“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.” – John Green Website 2017
As with most John Green books I don’t even know where to begin to sing my praise. I quote Green’s website on the summary because the story has too much going on for me to try and summarize it without going through the entire book; so I’ll leave the summary to Green and his team.
This book was particularly challenging for me because I have this friend, she’s one of my absolute best friends in the whole stupid world, and I felt like I must be reading her life as I read this book. I read each panic attack, each OCD spiral, each depressing thought and my heart just broke, for Aza, for my friend, for Green, for everyone who has to battle their own head. every. day. I felt Aza and Daisy were two of the most relatable characters and I was so happy/sad to be able to have these characters in a book published by a major author. It was normalizing, it was comforting, it was gut wrenching. The raw emotion and the beautiful openness that Green writes with is always poignant and this one really hit the mark with the pure beauty and terror that is the world and humanity.
I liked the plot, however unlikely a scenario. I loved the way Aza interacted with her world, it felt familiar and comforting. I loved the exuberance of Daisy, the determination, the stamina, the pure passion, and hope. I loved the realism of Davis, the fear and the honesty.
The entire basis of the title is one of the most perhaps obvious but also inspiring aspects of the whole book. Turtles all the way down, as explained in the book is the theory that the world is being held up on a Turtles back, and what is that turtle standing on? another turtle, so what is that turtle standing on? … another turtle, you see it’s Turtles All The Way Down. – I love this philosophy. I love the idea of an endless spiral of unanswerable questions. The vastness of not knowing. The true expanse of the unknowable. It’s one of my favorite philosophies and I could talk about it all day to be honest. To connect it to Aza was beautiful and perfect. I love the tightening gyre imagery; as Green wrote about the feeling of shrinking and tightening in on oneself I could feel the anxiety and the tension building. I was living Aza’s panic attacks with her and it hurt and it was so well written and I just wanted to hug Aza and Green and the whole damn world. But I love the hope of the spiral winding up, opening, widening, loosening. I loved the poetry and beauty in this, and that it all connected to Turtles. It was absolutely lovely and heartbreaking.
I still haven’t been shook in my assertion that “Paper Towns” is my favorite John Green book but this book was wonderful and Green is amazing. I highly recommend this book to anyone who feels helpless, hopeless, or trapped in their own bodies. I recommend it to anyone looking for adventure, and that elusive more. I recommend it to anyone with emotions. It’s just a really good book.
The real question though is can Chewbacca love? Let’s discuss.
Happy (?) Reading!