Turtles All the Way Down

"Dive into the profound world of 'Turtles All the Way Down' book by John Green. Explore mental health, friendship, and a gripping mystery in this contemporary masterpiece. Discover the unforgettable journey within these pages."
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John Green, a prolific author known for his young adult novels, once again captured the hearts of readers with his 2017 release, “Turtles All the Way Down.” This thought-provoking novel delves into the intricacies of mental health, friendship, and the relentless pursuit of truth. In this article, we will provide an overview of the book, a detailed summary of its plot, explore critical reviews, share some memorable quotes, and address frequently asked questions about this contemporary masterpiece.


At its core, “Turtles All the Way Down” is a gripping exploration of the inner workings of its protagonist, Aza Holmes. The story is set in Indianapolis and revolves around the disappearance of a billionaire, Russell Pickett. Aza’s best friend, Daisy Ramirez, convinces her to investigate the case in the hopes of claiming the reward money. This investigation takes a back seat to the real narrative driving the novel – Aza’s struggle with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and anxiety.

As Aza reluctantly rekindles her friendship with Davis, Russell Pickett’s son, she becomes increasingly entangled in his life. Their bond grows deeper as they grapple with loss, grief, and the ever-present “turtles all the way down” metaphor – a reference to a philosophical question about the nature of existence.

The novel paints a vivid picture of Aza’s daily battles with intrusive thoughts, germophobia, and the constant fear of bacterial infection. Her inner turmoil is palpable, and readers are given a firsthand look into the labyrinthine world of her mind.

The relationship between Aza and Davis is beautifully complex, marked by a deep emotional connection and vulnerability. As they navigate their feelings and experiences, the story unfolds with raw honesty, leaving readers with a profound understanding of the characters’ struggles.

The mystery of Russell Pickett’s disappearance ultimately takes a back seat to the exploration of Aza’s mental health. Through her experiences, John Green sheds light on the stigmatization of mental illness and the often overlooked internal battles that individuals face. Aza’s journey becomes a poignant reminder that sometimes, the most challenging battles are the ones fought within.


“Turtles All the Way Down” received widespread acclaim from both critics and readers alike. Here are some notable reviews:

The New York Times praised the novel, stating, “John Green’s ‘Turtles All the Way Down’ is a remarkable exploration of mental illness, a captivating mystery, and a tender love story all wrapped into one.”

NPR described the book as “a triumph of authenticity,” noting how Green’s portrayal of Aza’s struggles with OCD and anxiety resonated with many readers who have faced similar challenges.

The Guardian called the novel “a testament to John Green’s ability to create compelling and relatable characters.” They appreciated the depth of Aza’s character and her journey towards self-acceptance.

Goodreads reviewers consistently gave the book high ratings, with many readers praising its realistic portrayal of mental illness and the author’s ability to evoke empathy.

Booklist commended Green for seamlessly blending the mystery element with a powerful exploration of mental health, stating that the novel “balances heartbreak and humor with honesty and grace.”

Overall, “Turtles All the Way Down” has left a lasting impact on its readers, both for its compelling narrative and its sensitive portrayal of mental health issues.


John Green is renowned for his poignant and thought-provoking quotes, and “Turtles All the Way Down” is no exception. Here are some memorable quotes from the book:

“Your now is not your forever.”

“You remember your first love because they show you, prove to you, that you can love and be loved, that nothing in this world is deserved except for love, that love is both how you become a person and why.”

“No one ever says goodbye unless they want to see you again.”

“We never really talked much or even looked at each other, but it didn’t matter because we were looking at the same sky together, which is maybe even more intimate than eye contact anyway.”

“The thing about a spiral is, if you follow it inward, it never actually ends. It just keeps tightening, infinitely.”

These quotes capture the essence of the novel, touching on themes of love, change, and the never-ending journey towards self-discovery.


Q : Is “Turtles All the Way Down” suitable for young adults?
A : Yes, the novel is classified as young adult fiction, but its themes and discussions about mental health make it a relevant and impactful read for a wide range of ages.

Q : What inspired John Green to write about mental health?
A : John Green has openly discussed his personal experiences with mental health issues, which inspired him to write about the topic. He wanted to shed light on the challenges faced by individuals dealing with mental illness.

“Turtles All the Way Down” is a powerful and emotionally resonant novel that combines a compelling mystery with a sensitive exploration of mental health. John Green’s masterful storytelling and memorable characters have left an indelible mark on readers, making it a must-read for anyone seeking a thought-provoking and heartfelt literary experience.