I admit to not being the biggest fan of John Green’s books in the past so I was a bit sceptical getting into this one. Needn’t I worry: I LOVED IT and all it’s quirky-ness and realness and John Green-ness.

 I finished this book in a day and that is not an easy feat when you have 7 hours of school. It means I did mostly read it during ALL of my classes: IT WAS THAT GOOD. I just couldn’t put it down even if I wanted to at times. (shout out to my Literature teacher for noticing that I was reading it during her class and being so nice about it…my physics teacher didn’t appreciate it as much)



My blurb: There is a distinctive lack of turtles that turtle fans are going to be disappointed by but no worries there is amazingly real and raw #ownvoices representation of OCD as told by pretentious teens with wonderful metaphors.



Yes she struggles with OCD and anxiety and that makes her very quiet and she’s inside her head a lot BUT that’s realistic. And realistic is IMPORTANT. Her thoughts spirals are so vivid and it feels like reading anxiety -it can be suffocating and too much at times.

Aza zooms IN infinitely. Stressing over bacteria and molecules and that is where her biggest anxiety is. And it is SCARY and never sugar coated because of course: it’s a John Green book -he never sugar coats anything. The own voices perspective was vital to this book. Of course another author could’ve done a very good and respectful job at representing OCD but the way the author describes it you can feel how personal it is and it’s SO GOOD.

All the respect to John for writing this character and sharing this with the world because that’s insanely hard and scary. I personally do not struggle with OCD or anxiety and I always love learning about it. Mental health is important and thank you for writing Aza.

Tea And Biscuits Teatime GIF by sheepfilms
try not to let this gif distract you forever now


Davis was also precious.

He was a precious sad child that felt alone and just needed a hug and a parent to wrap him in a blanket. He has a blog and likes poetry and is a teenage boy that has acne and asks permission before he kisses Aza and if she’s comfortable and HE CRIES and aghhh. I just have a lot of feelings about Davis.

Unlike Aza, he zooms OUT infinitely: looking at stars hundred light years away.

1. I CAN RELATE TO THAT SO HARD. I am an existential bean myself that ponders the worth of life so I have to cuddle with my dog on the floor sometimes and that’s ok and 2. It completed Aza’s personality in a great way.

Also he was such a good big brother ok. Give the boys some cookies and love.




I know a lot of people complain about how “pretentious” the characters in John’s books are but I really don’t mind it. I feel like John TRUSTS his readers to be smart and respects us enough not to dumb things down because they are “teens”.

Teens are and can be pretentious!

I AM 15 and I talk about the meaning of life and feminism and mental health struggles with my friends AND I also talk about stupid stuff like boys and makeup. The thing that annoys me most is when adults underestimate me and make me feel inferior. We understand more then you think give us a chance once in a while we’re great sometimes.


“Spirals grow infinitely small the farther you follow them inward, but they also grow infinitely larger the further you follow them out.”


-The lack of romance (or at least physical romance) made a huge difference to me!

Much more then I would’ve expected actually. It made me breathe easier whenever the two of them had space between them and just talked about stars and tuatara and space movies and fanfiction and grief and life in general. Aza at one point says how it’s so much easier to be open trough messages and skype I GET THAT thank you for not making out every second.


 -I love how quirky this whole book was.

Seriously…tuatara? And a missing dead billionaire? And poetry blogs and Star Wars fanfiction? I LOVED IT SO MUCH? How does one even make such a small quirky conglomeration of multiple awesome things work?


– The plot

It’s not really there. It took a bit of a backseat to the characters and I was more then ok with that (but maybe some of you maybe will not be). I also thought it moved a bit fast? That maybe because I’ve speed trough it in day like a furiously hungry dragon that’s never seen another book in it’s life so it may be my fault #noregrets. But by page 20 we’ve met Davis and we love him and we are ahead in the mystery.


– Daisy


I know girl friendships where they argue about Star Wars and school instead of boys (you know things THAT ACTUALLY MATTER…sorry boys you matter too but between you and dessert….let’s just say that I’m already eating that hypothetical dessert ok) are very important but I really wasn’t 100% fine with what Daisy did.

Yes I am aware that there can be a discussion about how taking care of people with mental health CAN be draining and affect you too but what she did was petty and she continued to do it FOR. SO. LONG. People who are struggling almost never choose to be like this or to hurt you and you should NEVER go around making people that already feel bad about themselves feel EVEN WORSE. It’s horrible and toxic.


-The book could’ve been a bit more polished before being published

I do think that a few things could’ve been molded and refined more. Bits were the plot “spirals” that weren’t really relevant to anything (Aza’s and Davis relationship at Sad Camp, the tuatara etc.) I know I’m a bit hypocritical here but I do think TFIOS was more connected and better structured plot wise. Like a solid-er chunk. Ok I now know I’m not even making any sense anymore if I ever did so let’s leave it at that.


“Spirals grow infinitely small the farther you follow them inward, but they also grow infinitely larger the further you follow them out.”


