Turtles all the Way Down by John Green- a review

So… Turtles all the Way Down. John Green. A crazy pack of John Green fangirls that will not hesitate to beat me if i say anything bad about his writing. These loyal fangirls are one of my greatest fears I won’t deny, HOWEVER while I am quivering in my imaginary boots right now I am determined to post a truthful review.

Turtles All the Way Down is a YA novel showing sixteen-year-old Aza as she struggles to balance school, friendship, and her own fragile mental health. She also just happens to be hunting for the missing billionaire Russel Pickett. While in pursuit of the him, as well as the 100,000 dollar reward, she runs into an old friend of hers, Davis Pickett, who just happens to be said billionaires son. I’m not sure I’m spoiling much by saying that an inevitable romance is developed between the two, and I’m definitely not spoiling much when I say its one of the most cliche things I’ve ever read.

The main premise of this novel revolves around mental illness, more specifically anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, both of which John Green himself has. I thought it was such a great idea, and I had high hopes for this book, especially from the things I had already heard about it. I have to say I really didn’t get on with Green’s writing style, and I’m unlikely to read any more of his books, just to save myself the pain of the consistent cringing throughout. The presentation of mental illness was good however, and I felt it was written thoughtfully and was clear that Green had put a lot of thought into portraying it right. Nevertheless, I wouldn’t exactly say the process of reading this was enjoyable, other than the very, very, very regular intervals at which I had to laugh at all the absolutely mind-numbing dEeP cONveRsATioNS rESeRvED fOr TEeNS iN lOvE oNLy (trust me, there’s a lot).

John Green’s writing is just so overwhelmingly pretentious. This book just uses mental illness as a pillar for two teens falling dramatically in love. Emphasis on the dramatic. The description of Davis’ mansion sounded like the house I wrote about when I was 8 and thought that I would be recruited by One Direction and whisked away to Hollywood so I could live the rest of my life in luxury and stardom. As well as this there was a whole immortal lizard-but-not-a-lizard thing that just seemed so unimportant and once again… eye-blisteringly pretentious. His whole life of keeping hundreds of thousands of dollars kept in boxes of cereal just seemed so… dumb and unnecessarily ostentatious. With such and important and delicate premise of mental illness I wouldn’t say you really want much about the story to bring up the word dumb.

AND THEN, because it seems that no book that involves teen romance can go without this *extreme eye roll* there was no shortage of one of my favourite things ever that definitely isn’t super overused and repetitive…

Deep Conversations While Lying Under A Blanket Of Stars! *more eye rolling*

Oh yes, and I cannot forget how completely, unequivocally accurate John Green is with the teen talk. Lets just give a small sample here,

Last night I lay on the frozen ground, staring up at a clear sky only somewhat ruined by light pollution and the fog of my own breath- no telescope or anything. Just me and the wide open sky- and I kept thinking about how sky is a singular noun, as if its one thing. But the sky isn’t one thing. The sky is everything. And last night it was enough.”

John Green – expert on the language and thought processes of modern teens.

I mean, what teen hasn’t said exactly those words before? I know I have. If you haven’t then I guess you’re just not quirky enough.

I really, really, really disliked the grandiose philisophical writing. For example this is an extract of a texting conversation between two of the characters,

Me: You’re not your money

Him: Then what am I? What is anyone?

Me: I is the hardest word to define

Him: Maybe you are what you cannot be.

Wow… so deep and meaningful and exactly what teens these days text their friends about. I’m not saying that modern teens are incapable of having serious and mature conversations, in fact I think the opposite. I have to say one thing this book does do well is treating teens like the adults they almost are, especially in terms of showing their emotions seriously, not just blaming it on hormones or growing up. Regardless, I would still say its uncommon for teenagers to be contemplating the meaning of I. Maybe its just me I dunno

I’m not sure how much more writing about John Green I can do- actually that’s a lie, I could go on for years, but I’m worried if I start now I won’t ever be able to stop. Overall, it wasn’t a bad book, most of it for me consisted of harmless and repetitive fluff like many YA romances. As well as this, the portrayal of mental illness and anxiety were done very well , so I guess it succeeded in that sense. Many people said they cried while reading this due to seeing themselves and their experiences so much within it, but all my emotions towards the relatability of the main character Aza in particular were held back by it being so astonishingLY PRETENTIOUS.

So yeah, that was my review of Turtles all the way down by John Green 😛

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.


Evie ❤

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