Turtles All the Way Down Review: My last John Green review, if everything goes to plan

Synopsis

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.

Review

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Well, well, well. John Green. We have to stop meeting like this.

By “like this,” I mean: you write a book, I read it, I hate it. Wash, rinse, repeat. Every time! This is lucky number seven! I don’t think it’s working all that well for either of us. For me, at least, it’s definitely getting a little old.

But here we are. I keep using the weird brag/justification of “Yes, I hate John Green, and no, it’s not because I haven’t read (insert The Fault in Our Stars or Looking for Alaska or Paper Towns here) yet, because yes, I’ve read all of his books, and yes, the reviews are in, and yes, it was absolutely all bad.”

Except for the “the reviews are in” part. Because I haven’t really reviewed any of them. I wasn’t book-blogging in 2006 my dear boy. It has Not been a decade of these shenanigans.

And so, as I continue to use that line of defense against his wildly loyal, unaging group of geeky manic pixie dream girls in training, I continue to argue myself into reading his books. And oh boy do I suffer in return.

This is, unfortunately, not a The Fault in Our Stars type situation. (Never thought I’d be disappointed by something differing from The Fault in Our Stars!!)

I can’t just write a review of this that is, speaking generously, 92% me quoting the book and being like “hahaha can you believe this is just a normal average sentence in this totally real book.” (Although there will be a lot of that because HOW CAN I RESIST. I’m not a superhero.)

This book is not just John Green using cancer as an excuse to make teens fall in love with each other in a way that is profound and sad, or John Green using a missing person to make teens fall in love with each other in a way that is profound and sad, or…using another missing person to make teens fall in love with each other in a way that is profound and sad.

Oh sh*t, oh wait, this book DOES use a missing person to make teens fall in love with each other in a way that is profound and sad. Hahahaha. What is it with John Green and missing people??? We’re Looking for Alaska. We’re tearing this Paper Town apart to find Margo.

Hang on, I’m getting a phone call. What? It’s official? I’m the funniest person on Earth? I knew that tearing paper/Paper Towns joke would push me over the edge. Sorry, first runner-up John Mulaney!

So. Back to the point I lost roughly a thousand years ago. Even though this book DOES contain some terrible overwrought pretentious writing, and a manic pixie dream romance, and a missing person, that’s not its Thing. Like the Thing of The Fault in Our Stars is cancer/death/sadness, the Thing of this book is mental illness. Specifically a combination of anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Which John Green has. This is #ownvoices for anxiety/OCD! Rad.

It makes the whole review-writing thing a tad more complicated though. Because, like. I didn’t like this book. Not because of the mental illness rep. But I can’t just exile the whole book to Garbage Island anymore. Because the rep is good.

My life is so hard, you guys.

The fangirls are going to come for me so bad.

The mental illness rep was good. But also it was still a John Green book and I strongly disliked the process of reading it and, in fact, was forced into a reading slump so hard that it feels like while I was reading this my brain was gently removed from my skull and replaced with a small mound of cotton balls.

I have still not recovered.

Let’s do some categories, yeah?

Also: this book needs a huge huge huge huge huge huge HUGE trigger warning for self-harm. I don’t know why I haven’t seen that mentioned more. I don’t consider self-harm a trigger for myself and I still had to take breaks while reading this.


THE PLOT, ALLEGEDLY

Well.

There isn’t one.

This book has excellent mental illness rep, yes, but it is still a John Green book and that means there is not a plot so much as there is “let’s listen to the every thought of some very unbearable and introspective teens for a few hundred pages, shall we?”

All of this overwhelming pretension and analysis and over-description of basic inanimate objects comes at a cost, and that cost is a little something I like to call “not being excruciatingly bored.”

I read this book on Overdrive, which has that handy-dandy little feature where you can see the proportion of the book you’ve read in a neat lil percentage. By the 5% mark of this book, we have read exclusively about a single lunch period in the life of our protagonist, Aza, which, we are told eight hundred times, is 37 minutes long.

Five percent.

Thirty-seven minutes.

I’m just going to close out this section here because there is no way I can make it any clearer than that.


IT’S NOT EVEN ORIGINAL YOU GUYS SERIOUSLY

Even though this book feels infinitely long, it is actually only 288 pages. Which is why it’s impressive that this sh*t not only feels unrelentingly verbose, but also unbelievably repetitive.

