Sunday, October 29, 2017

Turtles All the Way Down

35504431Green, John. Turtles All the Way Down
October 10th 2017 by Dutton Books for Young Readers
Purchased copy

Aza lives with her mother, a high school math teacher, in the suburbs of Indianapolis. Her father passed away when she was eight. She has a quirky best friend, Daisy, who dies her hair with Kool Aid and works at Chuck E. Cheese's. There's a solid group of friends who have lunch together, but Aza frequently gets caught in "thought spirals" that make it hard for her to talk to others, but which Daisy can sort of understand. Aza obsesses about getting a c. diff infection even though she has zero contributing factors, and also frequently tears her finger pad with her thumbnail to deal with the stress... which makes her worry more about infection. She is seeing a therapist, but doesn't take her medication as recommended. When Daisy learns that Aza knew the son of a wanted fugitive, Davis Pickett, the two take off to say hello to him and perhaps find his father and get the reward money. Davis knows why they appear, but has fond memories of Aza, and soon the two are hanging out. Aza really likes him, but freaks out about kissing him because of germs. Not much happens with the missing father, but Aza sinks deeper into thought spirals and starts drinking hand sanitizer. After she gets into a minor car accident with her father's beloved car and lacerates her liver, her fragile mental state is brought to the attention of medical professionals, and she gets some of the help she desperately needs.
N.B. I am not a John Green fan, but would have been when I was an adolescent. As an adult, I want to slap most of his characters. In general, Young Adult characters irritate me.
Strengths: Green's core audience will be waiting avidly for this. It's a good length, has an attractive cover, and the characters are well developed. The romance with Davis is appealing, and Daisy is fun and supportive. Afterwards, I felt sort of like I had somehow watched a 1990s John Hughes movie remade as an ABC Monday Night Movie for the twenty teens. (Because of the addition of anxiety and the deceased father.)
Weaknesses: The mystery of the father was the most interesting part of the book but didn't get as much attention as it should have. Everyone agrees that anxiety is painful to experience; I would opine that it's also fairly dull to read about.
What I really think: While Aza didn't irritate me as much as I thought she would, this is clearly a Young Adult book. Liberal sprinkling of f-words, mature content (sexting and talk about virginity), and a slow paced, introspective slog through an Important but ultimately unenlightening account of one girl's struggle with anxiety.
Ms. Yingling

1 comment:

  1. Can't say that I'm on the edge of my seat dying to read this one, though of course it's going to do well.