fans of John Green’s other works. It would also be a good read for those who have a mental illness like OCD that could connect to a character like Ava.

Clausing can be reached at [email protected].