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Turtles All the Way Down
Cover of Turtles All the Way Down
Turtles All the Way Down
"Wrenching and revelatory." An instant #1 bestseller, the widely acclaimed Turtles All the Way Down is John Green's brilliant and shattering new novel.Featured on 60 Minutes, Fresh Air, Studio 360,...
"Wrenching and revelatory." An instant #1 bestseller, the widely acclaimed Turtles All the Way Down is John Green's brilliant and shattering new novel.Featured on 60 Minutes, Fresh Air, Studio 360,...
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  • "Wrenching and revelatory." An instant #1 bestseller, the widely acclaimed Turtles All the Way Down is John Green's brilliant and shattering new novel.

    Featured on 60 Minutes, Fresh Air, Studio 360, Good Morning Amercia, The TODAY Show
    "A tender story about learning to cope when the world feels out of control." – People
    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.

    In his long-awaited return, John Green, the acclaimed, award-winning author of Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, shares Aza's story with shattering, unflinching clarity in this brilliant novel of love, resilience, and the power of lifelong friendship.

Excerpts-

  • From the book

    ONE

    At the time I first realized I might be fictional, my weekdays were spent at a publicly funded institution on the north side of Indianapolis called White River High School, where I was required to eat lunch at a particular time—between 12:37 p.m. and 1:14 p.m.—by forces so much larger than myself that I couldn't even begin to identify them. If those forces had given me a different lunch period, or if the tablemates who helped author my fate had chosen a different topic of conversation that September day, I would've met a different end—or at least a different middle. But I was -beginning to learn that your life is a story told about you, not one that you tell.

    Of course, you pretend to be the author. You have to. You think, I now choose to go to lunch, when that monotone beep rings from on high at 12:37. But really, the bell decides. You think you're the painter, but you're the canvas.

    Hundreds of voices were shouting over one another in the cafeteria, so that the conversation became mere sound, the rushing of a river over rocks. And as I sat beneath fluorescent cylinders spewing aggressively artificial light, I thought about how we all believed ourselves to be the hero of some personal epic, when in fact we were basically identical organisms colonizing a vast and windowless room that smelled of Lysol and lard.

    I was eating a peanut butter and honey sandwich and drinking a Dr Pepper. To be honest, I find the whole process of masticating plants and animals and then shoving them down my esophagus kind of disgusting, so I was trying not to think about the fact that I was eating, which is a form of thinking about it.

    Across the table from me, Mychal Turner was scribbling in a yellow-paper notebook. Our lunch table was like a long-running play on Broadway: The cast changed over the years, but the roles never did. Mychal was The Artsy One. He was talking with Daisy Ramirez, who'd played the role of my Best and Most Fearless Friend since elementary school, but I couldn't follow their conversation over the noise of all the others.

    What was my part in this play? The Sidekick. I was Daisy's Friend, or Ms. Holmes's Daughter. I was somebody's something.

    I felt my stomach begin to work on the sandwich, and even over everybody's talking, I could hear it digesting, all the bacteria chewing the slime of peanut butter—the students inside of me eating at my internal cafeteria. A shiver convulsed through me.

    "Didn't you go to camp with him?" Daisy asked me.

    "With who?"

    "Davis Pickett," she said.

    "Yeah," I said. "Why?"

    "Aren't you listening?" Daisy asked. I am listening, I thought, to the cacophony of my digestive tract. Of course I'd long known that I was playing host to a massive collection of parasitic organisms, but I didn't much like being reminded of it. By cell count, humans are approximately 50 percent microbial, meaning that about half of the cells that make you up are not yours at all. There are something like a thousand times more microbes living in my particular biome than there are human beings on earth, and it often seems like I can feel them living and breeding and dying in and on me. I wiped my sweaty palms on my jeans and tried to control my breathing. Admittedly, I have some anxiety problems, but I would argue it isn't irrational to be concerned about the fact that you are a skin-encased bacterial colony.

    Mychal said, "His dad was about to be arrested for bribery or something, but the night before the raid he disappeared. There's a hundred-thousand-dollar reward out for him."

    "And you know his kid," Daisy...

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from October 16, 2017
    Like many of Green's characters, Aza Holmes is whip smart, articulate, and tortured by worry. When she was eight, her father succumbed to a heart attack while mowing the lawn. Now 16, Aza takes meds (irregularly) to treat anxiety, which is manifesting in increasingly self-destructive ways. Her problems amplify when she reconnects with Davis, a boy she met years earlier at "Sad Camp," where both had gone to grieve their recently deceased parents. Now Davis's billionaire father is missing, running from a warrant for his arrest. Aza's best friend Daisy, in a classic sidekick role, pressures Aza to contact Davis, hoping they'll learn something about the disappearance—and maybe get a cut of the $100,000 reward. The reunion leads to romance, until Aza's anxiety won't allow it. Green's first novel since The Fault in Our Stars is another heartbreaker, full of intelligent questions. It's also a very writerly book, as Aza frames a lot of the questions she asks herself in literary terms. Am I a fiction? Who is in charge of my story? Why do we describe pain with the language of metaphor? Because of this, it's tempting to conflate Aza the character with her author, who has been open about his own mental illness. But readers need not know where the line is between the two to feel for someone trapped in an irrational, fear-driven spiral. In an age where troubling events happen almost weekly, this deeply empathetic novel about learning to live with demons and love one's imperfect self is timely and important. Ages 14–up. Agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House.

  • Kirkus

    October 15, 2017
    Nerdfighter Green's latest takes readers through Indianapolis and the human biome. Aza Holmes doesn't feel like herself. But "if half the cells inside of you are not you, doesn't that challenge the whole notion of me as a singular pronoun...?" When a local billionaire--and the father of her childhood friend, a white boy named Davis--disappears, Aza (who seems to be white) and her BFF, Daisy Ramirez (who is cued as Latina), plot to find him and claim the reward, amid rumors of corruption and an underexplored side plot about semi-immortal reptiles. The story revolves around anxious Aza's dissociation from her body and life. Daisy chatters about Star Wars fan fiction (and calls Aza "Holmesy" ad nauseam), and Davis monologues about astronomy, while Aza obsesses over infection, the ever present, self-inflicted wound on her finger, and whether she's "just a deeply flawed line of reasoning." The thin but neatly constructed plot feels a bit like an excuse for Green to flex his philosophical muscles; teenagers questioning the mysteries of consciousness can identify with Aza, while others might wish that something--anything--really happens. The exploration of Aza's life-threatening compulsions will resonate deeply with some, titillate others, and possibly trigger those in between. Aza would claim that opinions about this book are unfairly influenced by "the gut-brain informational cycle," which makes it hard to say what anyone else will think--but this is the new John Green; people will read this, or not, regardless of someone else's gut flora. (Fiction. 14-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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