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Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

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message 1: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (drld) | 24 comments Mod
John Green is a popular author with adolescents. This one deals with a topic seldom discussed.


message 2: by Yao (new)

Yao Chen | 49 comments • To be frank, I did not very enjoy reading this book partly because the logic of the language and the development of the story let me feel confused, partly because the ending is so sudden. I know it is different to imagine what other people feel, so I try to get into their worlds through books. I do not know what happened in the Star Wars. I should have taken more time in reading Davis’s blog, but it just did not catch my eyes. This book obsoletely raises the awareness of mental illnesses, and I can also make some connections to my own life.

• The friendship between Aza Holmes (Holmesy) and Daisy is amazing. It reminds of my best friends from high school in China when reading the conversation between them. It is very causal and even makes no sense to readers sometimes, but they can understand each other very well. It is what a real friend should be. Of course, there is also a huge argue in the middle of the book, which is also the very important twist point to Aza. I can see the fear, anxiety, and struggling in the mind of Aza. It is hard for her to feel her exist and others’ feelings because of her mental disorder; I can also observe the gap of the poor and the rich. Daisy is working really hard to save money for university, Davis, on the other hand, probably thinks money just a few meaningless numbers. However, he cannot get whatever he wants as well. They are all teenagers and they should be understood, loved, and trusted by the world.

• Everyone lives more or less with struggle and anxiety. This book presents a perspective form an OCD patient to readers. It is disturbing, desperate, but not hopeless. Life is a story that you can tell by yourself. We do not live in the past or in the future. Even though it is quite hard to find someone who sees the same world you see, there is always a hope, and as the hearted ending goes, “No one ever says goodbye unless they want to see you again.”


message 3: by Lourdes (new)

Lourdes A. | 49 comments I enjoy this book because I can connect Aza´s mental illness to some cases that I have seen around, especially about the necessity to control everything all the time. One of Aza´s problems is that she always thinks that she is losing control and feels helpless to see herself outside of her thoughts. It makes me think that this behavior does not happen just to people who have a severe mental illness, but it can happen to people at low or medium-level as well. It seems to be part of human struggles. We live in a world where everything is for yesterday, and not enough time to do what we need or believe that we need to do. Stress and anxiety became normal nowadays. I think that many people suffer from OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) somehow, and some of them do not even realize it. I am not saying that most people are like Aza, but there are different types and levels of OCD.
The story begins to heat up, when Aza´s best friend Daisy convinced her to find out what happened to a billionaire who mysteriously disappeared in the city, mainly because of the reward. They went together to this adventure, and eventually, Aza starts to date Davis, the billionaire´s son. Although the author uses romance, friendship, loss, and mystery to tell the novel, the main point is about what happens in Aza´s brain, how she lives, and deals with OCD.
Aza tries to get rid of her mental illness with medicines and visits the psychiatrist, but she cannot. Later she realizes the need for learning how to live with this disorder. It is sad when she says that she knows that she is not normal, and she wants to find a way to fix it, but she does not know how. She also questions if she is real or fictional and if she exists independent of the circumstances.
I appreciate the realistic way the author describes Aza´s feelings, and during the reading, I found out that he suffers the same illness as her.
I believe that this is a relevant topic that can help adolescents to be aware of this illness and may help them to understand others and themselves.


message 4: by Bruna (new)

Bruna Alcaraz | 41 comments At the beginning of the book, I was getting so confused with the plot and characters until I understand that Aza is a special girl. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is reaching many teenagers and adults. This is not a common topic to be read in a novel. The most important part of this book is the Author has OCD when he was a teenager and most of the details he talks about their own experiences. The book is fiction but some details he describes as real situations in his life.
The protagonist is a 16 years old girl Aza who suffers from OCD and anxiety. She is terrified of germs and worries about being sick. She can't control her thoughts because of her mental illness.
The friendship between Aza and Daisy is worth because Daisy understands Aza. In my opinion, the focus in the book wasn't about to solve the mystery or others moments, but it was to show everyone how OCD person feels through all kind of situations: She can't express her self with words, all the time she is thinking about of nothing linked to the moment, her mind is always flying everywhere.
Before, during and after reading the book, I still don't understand the name of the book: Turtles Turtles All the Way Down. Someone could help me?
I loved and enjoyed this book, the contemporary language makes me feel part of the book. I recommend this to teenagers until I started to read some comments on the internet: this book is not appropriate for school, the language is inappropriate, conversations about D.. pics ( sorry guys I laugh so hard at this moment).


message 5: by Bruna (new)

Bruna Alcaraz | 41 comments Lourdes wrote: "I enjoy this book because I can connect Aza´s mental illness to some cases that I have seen around, especially about the necessity to control everything all the time. One of Aza´s problems is that ..."

Hi Lourdes,
I believe the book to us has the same idea to express Aza's fellings. You said that feeling can happen to everyone it is true, on some levels but anxiety is attacking our society.


message 6: by Bruna (new)

Bruna Alcaraz | 41 comments Yao wrote: "• To be frank, I did not very enjoy reading this book partly because the logic of the language and the development of the story let me feel confused, partly because the ending is so sudden. I know ..."

