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Turtles All the Way Down
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2018 archive > May Group Read Discussion: Turtles All the Way Down

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Sara | 1508 comments Discussion is open for Turtles All the Way Down by John Green.

Please use spoiler tags if you are sharing any plot related surprises.

Posts should be exclusively about this book.

When you've finished, be sure to post in the May Challenge - I finished! thread.


Megan (mghrt06) | 542 comments Hello book friends! My name is Megan and I’ll be leading the discussion this month for our group read! Just a little about myself – I’ve been doing these challenges since 2015! I love them and look forward to the new lists at the end of every year. I live in Pittsburgh PA with my husband and my 5 month old puppy who keeps me very busy!

I read Turtles All the Way Down in January. Originally, I had it planned for mental health but then while waiting in the airport terminal I saw a stranger reading it and knew I had to use it for being read by stranger in a public place from the advanced section.

So my first question is what prompt will you be using it for? Will you be using it for the monthly challenge of mental heath or something else? This book can fit so many!

Two: Have you read any other John Green books? Some people swear by his writing! I’ve only read two others.

Three: Do you have any expectations going in to reading this book? Or are you going in to it completely blind? Goodreads users have rated this a 4.06 average rating. Does this impact your expectations for the book?

I'll be back next week with more questions once everyone's had the chance to dive in to the book! See ya soon!


Edie | 58 comments As someone who reads out of order... and when book are available from the library, I finished this last weekend. I used it for the mental health prompt. I have not read anything else by John Green. I really didn't have any expectations going into reading this, although I do pay attention to ratings as a partial guide on whether to pick a book.

For me it was a "can't put it down read", so I read it in a couple of days.


Mike | 443 comments Hello! I'm about 20% finished with Turtles.

I'll be using it for the Mental Health prompt. When the monthly group prompts come out, I reserve those prompts for that month for this reason.

I've also read The Fault in Our Stars and An Abundance of Katherines, both for past challenges. Enjoyed them both more than I expected to as a 48 year old man.

Expectations? None. Other than I enjoy reading his books set in Indianapolis because I used to live there and I'm familiar with many of the places he mentions. For instance, I've gassed up at the Speedway gas station mentioned in Fault (which actually exists on the corner that he describes) so it was a good connection.


Taylor | 178 comments I haven't started Turtles yet but will soon...hopefully!

I am planning on using it for the mental health prompt but have not totally decided yet. A lot of times I end up changing books in prompts as the year goes on so who know!

I have read most of John Green's other books: Looking for Alaska, The Fault in Our Stars, Paper Towns, and An Abundance of Katherines.

I don't have any expectations going in. I've heard a lot of the hype leading up to and following its release but am trying to keep an open mind so I don't get disappointed.


Verena (verb1) | 13 comments I'm about halfway through Turtles. Like most people, I'll be using it for the mental health prompt. About 5-6 years ago, I read all of John Green's novels and enjoyed them a lot, but I haven't re-read them in a while. When I saw that he had released a new book, I was curious to find out if I'd also enjoy it as much. So that would be sort of my expectation? (Unfortunately/interestingly, I only find it an okay-ish read so far and keep thinking that I might have enjoyed it more at age 16 when I read his other books.)


message 7: by BRD (new) - rated it 4 stars

BRD | 3 comments 1. Book about mental health! I've been changing my list around so much as I've found new books to read, but finally settled on this.
2. Read The Fault in Our Stars a few years ago and loved it. I also have Will Grayson, Will Graysonon my list this year for a book with two authors.
3. Pretty high expectations because I think he's a great author. I'm about five chapters in and already enjoying it! I didn't look at the Goodreads rating before I started, so that didn't impact my expectations.

Looking forward to finishing the book up. I'm sure I'll be done soon.


Nikky Herschell  | 97 comments I’m going to jump on the group read as I was on hold for this from the library and it happened to come through today. I’m not actually using it for the challenge though.
I recently read the fault in our stars and absolutely loved it! I’m hoping it’s as good but no real expectations.
Looking forward to finally doing a group read though!


Brittany | 187 comments I somehow managed to miss that this was going to be the book for this month as I haven't really been doing the monthly challenges. I actually grabbed this book today at the library by coincidence and just now saw that it was the book for May which has made me really excited to read it. I originally grabbed it just as I've seen it on so many recommended reading lists and vaguely remembered someone saying it could be used for the Mental Health prompt and I've yet to fulfill that one.

1. So like I mentioned above, I'll be using it for the Mental Health prompt. I'm not 100% set on this so may decide to use it for a different prompt later but this is the most likely.

