Skip to main content

Weekly Reviews and Recommendations: Week 31 Part 1

Hello, everyone! The time has come for me to post my review of Turtles All The Way Down! Also, I'm waking up at 6 AM tomorrow (Way too early for me!), but it's okay because I'm going to see John and Hank Green in person tomorrow night in Indianapolis! Does anyone else happen to be going to that show? Have you been or have tickets to a stop coming up? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter.
Below, you'll find links to all of my John Green book (and movie) review articles as well as a link to a You Tube video from John where he speaks about OCD. I thought the video was so wonderful and important and informative. It also makes a great before or after viewing for Turtles

Without the dust jacket

Turtles All The Way Down by John Green (286 pages) Purchase Here
Overview: Aza Holmes is a sixteen year old girl from Indianapolis, Indiana. She's a best friend and a student and a daughter and also someone who deals with intrusive thought spirals because she lives with OCD. Struggling with major questions about the world and identity is hard for any teen, but paired with OCD, they become all encompassing. Aza can't get past the idea that maybe she's really not the one in control of herself. She questions how she can live a life with a mind, supposedly the source of identity, which she cannot control. And she struggles with the idea of all the bacteria that live inside of her and maker her up, and how they could be dangerous and possibly deadly whether they come from her own body or invade through the constant open wound she keeps in her thumb, the callous from childhood she breaks open, and then cleans, compulsively. And seeing the world in this way, the only way she can, complicates her relationships with her best friend, Daisy, and a billionaire boy she used to know who she gets brought back to again, Davis. Overall: 5

Characters: 5 John Green didn't produce characters here with mixes of traits and tropes to execute a story, he wrote people. People who feel like real, living, breathing people, and that makes all the difference in books. In Turtles, he departs from his usual tendency to write loud, larger than life characters (though that is not to say I didn't adored/appreciate Alaska or Margo).
Instead, he focuses on Aza, the narrator, Daisy, her best friend, and Davis, the missing billionaire's son. Aza sees the world the only way she's ever known, through glimpses in breaks of the spirals. She's constantly fighting them and the compulsions they bring. They absorb energy and focus and her ability to live her life. This is something John has shared many times he has personal experience with, as have I. I don't believe I've ever felt closer to a character than I did to Aza.
Then there's Daisy who always means well, but she doesn't live in Aza's head or understand the difficulty Aza faces every day, and sometimes she gets fed up with her friend for sometimes not being the most present or inquisitive. And Davis who feels a connection with Aza in that they have both lost people. He takes a strong refuge in the idea of the past, and Aza is something from it, familiar and understanding. Where issues arise with him is when Aza can't get past the intrusive thoughts she has very time they kiss about all the mycobacteria they exchange, and he can't understand that he really isn't doing anything wrong. He's always asking Aza if she's "getting better", and he can't understand that it is a much more complex situation than it appears to an outsider.

Plot: 5 While this is very much a character piece where we dive into and understand Aza, John has created an interesting plot to tell the story. Daisy and Aza meet Davis because they're looking into the investigation of his father after the billionaire went missing the night before police raided his home. While the question of where his father is is present, the story's point isn't to be a mystery in that respect. The girls push forward and look for clues on the investigation as much as Aza investigates people as she looks to see what makes them the way they are.

Writing: 5 I've always been a major fan of Green's for his writing style for two reasons that both tie back to: he respects his readers. Green uses complex sentence structure and vocabulary. Some critique him, saying that this is unrealistic, but it has always made me feel valued and represented in books. Teens can be eloquent too. Also, Green doesn't ever shy away from major questions about the universe. Why we're here. Why we die. How we live. And how the world works. He shares these musings so poetically as well. I've always felt comforted hearing views on thoughts I often have expressed.
I also have to say that this is especially true to this book. Green writes about thought spirals and what that feels like, an experience I know too well. His descriptions of getting strangled by the unproductive thoughts and what comes from that made me want to scream "Yes!" like someone finally understands. While this spoke to my experience deeply, you don't have to suffer from anxiety to feel and understand this book. Green does a great job of putting the reader as deep in Aza's head as she is, which makes it as important for people to read and understand as to feel comforted.
I got a DFTBA!