Hi Yao.
You bought a very good point when compare poor and rich situations betwenn Daisy and David, it is another look to discuss in the classrrom. I would like to ask my students if they can see this topic in the book. In that discussion they will gain more knonwledge how to understand social diversity.


message 7: by Diana (new)

Diana | 31 comments Honestly, I did not know Jonh Green was an author. I am a John Green fan though Crash course YouTube videos. His videos are educational, unique, and entertaining. I didn't know he was also the author of The Fault of our Stars. I recommend checking out both!
I like how this book was different from your typical high school drama. I believe adolescents enjoy J.Green books because it shows them, it is okay to not be okay. You don't have to be the perfect; student, child, or friend. You are human and you are bound to make mistakes. However, do not sell yourself short, you are more then what you think, you are more than a mental illness.
"Your now is not your forever,"- John Green. I love this quote because it is simple but yet so powerful. You have the power to change the future, you are what you make yourself to be and don't let your today ruin your tomorrow.


message 8: by Natalie (new)

Natalie Thomas | 46 comments This book was very difficult for me to read, only because of the subject matter. John Green takes a somewhat taboo subject (mental illness), and tries to normalize it, especially within the teen world. When I checked out this book, the librarian told me that this is one of the most popular books, and it rarely stays on the shelf. This is a huge indication that this type of subject matter is needed and wanted.
Mental illness is just not a subject that teens are comfortable talking about, or acknowledging they suffer from it. Teen world is all about fitting in, being accepted, trying desperately to appear normal. Teens who suffer from any mental illness, like anxiety or OCD, already judge themselves so harshly that the idea of any one discovering their "secret' is a struggle in itself. So, many teens prefer to suffer in silence than face the scrutiny that often comes with a mental illness diagnosis.
Aza is a unique character because she does not seem to have a problem sharing that she has anxiety and OCD. She's definitely not OK with it, but she doesn't hesitate to explain to others how her mind works. Aza is even pretty open with her psychiatrist, which surprised me since most teens would rather "deal" with their problems on their own, instead of having an adult meddle. I like this side of Aza, and I'm glad John Green decided to make Aza vocal about her mental illness. It almost gives other teens permission to talk about these issues; again, the more we normalize mental illness, the less stigmatized it remains. This is a great novel to use to discuss mental illness; however, if I were using this to teach, I might just use excerpts from the book instead of reading the whole novel. I think the story line gets bogged down with the mystery part, which distracts from the true intent of the novel, which is to spotlight teen mental health issues.


message 9: by Yao (new)

Yao Chen | 49 comments Diana wrote: "Honestly, I did not know Jonh Green was an author. I am a John Green fan though Crash course YouTube videos. His videos are educational, unique, and entertaining. I didn't know he was also the auth..."

Hi Diana,

I like lots of your viewpoints. As you said, it is quite essential to let students know that it is okay to not be okay. Nobody is perfect. People all make mistakes, just do not be stuck and stop moving forward.

Yao Chen


message 10: by Yao (new)

Yao Chen | 49 comments Natalie wrote: "This book was very difficult for me to read, only because of the subject matter. John Green takes a somewhat taboo subject (mental illness), and tries to normalize it, especially within the teen wo..."

Hi Natalie,

I also had a difficult time reading this book. I agree that mental illness is not a comfortable topic for teenagers. Actually, I think it is relatively hard for adults as well. I know some people refuse to go to see a psychiatrist because they feel they are abnormal to some extent. It takes courage to face mental illness and deal with it.

Yao Chen


message 11: by ThaoTam (new)

ThaoTam  Nguyen  | 46 comments The story begins with Aza Holmes and her best friend – Daisy are having lunch in White River High School’s cafeteria. And they are interested in the mysterious disappearance of Russell Pickett- a billionaire because there is a $100,000 reward for information about him. Daisy believe that they have a chance to get that money because Aza knows Pickett’s son, David, and Daisy plans they will visit David to get more information for their investigation. This part of the story remind me “how to steal the dog”. The have the same purpose to have money and to find out missing people or animal.
The love story between David and Aza in this story is not the same with the orther teenagers’stories that I had read and known because in this relationship, Aza always controls her feeling because of her mental illness, she who struggles with OCD, The appearance of the bacteria always in her mind. The OCD is a kind of sickness, and it also presents for the fear of teenager about their family situation, violent, sexual…that can be effect their life


message 12: by Natalie (new)

Natalie Thomas | 46 comments Diana wrote: "Honestly, I did not know Jonh Green was an author. I am a John Green fan though Crash course YouTube videos. His videos are educational, unique, and entertaining. I didn't know he was also the auth..."

Diana: I agree that this is not the average teen novel. I think if more books featured teens who are struggling with mental illness than it would definitely chip away at the stigmas. I wonder if teens would feel uncomfortable reading about another teen with mental illness, or would they find comfort?


message 13: by Natalie (new)

Natalie Thomas | 46 comments Yao wrote: "• To be frank, I did not very enjoy reading this book partly because the logic of the language and the development of the story let me feel confused, partly because the ending is so sudden. I know ..."

