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Latest John Green Book Does Not Disappoint

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The life of a teenager is complicated enough — but it’s extra tough for someone with a serious case of anxiety, which the main character of John Green’s latest novel, Turtles All The Way Down, is dealing with.  

Although different from his last book, the blockbuster A Fault in Our Stars, Green fans will not be disappointed by his latest novel. Turtles has an exciting mystery plot and tackles issues of finding one’s identity, and dealing with loss and chaos, which many teens can relate to.

The heorine is 16-year-old Aza Holmes, or “Holmesy” as her sidekick best friend, Daisy, calls her. Aza and Daisy are trying to solve the mysterious disappearance of a friend’s father. Aza’s life is complicated by a new romantic relationship and her continual struggle with the loss of her father and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder — the latter something Green himself struggled with in real life.

Aza’s OCD is so bad that she has to see a therapist, Dr. Singh, and take medication, which she does not always do. She often has irrational thoughts that germs are going to kill her. Perhaps because of his own struggle, Green does an amazing job showing the reader what is going on inside Aza’s head:

“I have these thoughts that Dr. Karen Singh calls ‘intrusives’, but the first time she said it, I heard ‘invasives’, which I like better, because, like invasive weeds, these thoughts seem to arrive at my biosphere from some faraway land, and then they spread out of control.”

With the help of her therapist, and her friends and family, Aza learns how to better manage her illness and the other complications in her life. The book also touches on how money affects people lives positively or negatively; Aza’s boyfriend is super rich, while her best friend is poor.

As with most of Green’s books, everything is not totally resolved in the end, but the characters learn to have a better acceptance of their lives.

As Aza says at one point about her illness, “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. Myself and the disease were knotted together for life.”

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