Review by: Ava

This book BROKE. MY. HEART.  Turtles All the Way Down is the most vivid and open book on mental illness I have ever read. Aza, the main character, is a normal teen doing normal things while also suffering from anxiety. If you do not understand what I mean when I say anxiety, I would immediately insist you read this book. Even if you do believe you know what this means, I still insist that you read this book. The way John Green illustrates Aza’s mental illness is one I myself cannot explain, and can only be fully comprehended by reading his novel. “The spiral” that plays such an important part in Aza’s story is one of the most genius symbols I’ve ever read about in a book.


I don’t like to read books that make me hurt. I usually avoid them at all costs. But by the time I realized this book would make me cry, it was too late and I couldn’t stop reading. Everything you thought you knew about mental illness, all the useless facts and stories you’ve only just heard of, have nothing on the impact of reading Turtles All the Way Down. You will almost certainly gain a new perspective of the inner demons inside of an affected patient. It is scary inside the spiral. Just reading about it made my insides twist, and wanted to immediately put the book down and fetch a glass of chocolate milk to drown all my worries away. But once you are in the spiral, you can’t get out. 

John Green is a masterful writer, and one that I will always look up to. Every single one of his books that I have read, have touched me in some way that will forever remain a part of me. That being said however, there were a couple aspects of the book that I did not find as strong. For example, the plot itself felt very anticlimactic to me. It was not very interesting, and did not reveal any shocking new plot twists. Despite this, I realize that perhaps what I thought was the “plot” was just a subplot in the real goal, which was the self discovery of the main character. I would also like to quickly mention that there is a romantic subplot in this story that John Green wrote about so very well, but also abused it in a way that highlights the maladies of mental illness (in a good, writerly way).

I for one am a better person now that I have read this book.”

In conclusion, Turtles All the Way Down is a book I would recommend to anyone, any day. I’ve reread it so many times, and every time it always manages to teach me something new. There may not be a happy ending, but a realistic one, and I for one am a better person now that I have read this book.

Ava’s Favorite Quotes: 

  • “I would never slay the dragon, because the dragon is also me”
  • “We are about to live the American Dream, which is, of course, to benefit from someone else’s misfortune.”
  • “Thoughts are just a different kind of bacteria, colonizing you.”
  • “The world is also the stories we tell about it.”
  • “Maybe I am just a lie that I am whispering to myself.”