Book review – Turtles All the Way Down (Spoiler Free)

“No, it’s not, Holmesy. You pick your endings, and your beginnings. You get to pick the frame, you know? Maybe you don’t choose what’s in the picture, but you decide the frame.”
― John GreenTurtles All the Way Down


  • Title: Turtles All the Way Down
  • Author: John Green
  • Genre: YA fiction
  • Pages: 304
  • Publication date: October 10th, 2017
  • Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers

I have to start by saying that I love John Green as a person, but never have been a huge fan of his books. I read The Fault in Our Stars years after its high fame, but I found the book too predictable. I knew the ending before the end of the first chapter thanks to the fact Cancer and I have been longtime enemies. But, that being said, knowing the main character of John’s new book, Turtles All the Way Down, had an anxiety disorder, I had to get the book. I’m glad I did.

Putting a character with mental disorder as the primary character (Aza) is a huge risk because of the stigma around them. However, this book doesn’t make Aza’s mental disorder out to be this huge negative aroma; the book makes Aza’s life humane and honest. For people who don’t understand anxiety disorders well, this would be a good book to get introduced with them.

The story follows young Aza who is pushed by her best friend Daisy into solving the mystery of a missing billionaire, who also used to be a father of an old childhood friend. Aza and Daisy both are penniless heading into college soon, so the hundred-thousand dollar reward to finding the missing billionaire sounds amazing. But of course, life gets in the way once or twice.

Overall, the story is well written. I always commend John on his well thought out phrases and messages from all the Vlogbrothers videos I watch, so I could be biased there. However, a couple of times throughout the novel, the plot died down a bunch. All the chapters merge together to make the story towards the end, but the beginning chapters makes you wonder where the story is heading. The plot levels out a few times before something happens, which can make some chapters (or even sections of the book) pop out more than others.

A point I didn’t mind, but other readers may mind is the philosophical aspect that carries through the whole book. The book mentions many different questions and proposed answers about humanness and life in general. This moments can seem to make the story ‘pause’ for a moment as John reflects on some inner moments. All writers do this eventually, but John does it consistently in small sections throughout the whole book, especially at the end. If philosophical thoughts are not your thing, this book may not be one you can read through quickly.

I, however, read this book faster than what I planned to by a couple of days. It’s a great quick read to get into. I loved being able to read a book with an accurate representation of an anxiety disorder as well. I actually already have recommended this book to my friends, so I recommend it to you as well.

Score: 8.9/10

Average rating on Goodreads: 4.19/5

Get the book here!

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