The Gaucho Gazette

Reviews: Turtles All The Way Down

Tessa Hughes, Editor-in-chief

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3/5 stars

   The man who captured the hearts of teens and young adults five years ago with the gut-wrenching story “The Fault in Our Stars” is back at it again with his latest installment: “Turtles All the Way Down.” John Green, who is known for his stories about teens plagued with various difficulties, didn’t stray far from this winning formula as his lead character, Aza, suffers from anxiety. Accompanied by a humorous best friend (Daisy) and an equally screwed up love interest (Davis), “TATWD” follows Green’s favored recipe. Compared to his past work, his newest novel is better than “An Abundance of Katherines” and “Paper Towns” but doesn’t nearly hold a candle to “Looking for Alaska” and “TFIOS.” Despite its seemingly mediocre qualities, Green overall stuns yet again because of his superb writing and character development.

   What if Green’s best quality is also his ultimate downfall? He has the tendency to create exciting characters that lead vibrant lives, however, these character still are teenagers. What teenager lives in a tiny house across the river from a multibillionaire? How many teenagers are actually the spawn of a multibillionaire? Who leaves their entire (billionaire) estate to a nearly extinct species and virtually nothing to their children by comparison? Well, Aza lives in a tiny house across the river from a multibillionaire; Davis is one of the few children in the world that is the kin of a billionaire; Davis’ father is the man who leaves his fortune to his pet tuatara as opposed to his two sons. Nothing about this reads realistically. Possible? Maybe, but incredibly unlikely. Young adult novels are renowned for their relatability, for being there when people feel like they are alone or isolated in their feelings, and, while millions of people suffer from anxiety or the loss of a loved one, the character’s situations in the novel are not typical, thus significantly less personable.

   However, if Green’s extreme, often unbelievable character qualities can be overlooked, the novel was quite phenomenal. The parts of the abstract characters that were normal, were extremely relatable: the feelings, actions and obstacles that accompanied Aza’s anxiety were very real. The burden and responsibilities of being the first child that Davis dealt with would resonate with any older sibling. The powerless struggle that is befriending someone with anxiety is illuminated rawly and beautifully. When Green does something well he does it really, really well. His writing is excellent and carries a strong, sophisticated yet colloquial voice while providing a unique stylistic flair. “TATWD” is a book that I recommend, for it may not be pizza, but it is definitely not mustard.

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Reviews: Turtles All The Way Down