I think every post can start now with an 'oops, sorry I've been gone for so long' excuse, but it is getting old.
I can say that I'm finally settled in America and that I'm enjoying one of the massive perks of living here; getting new books on their (usually early) American release date. One example is John Green's Turtles All the Way Down, a book I've been anticipating since its announcement and I finished in one-go yesterday.
John Green needs no introduction. He is the God of YA writing, our beacon of bright light in troubled times and the one author that we KNOW will break our hearts, yet we all rush to the bookstore to buy his books.
Turtles All the Way Down is the story of Aza, a sixteen-year old who just can't escape the thoughts in her head. As always with Green, there is an amazing cast of friends in this novel: Daisy, the best friend who is the complete opposite of Aza and Davis, a millionaire kid whose father mysteriously disappears (aka flees prosecution) at the start of the novel. And as always with Green's novels, the parents play a significant role. While a lot of YA authors shy away from parental interference, Aza's mother is an amazing character who plays a key role in this novel.
The most admirable thing about Turtles All the Way Down is that John Green doesn't avoid spending long chunks of text in Aza's head. This is always a risky move, making the story move slow and not giving the reader much context about the environment we are in. But it works in this novel. Aza's head is a fascinating, but dark place and I had to put my book down to take a little break at times. Her thoughts are so all-consuming and somehow Green manages to express that perfectly through his writing. Her all-consuming thoughts became my all-consuming thoughts and I became Aza. I knew how she'd respond. I knew and it made me feel for her so much more.
Turtles All the Way Down touches upon a lot of YA tropes, and then gives them the realistic twist I've been waiting for. Not every hot guy is the one. Not every relationship or friendship can fix you. You don't always need to be fixed. John Green explores all of this in a way that's both hopeful and dark at times.
This is not an easy read, but an important one. I couldn't put this book down, because I felt like I was becoming Aza. I'm not in a position to determine who this novel is triggering for, but I can imagine it can be triggering for quite some people. While I love this novel and highly recommend it, I also recommend everyone who recognises themselves in Aza to do research whether this novel is right for you.
The long-awaited John Green novel isn't for everyone, but it is amazing and I can't wait to see all the dialogue it will open up about anxiety, grieve and friendships.