Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Reader
Published: October 10, 2017
Genres: Mental Illness, YA, Contemporary,
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
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.
For me, John Green novels are always an interesting adventure. Like many John Green fans, I found him through his youtube channel. I’ve talked about this before. I watched a decent amount of Vlogbrother’s videos before learning that John was an author. Like, if you watch the 2007 brotherhood 2.0 videos, it doesn’t come up for quite a while. So by the time I discovered this and then got my hands on John’s books, Paper Towns was about to be released.
The internet is a weird place, and we all have many friends that we talk to on a daily basis that we’ve never met, never seen in person. John Green and a handful of other authors have this “internet friend” feeling for me. When I pick up a John Green book, it feels like a friend handing me something and saying “read this thing I wrote.” I’ve met John Green one time, and I’ve never really spoken to him, but I’ve been consuming media he has created for 10 years, and again, the internet is a weird place where your favorite authors can become grouped with dear friends that live inside your computer.
I say all this because I’m about to rave about this book.
This is definitely a character-driven book. There is a plot, and it’s very John Green Novel, but most of the story takes place in Aza’s head. If there is one thing that John Green is incredible at it’s creating characters that after reading one of his books, you will remember forever. There are characters from all of his books that I would list in a “favorite literary characters” list. He gets it, and he makes these pretend people come alive in a magical way. From the way they talk, to how they feel about their cars, everything about a John Green Character makes them feel like they could be a person I knew.
Aza journey in the short months of the novel takes place is a great one. As someone who suffers from anxiety as well, her life and the thoughts that she fights will hit a part of me that no other book ever has. Aza’s relationship with Daisy is very similar to the one I have with Jen and my other best friend. I spend most of my life convinced that they can both barely stand me and only put up with me out of pity. There isn’t a lot of that with Daisy and Aza, but it’s there.
Daisy’s fanfiction writing is a brilliant addition. The way John Green takes characters and gives them these little tiny pieces of realness is just brilliant.
Aza’s thought spirals and the voice that plagues her is so well done. This book has an “I’m not the only one” feeling. It hard to explain, but I’m sure there this someone out there who gets it. Anxiety is a scary place, and trying to explain it to someone can make it feel worse. There is a beautiful scene between Daisy and Aza while they are driving to Applebee’s in the last quarter of the book that just resonates.
Overall, I highly recommend this book. Especially if you suffer from anxiety or know someone who does. It won’t be a book for everyone. John Green isn’t for everyone, no author is, but I think, with this book, he created a starting point for a conversation. I think I’ll be talking about this one for a long time.
Have you read Turtles yet? What are you waiting for?!?
Until next time Internet,