John Green has done it again. After six years of silence (two movies and more in the making), Green returned with story of Aza Holmes. And I have literally just finished reading the book. So my judgment might be a little foggy at the moment.
I didn’t finish writing this piece last night because I was feeling overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by the story, the characters, the emotions it stirred up inside of me and given how involved I get with the books I read, for a minute I became Aza. I could understand the inner workings of the sixteen year old who feels trapped inside of her head. It was perhaps one of the more relatable things I have read in recent times.
I know the book cover is not much to write home about but if you read the book, the cover starts making sense towards the end. (I will talk about that towards the end of this piece. I’m trying to keep the first half as spoiler free as possible.)
When we meet Aza it is at a time when her best and most trusted friend, Daisy Ramirez insists they try to find the fugitive billionaire Russell Davis Pickett because a reward of $100,000 has been announced for anyone who gives them a lead. Aza used to be friends with his son Davis when they were little and Daisy thinks it’s time to put that acquaintanceship to good use.
John Green has fleshed out the major characters in the story – Aza, Davis, Daisy, Aza’s mother – really well. His writing is something that pulls you and doesn’t let go off you until he’s done telling his side of the story. However, it was difficult for me to finish the book as quickly as I usually devour his books because some of Aza’s inner monologue was rather difficult to get through.
Overall, if you have loved John Green, go ahead and read this one. He truly has surpassed himself in Turtles All The Way Down and I am waiting for his next read.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!
The book cover borrows from the fact that Aza is constantly caught in the spiral of her thoughts. If you’re familiar with the story of turtles from your childhood, then you would know where the book borrowed it title from. And no, it’s not Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Although I am sure that thought had crossed all our minds. I should also add here that the tuatara plays a rather important role in pushing the story forward. Even if it isn’t how we had guessed the tuatara would become important, you know?
What made the book both ten times better and a hundred times sadder was the fact John Green drew from his own experiences while writing about Aza. I can only imagine what it must have felt like for him, growing up feeling he’s trapped inside his head with nowhere to run. I am glad he got better and I am glad that he uses his voice to help the countless others who still feel pretty trapped inside of their heads even now.