Ever thought about the millions of bacteria breeding in
your mouth? Ever thought about sanitizing it? Well, Aza
Holmes seems to have found a way out- drinking hand
“You are as real as anyone, and your doubts make you
more real, not less.”
Turtles All The Way Down is John Greens latest
young-adult fiction novel that was published in October
2017. The story introduces us to the characters, Aza
Holmes, a 16 year old girl from Indianapolis, who suffers
from multiple anxiety disorders; Daisy Ramirez, Azas
free-spirited best friend who writes Star Wars fictions;
billionaire Russell Pickett who has gone missing under
the accusations of bribery; Davis Pickett, Russell
Picketts son, who also happens to be Azas close
acquaintance. The girls decide to find Russell and win
the $100,000 reward. Davis hates his father and doesnt
want him to be found. He ends up giving the reward
money to Aza, requesting her to halt the search.
A budding romance between the two is terminated as
Aza can’t kiss Davis without thinking about the 80 million
bacteria which might transfer between them. Her anxiety
worsens so much that she ends up drinking hand
sanitizer to sterilize her mouth. These thoughts make
her so self-obsessed that it even chokes her relationship
with Daisy.
Actually, the problem is that I cant lose my mind.
Its inescapable.
The story starts as a mystery, but the writers main focus
is actually Aza and her ever-growing spiral of thoughts.
Aza’s obsessive inner monologue is the meat of Turtles
All the Way Down. Her growing anxiety makes herbelieve that she is fictional. She opens up a scar on her
ring finger every day to wash off the germs, therefore
never letting it heal completely. She never stops thinking
about the bacteria living in her stomach, which might
cause her to die of C. Diff (a bacterial disease). These
repeated events constitute most of the storyline, which
some readers may find unnecessary. But again, thats
the beauty of it. John Green aptly shows us the
struggles of suffering from anxiety in its raw form.
The thing about a spiral is, if you follow it inward, it
never actually ends. It just keeps tightening,
The story is narrated primarily by Aza. The language is
simple and captures every emotion with absolute
perfection. As the lead, readers will expect Aza to have
a more prominent role rather than constantly talking
about C. Diff, but the climax does full justice to these
actions. Anxiety had groped John Greens childhood.
However as the saying goes, all things happen for good.
His experience gave birth to the wonderful memories-
turned-words, “Turtles all the way down”, a reflection of
his charismatic journey. If you are looking for something
other than the stereotypic-teen- mystery, then this book
is a must-read.

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