I've just finished TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN, by John Green, author of the mega-hit THE FAULT IN OUR STARS.
I wanted to review this book for so many different reasons, but most of all because it made me feel so many different things--extraordinarily anxious, upset, annoyed, and sad. But this was to be expected. THE FAULT IN OUR STARS left me drowning in a pool of my own tears, and I still have a difficult time thinking about that book because it tore me up so thoroughly. Green always does such an incredible job with his characters.
But back to TURTLES...if you don't know what this book is about, you can read about it HERE. The short version is that Aza Holmes has severe OCD, and this book is a look into what life is like living inside her head while dealing with normal teenage things like high school, parents, a new relationship, and friendship.
If you know anyone with legitimate OCD, you know that it can be difficult to understand. You might have even told them to 'just stop' or 'don't think about it' or 'put your mind on something else.' This book will definitely help you understand, and hopefully make you a little more empathetic to their struggles.
I do not suffer from OCD, but I do struggle with intrusive and cyclical thoughts. I have anxiety that is a lot of times overwhelming, and because of that, TURTLES was really difficult for me to read.
Not in a bad way--the book is really good--it was difficult to read because I could sympathize with Aza. I've never experienced anything to the degree that she does, but what I have experienced is enough that I was able to put myself in her shoes. And it also educated me on microbes and bacteria. I am not a germaphobe, but I might be now that I've finished this book. Yuck.
All around, the story was good. We got to see how Aza coped (and at times didn't cope) with her OCD and how her OCD affected her everyday life. But don't worry, this book isn't just about a girl with a mental disorder. There is a bit of a mystery that she tries to solve, and the trials of friendship and first love.
If you like contemporary stories about real-life struggles, I recommend you pick this book up. If you prefer stories that punch all your wish-list buttons and tie everything up at the end with a big, pretty bow, then I would probably tell you to skip it because your heart is going to get wrung.
Buy the book here. Or, if you are not into buying books, consider checking it out from your local library. Don't want to go to the library? Download Overdrive onto your mobile device. You can plug in your local library information and check out digital copies of your favorite books. The best part of that? No late fees.