For example, one of my favorite inexplicable tropes crops up about nine hundred and seventeen times in this book: Teenage Characters With Sh*tty Cars That They Humorously Name And Love With All Their Adolescent Hearts. What a wild cliché!

Our protagonist, Aza, has a dinky little car named Harold. This is one of the only jokes in this whole book, and let me tell you there is some dark sh*t and the comic relief is NEEDED. (This is me attempting to be generous as I wonder why John Green could possibly have included so many iterations of the exact same joke.)

It’s not just the Harold joke. It’s also the setting of Applebee’s, where our characters go one hundred times, the only joke being the exact same premise of how funny it is that they are there, using a – hahaha you guys get ready, I really don’t think you’re prepared for how funny this is – a COUPON!

The Applebee’s staff hates them, guys. I mean, are you serious? A coupon? In an establishment often predicated on deals and savings? Get out of here, you zany teens. You’re too much.

Similar to this is the unrelenting onslaught of Details About A Rich Person’s House. Davis, the son of Missing Person Who Makes Teens Realize Things About Love, and also Subject Of Occasional Love When Necessary For Pretentious Pondering, and also Source Of Much Of Pretentious Pondering, is rich as hell. The (innumerable) descriptions of his home sound like 13-year-old me trying to depict teen pop sensation Justin Bieber’s home for a fanfiction I would never even research, let alone complete.

I’ll spare you the wondering: I was not good at writing fanfiction.


THE LANGUAGE GOOD LORD THE LANGUAGE

Here’s the thing. I know a lot of people love John Green for his writing. I am not one of those people, obviously, for the established reason that I find him unbearably pretentious, but many of them exist.

But like. Why, guys? Why do you love him? This book could be a master class in the use of the passive voice. I use the passive voice all the time, but a) every professor and teacher I’ve ever had has kindly asked me to f*cking stop immediately, and b) I’M NEITHER A WRITING PROFESSIONAL NOR RENOWNED.

But enough of that. Let me just do a liiiiittle bit of quoting. Just to show you guys that I’m right about how pretentious and overwrought and unnecessary it all is. It’ll be a Google Translate type situation: I’ll write the phrase in normal human English, and then we’ll translate it into John Greenian.

Ceiling lights -> “fluorescent cylinders spewing aggressively artificial light.”

He drove faster -> “He accelerated with the gentle serenity of the Buddhist Zen master who knows nothing really needs to be done quickly.”

Fun, right?

Also, here’s my FAVORITE THING. So there’s this passage in the book when Aza goes, “I was out of school for two weeks. Fourteen days of my life reduced to one sentence, because I can’t describe anything that happened during those days.”

So how many sentences do you think came after that? Zero, right? Aza clearly says the whole thing was reduced to one sentence.

GUESS WHAT.

GUESS THE HELL WHAT.

It’s followed by several paragraphs of description.

Sometimes it’s just too easy.

Anyway, I could keep quoting and quoting these increasingly unbelievable sentences but what would be the point? I hate the way this is written and some people love it and here we are. At an impasse. Not even a bad impasse. (Here’s where I should have said some sh*t like And yet not even an impasse worth solving – an impasse of opinion, which is also called life, or something like that. This is all, to me, sentiments alternately ordinary and slightly off disguised under the massive weight of gaudy phrasing.)


NOTHING MAKES SENSE. WE’LL ALL BE DEAD SOMEDAY

Here’s one of my favorite categories! Tiny things that bother me almost as much as the bigger things some might say “actually matter.”

Like, for example, in what world is a security guard responsible for the retrieval of Dr Peppers for quirky teens? (Which is also coincidentally the name of the charity I’m starting, or at least my band.) That security guard’s salary had best be bigger than God’s.

Also, this is literally so over-described that John Green forgets his own descriptions. “He was wearing his school polo shirt and khaki pants.” Next paragraph: “He had skinny, sunburned legs and knobby knees.” SORRY AZA, DID HE TAKE HIS GODDAMN PANTS OFF? DID HE? I’M SORRY, I MUST HAVE MISSED THAT BETWEEN DISCUSSION OF AN IMMORTAL REPTILE OR WHATEVER. PLEASE GO ON.

