Alright, I love John Green. For a while I worried that it made me too "mainstream" but that's just stupid. He's a great writer. I love his characters. He makes me FEEL things. I wasn't sure what to expect from Turtles All the Way Down, which is Green's first book in six years. That gap felt huge and I worried that he would have lost his touch. I can see how this was a hard book to write, though, and Green deals with mental health excellently.
Aza lives in her own mind. She suffers from anxiety and OCD. She is constantly worried about bacteria and the fact that she may not be a real person, just a fiction or a vehicle for said bacteria. Her best friend Daisy is her opposite, outgoing and daring. Daisy writes fan fiction and works at Chuck-E-Cheese. She's saving up for college so when she realizes that Aza knows a missing billionaire's son, Davis, and that there is a reward for information leading to the arrest of the billionaire, Daisy convinces her to paddle down the river in a canoe to Davis's property and snoop. Davis saves them from mansion security and Aza and Davis start a maybe-more kind of friendship.
Aza wants to be normal. She wants to be able to listen to conversations without falling into her own thought spirals. She wants to be able to hold hands and kiss without thinking that the other person's bacteria is invading her body. She wants to be a good friend and daughter and girlfriend. Aza is trying but things are getting harder and harder and the spiral is getting tighter and tighter.
One of the highest praises that I can give to this book comes from my own experiences with anxiety. Green describes this thought pattern so well that when I was talking to a fellow anxious person he actually told me to stop because it was such an apt description that it was going to give him a panic attack. High praise indeed. This book also made me laugh and cry and feel grossly romantic a couple of times. Excellent read. He still has it!