The Phoenix

John Green returns with thoughtful story about self-discovery

Acclaimed author John Green returns with a bang, releasing his first book in five years and not disappointing fans.

Green’s last effort, The Fault in Our Stars, was widely-acclaimed for both its film and book, and the wait for his next novel was well worth it. Turtles All the Way Down follows Aza and her best friend Daisy as they decide to dive deeper into the mysterious disappearance of Russell Pickett.

With prize money at stake, the two begin to build a connection with David Pickett, Russell’s son and Aza’s former childhood friend. Aza is struggling to keep up at being both a good daughter and friend while also working to be a good detective for Daisy. But, what she mostly is struggling with is keeping up with herself.

While, ostensibly, the story revolves around the disappearance of a man, it’s really is about Aza, her mental health and ever spiraling thoughts. Aza spends most of her time stuck in her mind, finding herself sinking deeper into her own thoughts, to the point where she often can’t really recognize what’s happening around her. She struggles to feel as though she is her own person and feels she is stuck in a monotonous daily routine. Yet, even though Aza was lost in her own thoughts, I found her to be incredibly relatable from her struggles with friends, family, and relationships in general.

While most of John Green’s novels are sappy teen romances that makes readers swoon, wishing their lives could be different, this novel is more about self discovery. While there is romance involved (which is fun to read about), the main relationship of this novel is between Aza and herself which I find to be empowering.

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