turtles all the way down by john green book review


Ratings: ★★★★ (4/5)**

Title: Turtles All the Way Down

Author: John Green

Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Reader, dated October 10, 2017

Pages: 286 counts

Synopsis: Goodreads

How could I not love thee, John Green? If you just have my curiosity just by staring the cover and reading the title? If you just blatantly speak scientific terms (especially about microbes or C.diff) obsessively, yet sparkled the devouring night-owl reader within me? If you just have a tightening spiral of thoughts inside your head and penned it as a masterpiece? If you just created another book that proved why you are dubbed as the King of YA novels? Oh no! Now, my crush-oh-meter just leveled-up and I think it’s time to confess why I’m obsessing the you reflected in this book.

Aza, our heroine, and her best friend, Daisy had been in a mission to unravel the mystery of the disappearance of Indianapolis’ billionaire, Russell Davis Pickett. The subjected man happened to be the father of Aza’s childhood friend a.k.a Aza’s one-sided crush in the past, Davis, who she has lost connection through time. Thus, a commencement of their reunion will now be in progress since her most eager best friend will stake every connection she has with him for that $100,000 reward.

But, wait. That synopsis is quite deceiving, irrelevant and a big metaphor for John Green’s real metaphor about this book that had noteworthy of metaphors. Did I just made a spiral of ‘metaphor’ right there?  I think you need a little warm-up since we will be going through Aza’s obsessive compulsive disorder, her struggles being diagnosed with such an illness, and the cause and effect it had in the aspects of her life.


John Green’s resounding voice about OCD has been efficaciously delivered by the character of Aza. She has a brain that seems to be very intense (as how her mom described it) and anxious, best represented as the spiral at the cover of this book.

The thing about a spiral is, if you follow it inward, it never actually ends. It just keeps tightening, infinitely.

She has enormous and obsessive thoughts about microbiome/C.diff that occupied her thoughts most of the time. Thus, interrupted most of her activities and reproduce anxieties in every day of her life. She is an introvert and silence wasn’t an issue for her. She questioned her identity to the point where she felt fictional or nonexistent despite of being physically present due to this paragon of circumstances which she had no control over.

I was thinking about how part of your self can be in a place while at the same time the most important parts are in a different place, a place that can’t be accessed via your senses.

I love the way she is perfectly flawed by her illness. Together with her, I had suffered, felt her pain and had been disturbed by her obsession about microbiomes and anything related. Her questions about her identity was where I sought and find genuine connection in reality. The adamant fierceness and her willingness to win over her OCD, the realization of her vulnerability when she was overpowered by it yet the acceptance that her illness is a part of her is portrayed by Aza’s character with depth. It embodied that sometimes in our life we are helpless of the things that consumed us yet the strongest time we become conquerors of our own demons.

I is the hardest word to define.

I wanted to tell her that I was getting better, because that was supposed to be the narrative of illness: It was a hurdle you jumped over, or a battle you won. Illness is a story told in the past tense.

I would always be like this, always have this within me. There was no beating it. I would never slay the dragon, because the dragon was also me. My self and the disease were knotted together for life.

Daisy, on the other hand is the source of my hysterics and boisterous cackles. An avid fan of Star Wars and a writer of its fan fiction, she had given birth to Ayala whose character is inspired and parallel by Aza’s personality which paved the reason why I’m instantly became a fan of hers too; I want to befriend her right that millisecond. I have this wish to have a writer friend, ye’know.

And I was, like, let’s go see him, I bet it’s true love. So we arranged for shipwreck, and then you remember she likes Dr Pepper, and IT IS TRUE LOVE. It’s just like The Tempest, and okay, I’m going to leave you now so you can live happily ever after.

I love the bond that this two had formed. They are too much opposite in personality. Daisy being communicative and Aza being reserved is one of the obvious dissimilarities. However, their chemistry is palpable and it depicted real friendship relationship which we all know isn’t all about flowers but flowers with thorns. Daisy’s fearless attitude to tell Aza about the things she hate most about her is commendable. The way she get Aza out of her comfort zone, even being assertive of Aza’s relationship toward Davis and the best among them all, her boldness to tell Aza that their friendship had been doomed due to her best friend’s antics and self-centered thoughts. Yet, she assured her how she loved and accepted her being her. John Green’s sidekick are the characters I get along with, I wish to be a real friend and I’m loving too much sometimes more than his protagonist. And Daisy just tick all my checklists.

