Teen Action Committee: Monthly Book Recommendations
May 2019: Picked by Uma
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
John Green, famed for his 2012 book The Fault in Our Stars, is the author of this month’s TAC book recommendation: Turtles All the Way Down, released in 2017. The book is drastically different from his others in the sense that it is much deeper and darker. Turtles All the Way Down depicts the story of Aza Holmes, a 16 year old with anxiety and OCD. Her case really impacts her risky life. She has a self inflicted wound on her finger, and she constantly reopens it to re-sanitize it. The readers can feel Aza’s inner torment as she is battling herself, trying to live a normal life while being unable to stop thinking about all the bacteria within her and around her. She constantly has an urge to put hand sanitizer in her mouth, just to make sure she is completely clean, and she does so multiple times, showing the severity and reality of mental illnesses.Usually Green’s books have humor thrown in these spiral moments, but this book’s writing reflected Aza’s thoughts: relentless and insistent.
The plot of the story details Aza’s relationship with another character, Davis. Davis's father, a billionaire, skipped town just as he was about to get caught by the police for fraud and bribery. Aza knew Davis from a camp, and when his father goes missing, her best friend Daisy convinces her to rekindle her relationship with Davis; anyone who knew of the whereabouts of his father would get a reward of $100,000!
This is a compelling story about friendship, trust, and what makes someone who they are. Davis struggles to separate his identity from his wealth, while Aza struggles to see her identity among all her constant, swirling thoughts. This book is a powerful, beautifully written one that is suited for young adults. The phrase “turtles all the way down” is used to describe a problem of infinite regress, just like Aza’s spiral of thoughts. Overall, with a stirring story and an important topic explained in a way that anyone can understand, John Green proves why he is a YA favorite author and why this book is worthy of being a TAC book of the month!
September 2018: Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie by David Lubar (chosen by Gianna Lodato)
October 2018: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (chosen by Alexis N.)
November and December 2018: The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han (chosen by Uma)
January 2019: Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly (chosen by Audrey Baker)
February 2019: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Meltdown by Jeff Kinnery (chosen by Enzo Whetton)
March and April 2019: Wonder by R.J. Palaccio (chosen by Susan)