As part of our Summer Reading Program, Tails and Tales, Teen Book Club is returning to the Library for patrons ages thirteen and up. We will be reading and discussing John Green’s 2017 young adult novel, “Turtles All the Way Down.”
This book tells the story of sixteen-year-old Aza Holmes, who lives in Indiana and deals with obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety. Aza and her best friend, Daisy, find out about a reward being offered for information about the disappearance of a wealthy businessman in town, Russell Pickett, who also happens to be the father of Aza’s crush, Davis. When Aza and Daisy become interested in the case — and a romance develops between Aza and Davis — the three embark on a search to find out what happened to Russell. As the details of his disappearance begin to emerge, Aza’s relationships with both Daisy and Davis become strained and her mental illness begins to spiral, which has devastating consequences.
“Turtles All the Way Down” is a harrowing look at the effects of a negative relationship with one’s body and brain, and the harsh reality of trying to be a teenager while dealing with an illness that others cannot see. In this way, the usual tropes that young adult fiction often fall into are turned on their head and give the reader a different perspective. John Green takes a markedly different approach to the YA genre with his novels, which also include “Paper Towns”, “Looking for Alaska”, and the smash hit, “The Fault in Our Stars.” While many writers in the genre trivialize the teenage experience or write about it in the way that grownups want to see it, Green validates their experiences, creativity, and capabilities through his honest and clarifying writing. Green has spoken publicly about his own struggles with mental illness and brings this experience into the story to depict Aza’s OCD and anxiety in a way that is both engaging and educational. This book is full of opportunities for thoughtful discussion and connection amongst readers.
Copies are available to check out at the youth desk. We will meet to discuss the book on Thursday, July 1 at 4 pm. If you are interested in signing up for the Summer Reading Program, please visit the Library or call 406-538-5212. The Summer Reading Program runs until July 10.