Turtles All the Way Down Review

*Mini-Post By The Bookworm*


Title: Turtles All The Way Down

Author: John Green

Pages: 304

Summary: Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts

Bookworm Rating: B –

Target Audience: Young Adult

Story Notes:

Turtles All The Way Down is about a girl named Aza who gets persuaded by her friend Daisy to investigate the fugitive disappearance of Russell Pickett. It turns out that she used to be friends with Russell’s son (named after his father but he goes by Davis). So she reconnects with him and finds that she might actually be interested in a relationship with him. However, Davis can’t quite believe that she isn’t just after the reward for his father’s disappearance. And Aza suffers from OCD and anxiety that often negatively influences her daily life.

There isn’t a lot more plot aside from this. The story just follows Aza through a small part of her life with a tiny bit of the fugitive story thrown in.

Writing Style:

This book was definitely written by John Green. He has a unique style and it does show. LIke most of his books the story focus on pretty realistic teens going through a unique experience. There is also plenty of his philosophical tone as he explores the deeper feelings and thoughts of his characters.


One of the things I enjoy about John Green’s books is how he explores these more philosophical elements. However, I feel like he might have gone a bit overboard here. The writing is beautiful and elegant but the characters in particular don’t talk like anyone I’ve ever met. I’m not saying teens can’t be this smart (they totally can) but it’s a bit stilted and they don’t flow naturally into the deeper topics. They’re just sitting by a pool and they they’re having a deep conversation about stomach bacteria??? At times it felt like the book was trying too hard and it was a bit distracting.

The mystery element also isn’t a big part of the story. As much as it’s supposed to affect the characters and sort of instigates these relationships it isn’t explored much. They just collect a few clues and then Aza just has a revelation about where Russell Pickett is at the end of the book. Ta-Da????

I feel like the story could have been done without it. Just have another reason why they meet again and maybe just have the dad be increasingly distant (so David’s experiences are still relevant). I don’t think it would change the book much.


John Green really did take the time to explore anxiety and intrusive thoughts and how it is always an influence in people’s daily lives. I also like how he acknowledges that love doesn’t just make it go away. And that it not only affects the individual but those around them as well. It was nice to see how the different relationships in the book were tested but still came out alright in the end (for the most part).

Final Thoughts:

I thought that this book was alright. I enjoyed parts of it but I wanted it to either focus on the mental-illness aspect or the mystery. Or perhaps make it longer to better explore both.

I enjoyed this book and I thought it did a good job of covering some deep and impactful topics. I can see how a lot of people enjoy and connect with this story but I personally connected more with Paper Towns.

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