And I just want to put this passage here and see if anyone else craves the sweet sweet oblivion of unconsciousness after reading it: “The most recent quote was, ‘He who doesn’t fear death dies only once,’ which I thought was maybe some veiled reference to his father, but I couldn’t unpack it. (For the record, he who does fear death also dies only once, but whatever.)”

Okay actually I can’t just let it sit there. Are you KIDDING ME. Is this a deliberate misinterpretation of the quote??? Is this on-purpose dumb??? OBVIOUSLY THE MAN WHO FEARS DEATH DIES MORE THAN ONCE BECAUSE HE CAN’T STOP IMAGINING HIS OWN DEATH! To use your own words, John, it’s a goddamn metaphor! It makes sense to put the killing thing between your teeth or what f*cking ever but that eloquent af classic piece of prose is nonsense to you??

Sometimes even I’m surprised by how much this stuff grinds my gears.


TEEN TALK! WITH A PRETENTIOUS MIDDLE-AGED MAN

A lot of this book lacks the let’s-talk-about-the-evolution-of-the-universe-and-then-the-afterlife-if-there’s-time-to-spare mentality of most John Green teenage dialogue, but it does Not lack the polished, complete thoughts with that exactly one (1) witticism to every two (2) statements ratio.

Let’s just put some quotes in.

“Last night I lay on the frozen ground, staring up at a clear sky only somewhat ruined by light pollution and the fog produced by my own breath – no telescope or anything, just me and the wide-open sky – and I kept thinking about how sky is a singular noun, as if it’s one thing. But the sky isn’t one thing. The sky is everything. And last night, it was enough.” Like, have you ever in your godforsaken life read a more perfectly, quintessentially John Green passage than that one? It’s too good.

“At the end, when walking was work, we sat on a bench looking down at the river, which was running low, and she told me that beauty was mostly a matter of attention. ‘The river is beautiful because you are looking at it,’ she said.”

Here’s a clip of some texting convo for y’all:
“Him: Then what am I? What is anyone?
Me: I is the hardest word to define.
Him: Maybe you are what you can’t not be.

You know. How teens text!

And then, just when you’re thinking “oh, maybe John Green just does pretentious dialogue now. Maybe we’ve escaped the unrelenting yoke of the quirkiness of his characters, the unbearable cringe-inspiring relatable -” he cuts you off in the middle of that thought with this sh*t: “You are like pizza, which is the highest compliment I can pay a person.”

God, that’s just…it’s hard to keep going after that one. Is this a Forever 21 graphic tee from 2011? What is happening right now?

I’m going to google “Cody Ko pizza” to soothe my weary soul. I suggest you do the same.

Anyway, it’s safe to say John Green really “gets” teens, you guys! He understands ’em. I mean, when was the last time you met a teen whose ideal date wasn’t “wandering a freezing cold park, sitting on a bench, and cavalierly mentioning the beauty of the river, only to be well actually’d by their girlfriend about the nature of aesthetic appreciation”?! I know I can’t remember!


NOW THAT’S WHAT I CALL JOHN GREEN

The beginning of this book was…not John Green-y. Which, as someone who has declared the aforementioned man my nemesis, is a complete positive. But rather than being pretentious and overwrought and all of those things that make John Green John Green, it was boring. At least passionate hatred isn’t boring. So the introduction of highbrow philosophies related in their polished entirety about a fifth of the way through was almost a relief.

I’ve already quoted way too many of those highbrow philosophies, though. Either you’re masochistic enough to read the book or you have had Enough Of That.

A lot of this was not typical John Green, but also so much of it was??? The Missing Person thing, for example. Also the classic Uniquely-Named Friends With One Quirk, One Of Whom Is Not White. In this book, we got Daisy Ramirez, Mychal Turner, and Davis Pickett. I read this five months ago so I might be wrong but pretty damn sure everyone’s heterosexual af. The not-white friend is not the one who occasionally kisses our white protagonist (which is to say, this romance is Caucasian As Hell). You know. Just a touch behind on the diversity memo, outside of the excellent neurodiversity.

But also John Green might just not remember how to be John Green, considering that “Daisy’s self-proclaimed life motto was ‘Break Hearts, Not Promises.’” Really, John? You could get that sh*t on a 75% off clearance graphic tee for like four dollars. It’s been done. That’s the best you can do??

It’s like I don’t even know who you are anymore!


IN WHICH I TRY TO BE NICE

I have two nice-ish things to say.