Links of Interest:
John Green Vlogbrothers Video on OCDhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNEUz9v5RYo
Looking For Alaska: http://www.readingwritingandme.com/2017/07/reviews-and-recommendations-week-16.html
Paper Towns: http://www.readingwritingandme.com/2017/05/weekly-reviews-and-recommendations-week_21.html
An Abundance of Katherines: http://www.readingwritingandme.com/2017/06/weekly-reviews-and-recommendations-week_25.html
The Fault In Our Stars: http://www.readingwritingandme.com/2017/10/the-book-and-movie-fault-in-our-stars.html

If you liked this article, please share it with your friends and check out our other articles ranging from book reviews to poetry and short stories to editorials. To get updates about new posts and extras, please follow us on Instagram (@readingwritingandme), Twitter (@readwriteandme), and Facebook or sign up for email alerts by clicking the subscribe button at the top of the sight. Also, please leave comments or email us (readingwritingandme@gmail.com) with your thoughts or review requests. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Halsey's I Would Leave Me If I Could Poetry Review

  I Would Leave Me If I Could  by Halsey  I've started this review a couple times and scrapped all of them. I've written hundreds of reviews before, and this is the first time I have absolutely no clue how to review a book. It's not just because it's poetry. And it's not because I don't have thoughts on every single poem. I've read the book twice and scrubbed a million notes around her words and highlighted every poem on my second read through. I have so many favorites, and my heart feels like it's going to burst after finishing each poem. Halsey exceeded every expectation I had set to the high bar of her music. I almost feel like this book is too good for my review to remotely do it justice, so I don't even know where to begin.  This book is extremely vulnerable. Halsey has never held back on telling the ugly truth in her lyrics, but the poetry takes it so much farther. She has space to tell the entire story, fewer constraints than what will fit in

Swimming Lessons By Lili Reinhart Poetry Review

  Swimming Lessons  by Lili Reinhart  Overall: 5 This is the first poetry book I've ever read in its entirety outside of Shel Silverstein, so I've checked off one of my reading goals for the year with this one. I've now read a graphic novel and a book of poetry. I've been anticipating Swimming Lessons  so long that I can't believe it's actually in my hands. I've been a fan of Lili since Riverdale, and I've continued to be a fan of hers even when the show got a bit too ridiculous for me to keep watching every week. I've been excited for the chance to get to see something completely created a controlled by Lili.  I'm not sure what I expected from Swimming Lessons . I think I had almost no idea what it would be like or the topics it would cover. After the first couple poems, I was completely hooked. In the intro, Lili prefaces the collection by noting that poetry has always given her solace in knowing other people felt the same specific emotions tha

My Most Anticipated of 2021/2021 ARC TBR

  A few days ago, I put out a list of my favorite books of the year that I couldn't stop talking about all year long. Now I'm here to introduce you to a brand new slate of books that I'm predicting will make my favorites list next year. These are the books I can't wait to get my hands on because they sound absolutely amazing! I've decided to separate the list into an ARC TBR so far for 2021 of ARCs I have and then to make a wishlist section below that with ARCs I hope to get or books that I'll splurge to buy. I'll include preorder links to the books that are already up for preorder so that you can easily grab a couple surprise gifts to show up throughout the year if any of these books look exciting! These will be affiliate bookshop links which means shopping the links support the blog at no cost to you. Also, if you're looking for even more 2021 books, Rachel and Vicky made the most amazing database/spreadsheet/blog to collect all the 2021 debuts togethe

evermore book tag!

As you probably know, I absolutely adore Taylor Swift, and I recently did a folklore book tag, so I figured I should make a version of evermore as well! If you want to read that post, you can find it here . And if you want all my thoughts on folklore, you can watch my original folklore reaction on my YouTube channel here.   I'm so happy to have found an evermore book tag I loved created by  Star Is All Booked Up ! That post is linked (I really enjoyed it!), and those are the prompts I'm using here.  In this tag, I just talked about books for the prompts and didn't get into the songs. If you want more of my evermore thoughts specifically, check out my blog post of favorite lyrics here and my new reaction to evermore here . You can also scroll to the bottom of the post to watch the video as well. If you want to know more about any of the books I mention, all of their titles are linked to my review.  I hope you love the post, and let me know your favorite evermore songs in the

