On My Bookshelf: Turtles All The Way Down by John Green

March 05, 2018

Turtles All The Way Down by John Green is just the right combination of seriousness and fun with a little mystery thrown in to the mix. It deals with friendship, the loss of a parent, teenage relationships, and mental health issues. I particularly appreciated Green's treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder and Daisy's mostly autobiographical Star Wars fan fiction writing. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.
The basic plot from Amazon: Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.
Turtles All The Way Down by John Green is just the right combination of seriousness and fun with a little mystery thrown in to the mix. It deals with friendship, the loss of a parent, teenage relationships, and mental health issues. I particularly appreciated Green's treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder and Daisy's mostly autobiographical Star Wars fan fiction writing. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.

Why I liked it: Turtles All The Way Down just might be my favorite John Green novel so far, just surpassing my love for Looking for Alaska. I definitely liked it better than An Abundance of Katherines and Paper Towns (I think it is safe to say I'm not a big fan of guys who waste their time chasing after girls), and it didn't have the same over the top feel goodness of The Fault in Our Stars.

The novel is just the right combination of seriousness and fun with a little mystery thrown in to the mix (which made me realize John Green is fond of the missing person plot line). It deals with friendship, the loss of a parent, teenage relationships, and mental health issues. I particularly appreciated Green's treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder and Daisy's mostly autobiographical Star Wars fan fiction writing.

Classroom application: Turtles All the Way Down is a great addition to a high school classroom library. While there isn't much in the way of mature content (some romantic kissing scenes), because of some of the darker content: death and mental health issues, I wouldn't recommend it for middle school. The novel could be used in literature circles themed around mental health issues with other novels like Every Last Word and Wintergirls.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Turtles All The Way Down for yourself, you can find it on Amazon here.

Note: The Literary Maven is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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