2. I have not read any books by John Green before but I have certainly heard of them and depending on how this book goes I might go and binge them all.

3. I'm basically going in blind on this one. I have, of course, seen the cover and title in so many lists and have seen it pop up on the updates feed a lot but I really haven't paid a lot of attention to what it was about. I am only a little concerned that subconsciously I've let it get hyped up from seeing it pop up so much and it's possible I'll be let down if it doesn't blow me away. I just know how well reviewed/rated it is but not much else so I've got my fingers crossed that's not the case!

Might have to move this up on my reading list, was planning on reading it later this month. Looking forward to joining you all in my first group read!


Cindy I am using this book for the Mental Health prompt.

I have not read any books by John Green, so I had no idea what to expect. I was hoping it would be good information on a mental health problem. So far, so good. It really spotlights what someone with mental health problems goes through on a daily basis. Did this book scare anyone?


message 11: by AF (new) - rated it 5 stars

AF | 358 comments 1) I also saw someone reading this book and slotted it into that prompt. I had no idea what it was about so when everyone started suggesting it go in the mental health prompt, I was surprised.

2) I am currently reading Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan for a book with two authors. I've read all of his books except Let it Snow and Zombiecorn?? I didn't even know about Zombiecorn until I just checked to see that I've read most of his stuff). If I like one book by an author, I tend to try and read all of their work. I'm almost done with John Green.

3) I had heard nothing but good things about this book so I had high expectations. I tried to be cautious, but sometimes you can't help it.


message 12: by Lola (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lola | 2 comments I've been wanting to read this so I am using it for the mental health challenge. I have read The Fault In Our Stars and loved it. I also read Paper Towns and thought that one was just okay. i am really hoping I enjoy this one. I have heard nothing but good things about it.


Jen from Quebec :0) (muppetbaby99) | 47 comments I have already read this (lucky enough to get it as a gift when it came out) but I actually liked it best of Green's work, I think....although I still maintain that it is NOT exactly a YA novel, for reasons you all shall soon see! ---Jen from Quebec :0)


Megan (mghrt06) | 542 comments Week two of May - the month is already flying by and its finally nicer weather in PA - which brings about my spring/summer allergies. Perfect excuse to stay INDOORS and read :) :) :)

How is your reading progress going?

Here are some nonspoiler, and a spoiler question for you.

1. Can you relate to any of the characters? How about Aza’s struggles – do you find them to be realistic? How do you feel reading about her struggles - Do any of them make you uncomfortable?

2. Do you have a name for your car? The name for Aza's car is Harold. (Just a silly question but I'm curious to see what you answer!)

3. How did you experience the book? Were you engaged immediately, or did it take you a while to "get into it"?

4. What would you do for the 100,000 reward money? Would you be interested in it at all in this situation? Chapter 9 spoiler (view spoiler)


message 15: by Alee (new) - rated it 2 stars

Alee Hofman | 7 comments Reading progress is going pretty well :) I have a 4 week old baby girl so I have been listening to audio of this with her inbetween feedings,especially at night. We are on Chapter 7 ;).

1. Can you relate to any of the characters? How about Aza’s struggles – do you find them to be realistic? How do you feel reading about her struggles - Do any of them make you uncomfortable?
I am diagnosed with anxiety, but I cannot say that I experience the same type as Aza. I feel like I actually relate more to Daisy's personality, very abrupt, take-the-lead kinda gal. I love it.

2. Do you have a name for your car? The name for Aza's car is Harold. (Just a silly question but I'm curious to see what you answer!)
Within the past year I bought a new vehicle and have yet to name her...it...lol. But my vehicle before my current was a VW Jetta and I named her Jetty :). She got me through undergrad college.

3. How did you experience the book? Were you engaged immediately, or did it take you a while to "get into it"?
Truthfully still trying to get into it. It's getting better though.

4. What would you do for the 100,000 reward money? Would you be interested in it at all in this situation?
I haven't made it to Chapter 9 yet.


message 16: by John (new) - rated it 5 stars

John | 79 comments Week 1:
1) I am reading it for the Mental Health monthly challenge, and I would agree that it can fit quite a few challenges this year.

2) I have not read any other John Green books and didn't know him by name but I've heard of some of his other books.

3) I went into this book 100% blind, having never heard of the book before nor really ever having heard of the author by name. I personally try not to let the GR reviews gauge my interest or opinion of the book, b/c the reviews may keep me from a book I may enjoy or get me to read a book that I won't necessarily like.

