By Jackie Lyons
John Green, author of many young adult favorites like The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska, is back with a new book called, Turtles All the Way Down, which tells the story of 16 year old Aza Holmes and her struggles with multiple anxiety disorders. When she finds out a billionaire and her friend’s father goes missing, she and her friends decide to go out looking for him.
Throughout the story, Aza and her friends learn the value of friendship and how precious life can be.
Green’s books are typically aimed toward serious topics such as death, depression, and the meaning of life. Turtles All the Way Down, however, deals with something very personal to not only John Green, but many teenagers as well. Anxiety. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 25.1% of children aged 13-18 suffer from some sort of anxiety disorder. Most anxiety disorders in teens are a result from too much stress in school and life in general. Senior Anna Kelly says, “Crippling anxiety causes me to procrastinate on my work, which therefore makes me more anxious.” Many students believe that the amount of work given to them adds more stress onto their existing anxiety until they’re burdened with a pile of worries on their back and their school doesn’t recognize it.
The plot of the story and the characters are another reason as to why the story is compelling. The fact that three teenagers were on a hunt to find a supposedly dead billionaire gave the book a classic 80s movie type feel like Stand By Me or The Goonies. Senior Chris Patchan says, “Even though it started out slow, by the end everything tied together and was a really cool story about friendship.” Each character had their own personal quirks. Aza has severe OCD, her best friend Daisy writes Star Wars fanfiction, and their friend Davis has a pet tuatara, a type of lizard.
With unique characters, anxiety, and a full Star Wars fanfiction, John Green once again proves that he is the master of young adult literature. Turtles All the Way Down showed that there’s no use in avoiding things that scare us unless we try.