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My name is Ardis and I am an avid reader and budding writer. I want to share my love of books with others. I work with kids and am interested in finding and creating books that will ignite the reader in everyone. Contact me at: ardis.atkins@gmail.com

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Friday, October 27, 2017

Audio ARC Review & Giveaway: Turtles All The Way Down by John Green

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0525555366/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=onderherose-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=0525555366&linkId=23a9366ce23aab0b4b9f00def7840f0f
Please Note:  I received an advance audio copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinions of my review in any way.  Also, I have linked the book cover with Amazon.  If you buy the book through this link, I will get a small fee.

Synopsis (From Goodreads):
Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.

Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.


Review:
Turtles All The Way down marks the return of author John Green, six long years since his last book, The Fault In Our Stars, was published.  His books are a staple of YA literature with novels such as Looking For Alaska,  and Paper Towns.  With some attributes now ubiquitous to his books (a unique main character, a mystery  to solve, and a tender romance), this is a solid addition to his library of works.

What I Liked:
Handling of Anxiety:
Aza is much like any sixteen-year old.  She works hard at school and hangs out with her colorful friend, Daisy.  But she also has nearly crippling anxiety.  She has a cut on her finger that she continually re-opens and then is convinced that it is infected.  Her worrying thoughts spiral deeper and tighter until she can't think of anything else.

I thought the book was very insightful about how mental illness is an ongoing issue.  There are no easy fixes or answers, and that is not only hard for Aza, but difficult for her friends to handle, as well.  This puts a strain on her relationships with Daisy, and with Davis, the boy she is starting to date.

Mystery:
Although it's a bit contrived, the mystery of what happened to Billionaire Russel Pickett (Davis's dad), is intriguing.  I liked following Daisy and Aza as they looked for clues and pieced together what happened.  They also faced several ethical dilemmas related to getting and sharing private information.  It's hard to say if the characters did the right thing, but I could understand their choices.

Characters:
Smart and capable, I loved Aza.  She was more than her illness.  Even with her anxiety, she was able to have clear communications with her mom.  She has no problem telling her mom what she needs from her, and where she is suffocating her.  And I loved her interactions with Davis.

Being the son of an ultra-rich person, Davis has trouble trusting others.  Are they around him because he has money?  How can he really know for sure?  He is a fully developed character with his own problems, such as caring for his younger brother, Noah.  When he eventually lets his guard down, Davis becomes a good match for Aza.  Their budding romance is sweet and I rooted for them. 

What I Was Mixed About:
Audio Performance:
The narration by Kate Rudd is serviceable, but not particularly riveting.  I think her best moments are when Aza is talking to herself, as she spirals deeper into her anxiety.  You can feel how she almost has a demon within her.  It is heartbreaking.  Perhaps to create a contrast to this the rest of the performance is rather bland.

What I Didn't Like:
There were some cliches that I had a hard time getting past, such as the over the top best friend since elementary school, and (my biggest pet peeve) the missing parent element.

Why is it that everyone's best friend is a wacky extrovert who's antics inspire others to take risks?  I thought Daisy was somewhat two-dimensional and seemed to be around so the author could check some boxes: ethnic ✓  poor  ✓  outgoing ✓
Not all Hispanics are poor, but super fun!

This is also the ultimate Missing Parent book.  Aza and Davis meet at "sad camp", as each has a parent who is deceased.  Then, to top it off, Davis's only living parent goes missing!  This cliche allows characters to get into all kinds of trouble with minimum accountability.  Don't teens have enough angst in their lives without these manufactured tragedies?

I don't think this novel packs the emotional punch that The Fault In Our Stars delivers.  But the characters are entertaining, and endearing, and I appreciate this book's well-rounded treatment of a condition that many young people have.



Giveaway Time:
I will be going to see John Green on November 1st for his book tour.  Since my teens and I are going, I will have an extra signed copy of this book and I am giving it away!!!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


                                                                 



Rating: 





Release Date:  October 10th, 2017

Genre:  YA Contemporary

Publisher:  Random House Audio

Performed by:  Kate Rudd

Listening Length:  7 house, 12 minutes

Page Length:  304 pages

Source:  Random House Audio

Format:  Audio Book

Recommendation:  A solid treatment of a teen's mental illness with an endearing main character and a lovely romance.
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2 comments :

  1. So many mixed reviews for this one, but your review is mostly positive. So, that's a good thing. I love Green, and was so excited to get a new book for him. It appears Daisy is not a fan favorite, but maybe it's because she seems like she is inserted to "check off the boxes".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My thoughts, exactly! She also is not a very good friend to Aza. I was surprised that Aza didn't have a stronger reaction to what Daisy does (no spoilers).

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