Be Dazzled by Ryan La Sala: YA Book Review

  Be Dazzled  by Ryan La Sala  Overview: Raffy is one of the most talented cosplayers in Boston. He knows how to sew, bedazzle, conceptualize, and execute intricate costumes that allow him to embody his favorite characters at conventions. Despite having an artistic mother, she looks down on his pursuits as childish and a waste of time. Raffy is driven and determined despite the lack of support, and his focus doesn't wane until Luca stumbles into his life. Buff and a soccer player, Luca looks like the last person Raffy wants to befriend, but Luca is drawn into Raffy's cosplaying world despite having to hide the hobby (and Raffy himself) from his parents. Unfolding on duel timelines, we follow Raffy and Luca's journey falling in and out of love and maybe back in over the course of one of Boston's biggest comic cons. Overall: 4  Characters: 5 I identified with Raffy deeply. He's anxious and determined and lonely but also scared of letting others in. Raffy is secure in

The Best, The Brightest, The Totally Biased List of my Favorite Books of 2020

 Welcome to my big list of 2020 favorites! Usually, I do this award show style and give out different awards in a variety of categories I made up. This year is a little different because it's 2020, and I'm out of brain power to think of categories. These books appear in no particular order, and I selected them purely based on which books are still in my head months after I read them. I didn't read nearly as many books this year as usual, but I think I managed to read more books that I fell head over heels for than ever. Publishing a book this year is a major accomplishment in itself, so these authors all deserve extra rounds of applause for launching their books into an uncertain world, and even if a book from this year doesn't make a list, it's still incredible for existing. Even though I've already talked everyone's ears off about these books all year long, I'm going to do it one more time because they got me through both a hard and hectic year and pro

Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant: YA Book Review

  Happily Ever Afters  by Elise Bryant  Overview: Tessa gets the writing opportunity of her dreams, but her words run out at the same time. While she can't wait to take a novel writing class at her new school, the idea of sharing her work with anyone but her best friend, Caroline, makes her unable to keep writing, even for herself. Caroline devises a plan to get her to fall in love so that she can jumpstart her creative juices for the romances Tessa writes herself into. Real life inspiration is clearly not the answer, and Tessa is left even further from the answer to all of her problems. Overall: 4 Characters: 4 While I knew this book was going to have a kind of forced dating situation as Tessa tried to get this boy to fall for her, I didn't predict the love triangle till I started reading. I'm not going to fault Bryant for using a love triangle because everyone does it, but I do have to note that these characters fall into the unfortunate side effect of most love triangles

About My Blog

Hello everyone! I thought for my first post, I would share a bit about me, why I started the blog, and what the main focus will be. Reading and writing are my two greatest passions, and, besides school, what I spend most of my time doing. I've been devouring books since the third grade at an insatiable pace, so clearly, I've read a lot of books. After conquering, it seems, nearly every Middle Grade novel, I became a teenager and found the whole new world of YA. Finding books has always been the tricky part for me. I always had trouble finding interesting books that met my reading need at a content level that was appropriate. The older I get, the easier it is, but I always wished that I could find a place with honest reviews and recommendations from kids my age. That's what inspired the Reading portion of my blog. The writing came from my passion for the craft. I aspire to be a published novelist one day, but right now, I write plenty of short stories to submit to contests a

Positions Book Tag

Today, I'm sharing a new book tag created by Cielo over at Bellerose Reads who tagged me in her new Positions book tag. I love working on book tags inspired by pop music, so I was thrilled to get the tag. If I'm being totally honest, I wasn't super into Positions, Ariana Grande's latest album. I'm much more of a Thank U Next fan because that album was far more lyrically focused. Positions reminds me a lot of Sweetener. I do like "POV", the closing track of the album. Still, I'm super excited to share the tag because these are some of the best tag questions I've ever seen. Cielo did a wonderful job coming up with really cool prompts. I had a blast thinking of books that fit them. As always, just click the book title to read my review of any of the books I mentioned. And don't forget to read the original tag here .    shut up – a book you couldn’t shut up about  There are way too many. Honestly, a ton of them are already sprinkled through this po

Wrapping Up 2020: How'd My Reading/Blogging Go This Year

 It feels weird writing a year end post, which is probably why we're almost a week into the new year and I still haven't posted one yet. 2020 was such a hard year for the world and a weird one for me personally, and it still feels far from over. From a reading perspective, there were parts of the year that were super strong and others where I hardly picked up a book. I started the year working at a bookstore which, contrary to popular belief, made me read less than usual. I had a good run during lockdown and through the summer (though that certainly had ups and downs too), and then I started my first semester of college. That created a serious reading slump, though it wasn't like I stopped reading! In one class alone, I had 1,000 pages of reading saved in my class notebook. All the academic reading replaced my fun books, and there were moments where I honestly thought I hated reading. I wondered what was wrong with me and if I was just done with that part of my life. Over b