I went into this novel with equal mixtures hope and trepidation. I loved Green’s previous novel The Fault in Our Stars, but didn’t really care for his past bibliography. I needn’t have worried, though. Turtles All the Way Down is a realistic, heartwarming look at a young woman named Aza Holmes who is battling mental illness, while also dealing with the usual teenage issues as well. Green depicts Aza’s OCD and anxiety in a way that connected with me, personally (but probably does not represent everyone’s experience with these mental illnesses). He doesn’t romanticize these disorders, and does delve into some of the darker aspects (such as self-harm and the way that mental illness affects the people surrounding the warrior battling these disorders) that accompany them.
I also really loved how beautifully Green wrote this novel, and I personally adored that he included a character who is obsessed with Star Wars and writes fan-fiction. The only thing that soured the novel for me was the mystery that was introduced. It was intriguing when it was first mentioned, but then it felt like it was thrown away shortly after. It felt unnecessary, and dragged the narrative down for me. Other than that niggle, Turtles All the Way Down is a gorgeous, sometimes tough-to-read emotionally, yet always realistic look into mental illness that also made me fall in love with the characters. A winning literary return from John Green.