Overall: I surprisingly really enjoyed this! I bought into the hype for once (literally…I OWN THE FLIPPIN’ HARDCOVER!!! And it was rather cheap in a bookstore!! John’s so popular his books are all over the place!) and I’m glad I did because NOW I CAN FINALY SAY I LIKE A JOHN GREEN BOOK!!




35504431Sixteen-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.



What did YOU think of this book? Are you a fan of John Green? What’s YOUR favourite book by him? Do you cry when you read books? Any #ownvoices recommendations?



19 thoughts on “Turtles All the Way Down by John Green // Mental Health, Billionaires and a Lack of Turtles

  1. Turtles All the Way Down was already on my TBR. Now, thanks to your amazing review, I can’t wait for my friend to finish reading it (so that I can borrow it).

    Am I fan of John Green? Umm, if his CrashCourse videos count. I haven’t read any of his books. Yet.

    On a side note, that GIF! 😱It accurately represents my over-worrying brain. However did you find it?

    P.S. Your Lit teacher seems like a pretty cool person 🙃

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeek *hides behind book stacks* I hope you end up liking it and that I didn’t overhype this for youu (overhyping is like my biggest fear).
      Pft I love his videos a lot more then the majority of his books so I was torn but hey here I am actually enjoying one of them so I guess opinions vary.
      (For Gifs I use Gify, Google and dig for them in the depths of the Internet.)
      My lit teacher is a cool person I think she’s secretly a bookworm fangirl but she hides it to seem professional.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love John Green, loved this book, his book pretty much always make me cry. My favorite book by him is Looking For Alaska. Which I hear a lot of hate about, but I don’t care, I love it! Shout out to your lit teacher for being understanding 😂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My lit teacher can relate to all of us bookworms I aspire to be like her when I grow up 😂. Well now I can say that I loke John Green too finally! I haven’t tried my luck with Alaska and I don’t think I will so let’s just enjoy this moment in which I liked an emotional contemporary shall we. I’M GLAD YOU LIKE THE BOOKS THOUGHT ❤ I wish I did because I feel like I’m missing outtt.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes I am telling you that fellow “not so great fan of John Green”. (We definitely need T-shirts with “Not so great fan of John Green Squad” on them 😂).
      It depends on WHAT you weren’t a fan of: if you disliked his really pretentious teen stuff then you’ll probably still not like it
      but if you didn’t like the “not like other girls manic pixie dream” trope then you might enjoy this one since it doesn’t have that. Up to you.
      And thank you ❤!


  3. I am so, SO GLAD you enjoyed this book! Also, high five to the teacher that let you read the book in class, that’s quite cool haha.
    I agree that his characters seem pretentious, maybe they do, but I also agree with you that, well…teens can be pretentious and talk about whatever John Green is making them talk in his books. I’m glad you feel that way as well 😀 It was a great own voices book, definitely intense at times. I was just sad ,I wanted more turtles in it hahah 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes my lit teacher is amazing!! She’s also very passionate about books and stuff so her class is so fun.
      I am of the strong opinion that any book can benefit from more (if any) turtles (they are so cute and adorable and slow).
      I LIKE all the pretentiousness!! It really seems like he respects his readers a whole lot and respects teens WHICH I APPRECIATE! I hate when people just dumb down things down. I mean…yes please dumb astrophysicists down but don’t dumb existentialism and feelings and thoughts down too.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Love this review Ioana!!! So agree, John Green makes his characters pretentious for a reason- heck I’m VERY pretentious- I talk about parallel universes and time being a concept and a lot of intellectual stuff like that- and just as you said, it’s really annoying when adults completely underestimate me, because sometimes I might actually know more than them! I think that’s what I love the most about John green books- he doesn’t underestimate us. Love love love your review!!!❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yess I totally get what you mean!!

      Also omg we have to talk about parallel universes – did you hear that theory that our world is a simulation and it’s pretty much prover by math?? that’s my fave one!! And time isn’t real it’s just a thing made up by humans also it’s pretty flawed.

      Ugh I hateee it when adults talk to me like I’m a child that is only interested in boys and makeup (because I mostly don’t like either…ok maybe makeup) and I can’t understand adult talk. Look I can have a very deep philosophical discussion AND also like eyeshadow. When they get too annoying I usually spring the philosophical-est topic I can think of on them. That usually shuts them up. DON’T UNDERESTIMATE ME I’ll stab you with a spork.


  5. I love John Green as a person.This book is on my TBR but I am not in a rush to read it because his books are a hit/miss for me.I love his characters though.They seem so real.And yes, I do cry when reading.Sometimes some moments just hit you and yeah, then feelings emerge.Your teacher sounds cool though.Great review 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you ❤!
      Yeah I feel the same about his books (but they are more on the miss side of things). I am torn because I love his videos and yet his books have never really been my thing.
      I am envious of your feelings because I never seem to be able to shed a single tear while reading.


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