On October 10th 2017 John Green released his latest novel Turtles All The Way Down. Even if you are not a fan of John Green you might recognise his name, he wrote the novel The Fault In Our Stars that was adapted into an award winning film in 2014. John has written six novels in total (the first being Looking for Alaska which emotionally crippled me) and has many other achievements. He has heavily impacted market for YA novels with his work, with his brother Hank he runs the Youtube channel Vlogbrothers which has over one million subscribers and together they have a following of fans called Nerdfighters (of which I am one) that try to fight “World Suck” by assisting charities. When John announced his new novel the expectations were high but is Turtles worth the hype?
This review contains minor spoilers.
Turtles All the Way Down is about 16 year old Aza Holmes, a sufferer of OCD, who decides to hunt a fugitive billionaire for a cash reward. Having said that the book focuses more on Aza and her mental health than her hunt for the fugitive. Green also suffers from OCD and explained in an interview that although the novel is fictional it is also very personal.
By far the best aspect about the book is the realism. The characters of Turtles All The Way Down feel real, they talk about crushes, worry about school, write fan fiction and fall in love. Although I don’t suffer from OCD myself, people who do say that Green captures the emotion of being trapped and in a constant mental conflict perfectly. The front cover of the novel is a thought spiral showing how difficult it is to escape a particular way of thinking. Green is an expert at capturing the insecurities of teenagers, a skill he performs in all of his novels.
My main grievance with the novel are the vast number of clichés and tropes that Green includes. At points it feel as though he is highlighting the fact that this is a YA novel. This is common in most of Green’s writing and maybe is just a personal gripe of mine. My other critism is that although the characters are realistic they’re not always likeable which makes it difficult for me to feel an emotional attachment to them. For example the male romantic interest lives in a mansion with a private cinema. Even though he’s facing family issues (I won’t say anymore to avoid spoilers) I found it hard to feel sorry for him.
If you like John Green’s work then you’ll enjoy this addition. In my opinion Turtles All The Way Down is a good book… but not his best. I’ll give the novel eight turtles out of ten.
Have you read Turtles All The Way Down or any other pieces of John Green’s work? If so, what did you think? Let me know in the comments down below or on social media and I’ll catch you next time.