Yao: I'm very similar in that it was difficult to read because of the subject matter. I suffer from anxiety, so I can identify with some of Aza's struggles. But, oddly, I didn't find comfort in her descriptions of how her mind works. For some reason, I was frustrated by her emotions and how she coped. As an adult, I've learned to cope, and embrace the medications that have changed my life. At times, I wanted to scream at Aza, but age has taught me to accept help. Perhaps, a teenager, who doesn't have the maturity or courage to deal, will find comfort in Aza's reactions, and her thought processes.


message 14: by Lourdes (new)

Lourdes A. | 49 comments Bruna wrote: "At the beginning of the book, I was getting so confused with the plot and characters until I understand that Aza is a special girl. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is reaching many teenagers an..."

Hey Bruna,

I agree with you that the focus of this book is not on romance or mysteries. I believe that the author brings this subject up to tell people how a person with this illness feels and sees the world. This is useful information.


message 15: by Lourdes (new)

Lourdes A. | 49 comments Natalie wrote: "This book was very difficult for me to read, only because of the subject matter. John Green takes a somewhat taboo subject (mental illness), and tries to normalize it, especially within the teen wo..."

Hi Natalie,

I like that you point out that Aza seems to have no problem sharing her mental illness with others. You are right in saying that, in general, teenagers do not like to show their flaws.


message 16: by Jackie (new)

Jackie Olalde | 44 comments Turtles All the Way Down

I enjoyed this book and found it to be an easy read. The story was rather easy to follow, and the main character Aza deals with a topic that is rarely discussed in books. Aza is a sixteen-year-old girl dealing with anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. John Green did an excellent job writing the character in a way that the reader can understand what it is like to be a person who lives with anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Aza understands that her thoughts are irrational at times, but she is not truly in control of them. She desperately wants to live a healthy life, but ultimately accepts the fact that she won't. I think that these are topics that teenagers could relate to, and I can see it being a popular book for teens.

Two parts stuck out to me in the novel. The first was when Aza is in a car accident, and she is trying to get the truck open so that she can retrieve her dad's phone. I think that is an excellent example of what people with anxiety feel like at times. Daisy doesn't understand why she feels like this. The other part was when Aza reads Daisy's fan fiction and sees the character that was based on her. I think these two showed how the other character feels and how it can go unnoticed to others.


message 17: by Jackie (new)

Jackie Olalde | 44 comments Diana wrote: "Honestly, I did not know Jonh Green was an author. I am a John Green fan though Crash course YouTube videos. His videos are educational, unique, and entertaining. I didn't know he was also the auth..."

Hi Diana,

I have read a few of John Green's books, and I didn't realize that he was the same man from Crash Course videos. I think that he does a great job on both fronts.
I agree with you. I love how John Green's main character in this book shows teenagers that it is okay not to be okay. This isn't a popular theme in books, but it is much needed.


message 18: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (drld) | 24 comments Mod
My daughter recommended this book to me (not my 17 year old, one of the triplets). She loves the book! It isn't one of my favorites. When I told her that she was so surprised!


message 19: by Diana (new)

Diana | 31 comments Bruna wrote: "At the beginning of the book, I was getting so confused with the plot and characters until I understand that Aza is a special girl. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is reaching many teenagers an..."

I laughed at the D pics too. What helped me get through this book was knowing Aza's thoughts because I no longer felt alone. I often overthink a situation and talk to myself and I think like I am not the only crazy person out there.


message 20: by Jackie (new)

Jackie Olalde | 44 comments Lourdes wrote: "I enjoy this book because I can connect Aza´s mental illness to some cases that I have seen around, especially about the necessity to control everything all the time. One of Aza´s problems is that ..."

Hi Lou,

I completely agree with you about the beautiful job that John Green did. The writing in the novel is so realistic, and it gives others an insight into what life is like for someone who lives with anxiety and OCD. I wasn't aware that John Green himself lives with the same things that Aza does in the story. I think that was very brave of him to include that, and it shows that although it can be difficult if you try great things can happen.


message 21: by ThaoTam (new)

ThaoTam  Nguyen  | 46 comments Lourdes wrote: "I enjoy this book because I can connect Aza´s mental illness to some cases that I have seen around, especially about the necessity to control everything all the time. One of Aza´s problems is that ..."

Hi Lourdes!
I love your idea! this is also good example for us. It helps us understand more about the illness and adolescent.


message 22: by ThaoTam (new)

ThaoTam  Nguyen  | 46 comments Diana wrote: "Honestly, I did not know Jonh Green was an author. I am a John Green fan though Crash course YouTube videos. His videos are educational, unique, and entertaining. I didn't know he was also the auth..."

Hi Diana!
Thank you so much for your information. I didn't known about that. And the novel is also a good recommendation for adolescent for reading. In the novel, they can see them somewhere, and it can help them more listen to themself, they will recognize what they want and what they should do


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