Turtles All the Way Down
by John Green
Reviewed by Peggy K. Potter
This young adult novel was recommended by Bill Gates as a book to read with your teenage daughter. I agree. It opens up discussions about mental illness, love, lifelong friendship, and what we would do for money. First the mental illness. Aza, aged sixteen, suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety issues. Her problems are so extensive she can barely function. Aza and her friend Daisy are trying to solve the mystery of the missing billionaire for the reward. They think they can do this by getting clues from his sons. The boys live in the family home on a many acers of gated property with a housekeeper and zookeeper. The zookeeper takes care of the lizard who will inherit all the money when daddy dies. The oldest son, Davis, is the same age as the girls. The billionaire’s younger son also has some serious mental issues.
The love and lifelong friendship are woven together throughout this story but there is more. The difficult attachments between brothers, sisters forced to share, and parents and children’s love for each other. How far can we go for the people we love? How far will they go for us? Then there is money. It does not mean much to the father who leaves a fortune to a lizard. Or his children. They do not know what it means to be hungry. Some others in this book are not so lucky. Memorable characters with an unforgettable story. Recommended for ages 12 through adult.