I Wanted to Give Turtles All The Way Down by John Green a Hug

I remember borrowing the translated version of Looking for Alaska by John Green from my high school's library many years ago. I also remember contemplating that his book was probably a miss for me since I did not seem to enjoy the story. With that thought in mind, I had been steering clear from John Green's other works right until last week.

I did not know what came over me that day in another library, but upon looking at the glorious hardcover edition of Turtles All The Way Down by the aforementioned author, something in me was tempted. Following the story of sixteen-year-old Aza Holmes, this book explores the struggle of an anxiety and OCD sufferer. In battling her thought that seems to never shut up, Aza becomes rather quiet, which makes her a good listener to her talkative best friend Daisy.

When a billionaire neighbor is becoming a fugitive and there is a big cash reward for anyone who can spot his whereabouts, Daisy is quick to seize the opportunity. Given that the son of said neighbor, Davis, is Aza's old friend from camp, Daisy encourages Aza to approach him and go get some clues. From the unexpected reunion to the never-ending spiraling thoughts, Aza's life soon becomes more... nuanced.

I finished this book in less than two days, meaning that this book had impressed me in a way that I blamed myself for not picking it up much earlier. Turtles All The Way Down had this good mental illness rep that going through what the main character had to endure, especially in the first-person point-of-view, was kind of a challenge in itself, no matter how easy to follow the story might be. 

I really, really liked Aza. She was the first main character I desperately wanted to give a big hug. I wanted to tell her that everything was going to be okay, that her thoughts would not harm her, and that she was not alone in this. I liked Daisy and Davis too. Both had their share of burden, but both stole my heart with their rare sincerity.

I would love to read more about Aza and Davis' growth if there is one as I thought of Davis as a character quite complex. Please skip this part if you haven't read the book yet, but I was grateful for the fact that Aza's issue didn't just magically go away once she knew Davis. Both anxiety and OCD would not disappear just by meeting the right person (or perhaps it could if that person is a therapist), but my point is that I was glad that the book gave room for Aza to learn about herself and slowly heal. The ending left so much to imagine, but I felt like it was somehow a fitting end to the story.

Overall, I would say that this book was a hit for me. I would encourage more people to give this important piece of work a try even if one might think that John Green is not their go-to author.

Actual rating: 4.5