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Turtles All The Way Down by John Green

“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.”

*3.5/5

I’m not exactly sure if I like this book or not. I love the mental disorder side of the book, but I don’t really enjoy the actual plot. Everything else was good, so overall my experience was quite pleasant.

The only and a major problem I had with this book was the plot. To make this spoiler free, I’ll try not to be too detailed. Essentially, the story follows a girl named Aza who faces a mental disorder (OCD). In addition to this, she is dragged along with her friend to investigate the disappearance of a billionaire, whom she knows because she went to a summer camp with his son.

The main plot is supposed to be about the adventure she and her friend embarks on to find the billionaire. However, I don’t find this plot to be as intriguing. Instead of focusing on some adventure, I felt that the author should’ve shifted the focus to be on Aza’s mental spirals and her relationships. The billionaire adventure aspect is extremely boring and it basically dragged the entire story down. It had almost nothing to do with Aza’s mental struggles, which is really why I wish the focus was on Aza’s OCD.

The book was also pretty slow, but this was one of those instances where I didn’t really mind. I enjoyed the author’s explanations and interpretations on OCD, and I think the portrayal was pretty accurate from what I’ve heard. I actually think this book should’ve been slow (I never say that) since there were some concepts and things us readers needed to digest. I guess the author fulfilled my silent wishes, which was nice.

The characters definitely enhanced the story. Aza was pretty interesting, and I like how she wasn’t completely defined by her mental disorder. In many mental health books, I find the character who is facing the mental disorder is solely defined by the mental disorder and nothing else. In real life that never happens, which is one out of many reasons why I am careful about reading mental health books. So, I really enjoyed the fact that Aza also has a personality and is human, and that her mental disorder is something she has.

I enjoyed the other characters too. Having a character like Daisy made Aza and every other character more interesting, as her upbeat and social personality enhances the others characters surrounding her. She also is a nerd, which made it quite relatable. Davis was only okay. I personally felt like he wasn’t the best love interest, and many contemporary romance books face this issue too. Many male love interests are quite stereotypical in the contemporary genre, and I think that this book faced that issue as well. Of course, it doesn’t mean I hate him, but the author’s creativity in crafting characters just wasn’t present. Mychal wasn’t that present in the story, but when he was there I like him.

Finally, I think this book was entertaining. The number one factor I consider for any book is simply whether I thought it was interesting or not. And I definitely found this book to be interesting. The author’s take on OCD and using metaphors to express the spirals and such Aza faces was something different and creative. Many mental disorder books are straightforward, and describe what is going on. However, the author of this book uses some metaphors to illustrate OCD, which was something I thought was new and creative.

Overall, this book was a pleasant journey. The characters were fun but also crafted well, and I enjoyed the portrayal of mental illness. I do think that the plot ruined the book and I felt like it could’ve been a new favorite if it weren’t for the awful plot. I would recommend picking this book up, and personally, I think it is a huge improvement from The Fault in Our Stars.

 

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