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City Reads: Turtles All the Way Down

November 7, 2017

If you haven’t heard of the author John Green, then you’re missing out on one of the best YA authors in this generation. His books are sad, yes, so expect to cry hard because his happy endings aren’t necessarily like a Disney movie. Instead, Green somehow wraps into a mind of a teenager by producing realistic stories dealing with significant life problems. He doesn’t fail to accomplish that same book writing magic in his latest novel, Turtles All the Way Down.


Aza Holmes is a 16-year-old high school student with an obsessive-compulsive disorder. Everything changes in her day-to-day life when her best friend, Daisy, takes her along in the search for a fugitive billionaire. She runs into an unexpected reunion with her neighbor Davis, who happens to be the missing billionaire’s son. Turtles All the Way Down isn’t a mystery novel though. It’s more than that by exploring teenage struggles, mental illness and overcoming other obstacles of adolescent life.

John Green is known as “the author who writes sad novels,” but his books are more than that. He’s able to create fictional teenagers’ lives that allow his readers to connect with them in some way. For example, Turtle All the Way Down brings attention to young anxious minds, which is something that reminds me of my teenage years to an extent. Green even wrote this new novel based on his own experience with mental illness since childhood.

These teen conversations are why so many young people connect to reading. All the characters in Green’s new novel aren’t perfect either—at some points, they’re really annoying. That’s what makes these teenagers believable though. We want to see how they handle first love and tortured memories as raw as possible. If you haven’t had a chance to read John Green’s other novels yet such as Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns, give this novel a try to experience any masterpiece by this incredible YA author.

 Favorite Quotes

  • “The thing about a spiral is, if you follow it inward, it never actually ends. It just keeps tightening, infinitely.”
  • “We are about to live the American Dream, which is, of course, to benefit from someone else’s misfortune.”
  • “….even though I laughed with them, it felt like I was watching the whole thing from somewhere else, like I was watching a movie about my life instead of living it.”
  • “I was still at the beginning. I could still be anybody.”
  • “Every loss is unprecedented. You can’t ever know someone else’s hurt, not really—just like touching someone else’s body isn’t the same as having someone else’s body.”

What to Read Next

  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky: An introvert freshman becomes friends with two seniors at his high school where he begins to experience the real world.
  • It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini: Inspired by the author’s own brief hospitalization for depression, this novel follows a clinically depressed teenager checking himself into an adult psychiatric ward in order to get a new start.
  • Looking for Alaska by John Green: Miles Halter leaves his sheltered life at home and heads to boarding school in search of a deeper perspective on life. Honestly, just read every single book by John Green.

City Reads is a new monthly series on Lost & Found in the City. Got any recommendations for next month’s book? Share your favorites in the comments below! 

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Author: Katina Beniaris

Born in Chicago, Katina has always been drawn to cities. She spent her college years in the heart of Chicago studying journalism and she travels to various cities every year for new experiences. When she’s not blogging, you can find her catching up on the latest pop culture sensation on Netflix.

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