Week 2:
1) I can relate to Aza I feel in the high anxiety aspect of her mental illness. I myself have been personally diagnosed with depression and high anxiety and I currently take the medication she was prescribed in the book. I can't judge on the OCD part if those were realistic but being stuck inside your own head with the anxiety part of it hit very close to home for me. None of her struggles made me uncomfortable just...for lack of a better word relateable on a certain plane.

2) I never had a name for any of my cars, I presently don't own one, but my fiance has named hers Bertha.

3) It was a bit of a slow burn for me. I related to her quite a bit but i didn't get engaged and sucked into the story till about the middle of it.

4) (view spoiler)


message 17: by AF (new) - rated it 5 stars

AF | 358 comments 1. I had a student who was OCD and had anxiety. Her description of her "thought spirals" sound just like Aza's. If anything, it made me understand my student better. She chose to be home schooled because she couldn't handle being away from her family during the day. She was constantly worried they were going to die. It was all she could think about and couldn't concentrate at school.

2. I always name my car. It's a must. My current car I call the Silver Bullet.

3. I was hooked into the storyline immediately. Maybe because of the connection to my student, but it was just fascinating to me.

4. Who would say they aren't interested in $100k reward money? If a childhood's friend's father disappeared and there was a reward out for his return, you bet I would be looking!


Taylor | 178 comments 1. I can't quite tell yet if I relate to Aza or not. I know that's weird but I've been reading in short bursts during my breaks at work so I haven't delved too deep into the characters yet. I defnintely feel for her and her struggles, especially with her thought spirals because I have had similar situations but on a MUCH smaller scale.

2. I ALWAYS name my cars! I find it so much fun! I currently drive a Subaru and her name is Eileen, from the song Come on Eileen - you know, the part where they go su, ba ru, ba ru, ba ru :P

3. Still trying to get into it. Mostly because I've been reading in short bursts at work and it's been almost a week since I last picked it up.

4. If I had $100,000 I would pay off my student loans! And with the remaining $10 I'd order a pizza :)


Verena (verb1) | 13 comments 1. Can you relate to any of the characters? How about Aza’s struggles – do you find them to be realistic? How do you feel reading about her struggles - Do any of them make you uncomfortable?
I related most to Aza. Her thought spirals and worries seemed very realistic to me, and I'm really glad that I've only experienced something similar to a much slighter extend. And yes, they did make me uncomfortable.

2. Do you have a name for your car? The name for Aza's car is Harold. (Just a silly question but I'm curious to see what you answer!)
I don't own a car (and don't want to), but if I did, I would probably not come up with a name. I also haven't named my computer/phone/etc.

3. How did you experience the book? Were you engaged immediately, or did it take you a while to "get into it"?
The first half felt pretty slow and it took me a bit to get into it, but I read the second half in one setting.

4. What would you do for the 100,000 reward money? Would you be interested in it at all in this situation?
I would save it. (view spoiler)


Angie | 28 comments Week 1 Questions:

So my first question is what prompt will you be using it for? I am using this for the mental health challenge.

Two: I have read one of his books: The Fault in Our Stars.

Three: I was actually really dragging my feet on this one. I liked The Fault in Our Stars , but I didn't love it and I was hesitant to read another book about ill teenagers.

Week 2 Questions:

1. I don't really relate to the characters - and strangely I don't think it is because of the mental health issues. It is more because they seem incredibly sophisticated and advanced for teenagers. It sort of made everything even more surreal. On the other hand, I did think that Green depicted Aza's struggles realistically. I could feel her torture when she was fighting against some of the behaviors she would ultimately wind up doing anyway.

2. Interestingly enough, this car is the first one I named and I call it Pips. (After another character's horse in another book!)

3. It was easy to read, but did not engage my emotions. I think I was reading it more from a intellectual interest to see how the ending was handled.

4. In this situation, I think I would have preferred to reach out to my friend (Davis) to see how he was instead of trying to get the reward. But I am older and, hopefully, wiser than most teenagers! (view spoiler)


Rachel A. (abyssallibrarian) | 635 comments I've just finished this book, and haven't even looked at the thread until just now in case of accidental spoilers, so I may be a little behind on the discussion.

I actually applied this book to a prompt for another challenge, which was a book nominated for an award in 2017. This book was nominated for a Goodreads Choice Award in the YA category, and lost to The Hate U Give.

I have read many of John Green's previous books. I've read An Abundance of Katherines, The Fault in Our Stars, Paper Towns and Looking for Alaska. Of them, The Fault in Our Stars was definitely my favourite, but none of them reached 5 stars for me.

Honestly, my expectations were relatively low. When I first saw that the plot was about a billionaire who disappeared, I didn't think the book would interest me at all. The more reviews I saw about the OCD rep, the more I wanted to give this one a chance.

