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Turtles All the Way Down Hardcover – October 10, 2017
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- Featured on Fresh Air, Studio 360, Good Morning Amercia, The TODAY Show
“This novel is by far [Green’s] most difficult to read. It’s also his most astonishing. . . . So surprising and moving and true that I became completely unstrung. . . . One needn’t be suffering like Aza to identify with it. One need only be human.”—The New York Times
“A tender story about learning to cope when the world feels out of control.” – People
“Green finds the language to describe the indescribable. . . . A must-read for those struggling with mental illness, or for their friends and family.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“A powerful tale for teens (and adults) about anxiety, love and friendship.” —The Los Angeles Times
“Turtles delivers a lesson that we so desperately need right now: Yes, it is okay not to be okay…. John Green has crafted a dynamic novel that is deeply honest, sometimes painful, and always thoughtful.” – Mashable
“Green does more than write about; he endeavours to write inside…. No matter where you are on the spiral—and we’re all somewhere—Green’s novel makes the trip, either up or down, a less solitary experience.” – The Globe and Mail
“A thoughtful look at mental illness and a debilitating obsessive-compulsive disorder that doesn’t ask but makes you feel the constant struggles of its main character. . . . Turtles explores the definition of happy endings, whether love is a tragedy or a failure, and a universal lesson for us all: ‘You work with what you have.’” – USA Today
“A wrenching and revelatory novel.” – The New York Times
“Tender, wise, and hopeful.” – The Wall Street Journal
“A new modern classic.” – The Guardian
“Green’s most authentic and most ambitious work to date.” – Bustle
“An existential teenage scream.” – Vox
“Funny, clever, and populated with endearing characters.” – Entertainment Weekly
“An incredibly powerful tale of the pain of mental illness, the pressures of youth, and coming of age when you feel like you’re coming undone.” – Shelf Awareness
★ “A richly rewarding read…the most mature of Green’s work to date and deserving of all the accolades that are sure to come its way.” – Booklist
★ “In an age where troubling events happen almost weekly, this deeply empathetic novel about learning to live with demons and love one’s imperfect self is timely and important.” – Publishers Weekly
★ “A deeply resonant and powerful novel that will inform and enlighten readers even as it breaks their hearts. A must-buy.” – School Library Journal
Praise for John Green
- 50 million books in print worldwide -
#1 New York Times Bestseller
#1 Wall Street Journal Bestseller
#1 USA Today Bestseller
#1 International Bestseller
★ Michael L. Printz Award Winner
★ Michael L. Printz Honor Winner
★ Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist
★ TIME 100 Most Influential People
★ Forbes Celebrity 100
★ NPR's 100 Best-Ever Teen Novels
★ TIME Magazine's 100 Best Young Adult Books of All Time
Critical acclaim for The Fault in Our Stars:
“Damn near genius . . . The Fault in Our Stars is a love story, one of the most genuine and moving ones in recent American fiction, but it’s also an existential tragedy of tremendous intelligence and courage and sadness.” —Lev Grossman, TIME Magazine
“This is a book that breaks your heart—not by wearing it down, but by making it bigger until it bursts.” —The Atlantic
“Remarkable . . . A pitch-perfect, elegiac comedy.” —USA Today
“[Green’s] voice is so compulsively readable that it defies categorization. You will be thankful for the little infinity you spend inside this book.” —NPR.org
“John Green deftly mixes the profound and the quotidian in this tough, touching valentine to the human spirit.” —The Washington Post
“[Green] shows us true love—two teenagers helping and accepting each other through the most humiliating physical and emotional ordeals—and it is far more romantic than any sunset on the beach.” —New York Times Book Review
About the Author
John Green is the award-winning, #1 bestselling author of Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, Paper Towns, Will Grayson, Will Grayson (with David Levithan), and The Fault in Our Stars. His many accolades include the Printz Medal, a Printz Honor, and the Edgar Award. John has twice been a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize and was selected by TIME magazine as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World. With his brother, Hank, John is one half of the Vlogbrothers and co-created the online educational series CrashCourse. You can join the millions who follow him on Twitter @johngreen and Instagram @johngreenwritesbooks or visit him online at johngreenbooks.com. John lives with his family in Indianapolis, Indiana.
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In his latest cynical grab for the hearts and wallets of American teens, Green delves into what is his most personal subject yet: OCD and anxiety. Not withstanding Green's bumbling obsession with making as many spiral metaphors as possible, however, precious little elevates Aza Holmes' narration beyond the annoyingly neurotic. In fact, aside from those who find shades of themselves in all things topical, those same self-declared intellectuals who endlessly wax poetic about BoJack Horseman's existential depression, readers are going to be hard-pressed to find anything connectable in this rambling and repetitive tome.
Green's stylistic quirks--really, his failings as a writer, but I don't want to further incense his mighty nerdfighters, for they are cultic legion--are on full display once again: precocious teenagers, tin-ear dialogue, woefully reductionist Americana, the barest skeleton of a plot that is really just an excuse for his characters to interact, symbols clearly earmarked as such with ten-foot tall neon signs, and superficial philosophizing that his target audience will undoubtedly find profound but will cause anyone who has gotten away from the high school mindset to roll their eyes.
While I don't begrudge anyone's efforts to get children to read, I do take serious issue with writers who deliberately talk down to children while simultaneously chastising other writers for doing the same.
My one consolation with this "novel" is the length of time between its release and the release of The Fault In Our Stars--five years is a long time for children, long enough for them to grow up and move on from their childish likes. One can only hope that Green's audience has dissipated sufficiently to make him less of a YA lit rock god. Plus, there's the fact that the subject matter does not have quite the hook that cancer kids has, so what's left of his audience may very well skip this one in favor of something more immediately interesting.
Turtles All The Way Down is a pass.
Somehow, Green managed to write a 304-page novel about an anxiety disorder, and NEVER ONCE make the connection that Aza’s father’s sudden death might have been connected to her anxiety issues.
Also disturbing was the fact that the therapist in the novel NEVER ONCE asks Aza about her dad, his death, or even eludes to the fact that anxiety usually has an underlying issue that needs to be addressed, and instead pushes medications as-not the cure-but the way to maintain a semblance of normality.
I struggled through the tortured plot (lots of Star Wars trivia, turatura lizard facts, OCD action, and a missing billionaire father) which is heavy with hooks and quotes and the need to be intellectual, hoping that the climax would result in a much-needed “A-HA!” moment for everyone (as I felt sorry for the characters). But no, even in the wake of the car crash (with Aza sobbing over the final loss of connection with her dad-his car and cell phone), instead of allowing the underlying truth to come forward and healing to begin (i.e. to talk about this loss and how it makes her feel the need to eat hand sanitizer), the therapist visits to once again push the agenda that only by taking medication regularly will Ava ever be able to have a life.
Green also manages to allow Aza to be obsessed with the amount of bacteria that we are made of (which she googles constantly), her worries about C. Diff. (which results in her need to use hand sanitizer constantly), but NEVER ONCE has Aza google any information to discover the critical information that hand sanitizer actually worsens the problem by killing off beneficial bacteria (same issue in our guts with antibiotics, BTW).
Note: JG’s videos now come with an initial commercial for Premera Health Insurance; I wonder if he is being sponsored by Merck, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson as well?
In a way, a fascinating look into the mind of a teen with anxiety issues who is not getting the treatment she needs. Green’s message came through loud-and-clear: there is no hope for you unless you swallow this bitter pill: you will need to be medicated for the rest of your sorry life. No happy endings here.