You don’t think you’re privileged, but you have everything.. Being poor doesn’t purify you or whatever the fuck.

On the other hand, the billionaire’s son, Davis, was a complicated character you will love not because his aesthetics had been emphasized as attractive or the boy next door you expected the heroes should be but because of those expressive feelings he wasn’t afraid to let out in the open especially with Aza. Even though he had jaw-dropping and advance utilities inside his mansion and you wish to tour his home and score for a date with him just once (he might decline the date though), he represented a humble and conventional man who just wanted to felt genuine kinship not because of his reputation and entitlement as the rich man’s son.

I guess at some point, you realize that whoever takes care of you is just a person, and that they have no superpowers and can’t actually protect you from getting hurt.

Also, how can you not fall in love with a smartie (short for smart and sweetie) who chit chat about space, stars, constellations and other heavenly bodies during your meet-up hours? Count me in!

And he told me that our galaxy was a big spiral, and that a lot of galaxies were. “Every star we can see right now is in that spiral. It’s huge.”

John Green’s signature works, included quotes from books and notable authors then added his own metaphors and noteworthy words, Davis character has given life of this peculiar side through his blog entries and posts. I can’t stop but ponder and reread them, until the feelings penetrates, draws my thoughts within and sealed the wisdom it wanted me to keep. I can’t stop but reflected and  be affected by his writings.

I want the past back, no matter the cost. It doesn’t matter that it won’t come back, that it never even actually existed as I remember it—I want it back. I want things to be like they were, or like I remember them having been: Whole. But she doesn’t remind me of the past, for some reason. She feels present tense.

The relationship between Aza and Davis was conceived by mutual trust, comfort and familiarity they had with each other. Surprisingly, they are in love implicitly but in the process of discernment verbally, which is in a phase of their age that is realistic and awkwardly right. The intimacy they had through text messages and the difference of treatment in person has been done well and depicted the romance of millennial generation explicitly.

I thought about him asking me if I’d ever been in love. It’s a weird phrase in English, in love, like it’s a sea you drown in or a town you live in. You don’t get to be anything else-in friendship or in anger or in hope. All you can be in is love. And I wanted to tell him that even though I’d never been in love, I knew what it’s like to be in a feeling, to be not just surrounded by it but also permeated by it, the way my grandmother talked about God being everywhere.

As I aforementioned, I found that the case of Russell Davis Pickett wasn’t much of a significant for the plot. It’s just an instrument for Davis and Aza’s life to reconnect and collide once again. This is the reason behind my three star rate for the plot. Nonetheless, the way the author puts his genius between the pages, blended by science, english, and analysis of unsolved mysteries, had produced a book you can’t help but read, even anticipates latest work of this author’s hand with a palpitating bookworm’s heart. His book doesn’t need a complicated plot, world or romance. The premises and thoughts he had to share is enough to have a reader’s digestive interest. Through this book, I have come to treasure the memories of my youth. I reminisce the past and the kind of adult I metamorphosis to become at the present. This book has questioned my self-identification yet revealed and let me redeemed all my flaws, mistake, thread of thoughts, even the very definition I had come myself to believe. This book is a must-read for all the fans of JG and for those who never read any of his work. Okay? Okay. 

You are as real as anyone, and your doubts make you more real, not less.

“I doubt, therefore I think, therefore I am” -Rene Descartes



Plot: 3/5                     

Characters: 5/5         

Writing style: 4.5/5   

Average: 4/5


*If you want to read other reviews, visit these posts. They inspired me to read this book right away:



6 thoughts on “turtles all the way down by john green book review

  1. That was such a fantastic review ❤ and it makes me so happy that my review could convince you to read the book, thank you so much for the mention ❤ I really loved this book, the characters were great, especially the main character and the way her struggles and OCD was portrayed. It felt so… raw and real, it was a bit intense to read, at times, but I loved it ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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