Week 2 Questions:
I definitely do relate to Aza, although I don't have the same kind of anxiety like her. I loved how she described her experiences and how the thought spirals worked because it made it so clear, and it was easy to see how her condition impacted her life. I found Daisy pretty annoying, but although some of the comments she made about Aza seemed quite mean, I kind of related to them as well.

I don't have a car or a driver's license, so I definitely don't have a name for one. I wouldn't name my car either, I just don't see the point.

I was surprisingly drawn into it right away, which I didn't expect given that I haven't really loved most of John Green's other books. The billionaire plot didn't interest me much at all, but I loved Aza as a character. There were a couple of points that felt a bit abrupt, but not too bad.

I honestly can't say I would actively go after the reward money, although it would certainly be nice to have! If I had the money, I'd probably just save it for a house (with room for a library!). (view spoiler)


Megan Kindred | 65 comments I just got the book from the library, which is better than last month's group read. I got it a week into May. Because I haven't been able to check in yet. I am going to answer both sets of questions.

1. I am going to use the one for the mental health prompt unless something else presents itself.

2. I have read two other books by John Green, The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska. I teach middle school, so his books are extremely popular in my classroom and I have them all in my classroom library.

3. The only expectations I have for this book is knowing that I like Green's writing and that many of the students have enjoyed this one. It was pretty highly anticipated in my classes since it has been a while since he wrote anything.

1. I teach a lot of pretty anxious teenagers, so I find that I relate to Aza in that way. I also was myself a pretty anxious teen though it was very different than her anxiety. I loved her thoughts about the schedule at school since my life is still dictated by a bell as a teacher.

2. My car's name is Sai, short for Saisho, so not only does it have a name it has a nickname.

3. I'm only on chapter 6, but I read the first 5 chapters last night, so I'd say I am pretty engaged in it.

4. Like I said, I am only on chapter 6, so this is just starting to come up. I am not sure what I would do and feel like I will probably be able to say more once I have read more of the book.


Carol Roote | 117 comments 1) I'm using Turtles All the Way Down for #26 A book with an animal in the title. I already read a book for the mental health prompt, but I really want to read this.

2) I've read Looking for Alaska, Paper Towns, and The Fault in Our Stars. I loved them all, but enjoyed them in the order I read them from most to least. I had already seen The Fault in Our Stars movie before I read it and I think knowing what was going to happen lessened the enjoyment.

3) I have high expectations, since I've loved all the others. Whenever a book gets a high rating on Goodreads that increases my expectations, especially if a lot of people have reviewed it.


Larissa Langsather (langsather) I am reading this book for the mental health prompt. I haven't read any other John Green books. I read the monthly reads because they are almost always books I would not pick for myself. The only thing I expect from this book is that it should be pretty good because it keeps popping up in lists.

I can relate to Aza's brain spirals and how she thinks deeper than most people, but hurting herself and feeling like she doesn't have choices- I can't relate to that. I like her as a character, though. I think we could have been friends.

My car doesn't have a name. If it felt more like my car I might name it.

Not super engaged yet. I am listening to it on audio and I can't listen to it with my kids around (in case of bad language and constant interruptions). But hopefully when there are no sick kids in the house I can come back to it. I am only on chapter 10.

(view spoiler)


message 25: by Teri (last edited May 21, 2018 03:27PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Teri (teria) | 1335 comments Just started the book today, so I'm behind on the discussion. In response to the first week's questions - I'm planning to use this for the mental health book. I adored the book "The Fault in Our Stars" and disliked "Looking for Alaska." My expectations are more a hope that I will like this book more than Alaska.

The first three pages are intriguing but have caused me anxiety about being a zoo for micro-organisms. 😊


Sonali Ekka | 86 comments I started reading the book today.

I am reading it under the mental health prompt.

This is my first book by John Green, though I have heard a lot about his other book, The Fault in our Stars. My niece strongly recommended to me.

Because of the prompt, I got to know this book is about mental health. So, I am reading it with the expectation that it would throw some light on mental health, like, describing a mental health condition, how it affects the patient and probably how to help such people. I do get biased by Goodreads ratings at times, but have also discovered that my responses are sometimes quite the opposite of the ratings. So I am safely assuming that the book would be entertaining at least.


Megan (mghrt06) | 542 comments I love seeing everyone's perspective on the book!

Chapter 16: (view spoiler)

In Chapter 18 (view spoiler)

Do you read any fanfiction (or maybe do you write any fanfiction??)

Chapter 19 – (view spoiler)


message 28: by Taylor (last edited May 22, 2018 12:50PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Taylor | 178 comments Chapter 16: (view spoiler)

Chapter 18: (view spoiler)

If you had asked this question a week ago I would have said that no, I have never read any fanfiction. Unfortunately/fortunately, I just watched the new It movie and am over half way through the book and completely fell in love with the Losers Club. Now I spend like 75% of my free-time looking at fan posts (not just fan stories/fanfictions) of those characters.

Chapter 19: (view spoiler)


message 29: by Teri (last edited May 22, 2018 05:07PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Teri (teria) | 1335 comments My answers to the Week 2 Questions:

1. Can you relate to any of the characters? How about Aza’s struggles – do you find them to be realistic? How do you feel reading about her struggles - Do any of them make you uncomfortable?
I have just enough anxiety issues to recognize her struggles, but thankfully in a much reduced way. I am finding the way that her anxiety is described through word and action seems very authentic to my own experience and put words to some feelings that I've had or that others have tried to explain. I haven't felt uncomfortable at all, just a bit grateful that her issues are not mine.

2. Do you have a name for your car? The name for Aza's car is Harold.
I drive a Buick Regal, and a couple of weeks after I bought the car I saw the play Camelot. My cars are always girls, so I couldn't name her Arthur, and Guinevere did cheat on her husband, so I named my car Camelot (Cami for short). I do not call her that often, though, as I'm apparently not as obsessed with my car as Aza is with Harold.

3. How did you experience the book? Were you engaged immediately, or did it take you a while to "get into it"?
I was into it immediately because of the struggle she was having with eating and micro-organisms in her system. Not a problem for me, but it briefly made me not want to eat anything. haha

4. What would you do for the 100,000 reward money? Would you be interested in it at all in this situation?
I have a hard time letting anyone buy me lunch, so I'm sure this would have been too much for me to accept. (view spoiler)


message 30: by Teri (new) - rated it 4 stars

Teri (teria) | 1335 comments Week 3 questions:

Chapter 16: (view spoiler)

Chapter 18: (view spoiler)

Do you read any fanfiction (or maybe do you write any fanfiction??) - I have never read fanfiction and have not written it. It doesn't interest me. My TBR list is already too long!

Chapter 19: (view spoiler)


Sonali Ekka | 86 comments My answer to week 2 questions:

1. Can you relate to any of the characters? How about Aza’s struggles – do you find them to be realistic? How do you feel reading about her struggles - Do any of them make you uncomfortable?

I think I can relate to some Aza a little. I don’t have such fears as her, but I do tend to live inside my own head a lot which affects my social life and my relationship with others. I guess I too am a mustard. I could relate with the struggles, they are realistic. Though I did find it disconcerting how her thoughts could lead her to even harm herself, or how they make her annoying and cold at times but in reality it’s not her fault.

2. Do you have a name for your car? The name for Aza's car is Harold. (Just a silly question but I'm curious to see what you answer!)

Lol yeah, I have named my car Marty (like from Back to the Future). I was surprised to read how Aza thinks about Harold as if it were a person. I do that to Marty!!

3. How did you experience the book? Were you engaged immediately, or did it take you a while to "get into it"?

It took me a little while to get into it.

4. What would you do for the 100,000 reward money? Would you be interested in it at all in this situation? Chapter 9 spoiler (view spoiler)

I would have felt guilty about taking money from a vulnerable person who possible wants to be friends with me. But then, Aza is a teen, I doubt I’d have had that strength of character at her age.


Megan (mghrt06) | 542 comments With the month winding down, so is our group read of Turtles All the Way Down. I loved reading all of your responses to my questions!

With that being said, my last lingering questions for your are:

Did you like the book? If you do star ratings, what did you rate it? Would you (or did you) recommend it to a friend? Did the ending feel complete to you? Any other lingering thoughts on the book or experiences you wanted to share?

I'd say that I liked the book, but didn't LOVE it. There's something about his writing that everyone else just adores and I feel like I'm always missing something. That's ok though - everyone is different!

Thanks for reading along!


Taylor | 178 comments I liked the book but didn't love it - I gave it 3 stars. I would recommend to high school students as I think a lot of them would relate to the characters but for adults I probably wouldn't. The ending did not feel complete to me. I felt that the last 30 pages or so were rushed and it just felt incomplete. I didn't like the ending as well because I think it went too far into the: who are we, what are we doing here, realm and I don't particularly care for that kind of thinking, especially in a YA book. I did like reading about Aza's struggles and the relationships between the characters but I thought the story line and ending were lacking.


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