One, I liked this quote: “He’s in that vast boy middle […] The whole problem with boys is that ninety-nine percent of them are, like, okay.”Extremely true and real.

My other kinda-nice thing is also very irrational and super unfair: I wish that John Green wrote a memoir about his particular mental illness. Because I hate this book for what it is, but I didn’t hate that part of it.


IN WHICH I REMEMBER WHY I REALLY, ACTUALLY HATE JOHN GREEN

I’m going to close this out with the only part of this book that made me actually furious. All the pretension and boring-ness and overwrought language and whatnot is all fun and games to me. But there’s a part of this book that is so resoundingly f*cked up, it made me actually angry. Here it is.

“Most adults are just hollowed out. You watch them try to fill themselves up with booze or money or God or fame or whatever they worship, and it all rots them from the inside until nothing is left but the money or booze or God they thought would save them. […] Adults think they’re wielding power, but really power is wielding them.”

F*ck this. F*ck this passage. I am not here for this Peter Pan adolescent-glorification egotism. Every single face you see in your entire life is representative of a person who has lived a life. Who has suffered. Just because we don’t all do it while spewing eloquent bullsh*t about constellations and speaking in half unknown literary quotations doesn’t mean we’re all cogs in some machine. We all live and think and feel. Maybe this is the thing I hate most about John Green: the glorification of the “weird” to the detriment of the “normal.”

It’s this blatant superiority (including this mocking of alcoholism as if it’s not just as much a mental illness as those of the characters in this book) that makes John Green absolutely unbearable to read.

And so, gang: I think he and I are done. And I can’t say I’m too upset about it.

That’s my bottom line.

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Have you read this book, or anything else by John Green? What did you think? Do you want to yell at me like the fangirls in my Goodreads comments (x)?

85 thoughts on “Turtles All the Way Down Review: My last John Green review, if everything goes to plan

  1. Carolina Carvalho says:

    There’s something really satisfying about reading a review that perfectly encompasses your own vitriolic feelings for an author and his books (which are literally all the same). Unlike you I read Paper Towns and The Fault in Our Stars and called it quits. I usually DNF books, but I read those two just so I could tell all my friends who would not shut up about it how much I hated them. I’m sorry John Green has done it again, and that you had to go through it, but at this point I don’t think he’ll ever stop.

    Liked by 1 person

    • emmareadstoomuch says:

      oh my god i love this comment with all of my heart THANK YOU. i think if this book couldn’t change what a john green book inherently is, nothing will. so i am Giving Up – and will just have to say “i’ve read basically everything john green has ever written and disliked it” rather than “i’ve read absolutely everything.” cheers to no more john reading!!

      Liked by 1 person

    • khonza hanny says:

      I’ve only read two J.G. books, Paper Towns and The Fault in Our Stars. I hate the ending of both stories, but really liked Quentin’s character in Paper Towns, at some point. I’m considering to read Turtles All The Way Down but after reading this review,..er..maybe not. My friend told me she’s reading The Abundance of Katherines and I’m like, omg why? don’t you see the reviews? but then, I don’t really understand why I have this feeling.. “Well, probably another book by the author, not as bad as this one?” >_<

      Liked by 1 person

      • emmareadstoomuch says:

        Paper Towns is my least least favorite Green book! mostly because i love a road trip. but yeah, i can relate on the idea of somehow, some way believing that you could maybe possibly kind of enjoy a john green book someday…in spite of having no evidence to that effect

        Like

  2. Norrie says:

    Hahaha, your review was super entertaining!
    I’m sorry you didn’t like the book tho.
    It had quite the opposite effect on me. My first ever (and only so far) John Green read, but i bought 3 more of his books after this 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Satou Johns says:

    Damn! I got to half of it hahaha and you are the hilarious person on Earth! I laughed so much to the tearing Paper Towns XD I like that you hate them so much that you read them so that you can keep alive the flame of “hate” XD
    I read Paper Towns first and I FREAKING HATE THE BOOK it was so bad and so stressing and so… ugh… I watched the movie and I HATED IT EVEN MORE! I don’t get how people love these books… we all have our quirks… I like… cold brew… is it weird? no well you liking Paper Towns is… bye XD I sometimes think he is retelling his books XD and I love that before it was the guy looking for the girl and now is the girl looking for someone… right? XD

    Liked by 1 person

  4. thebookcorps says:

    Asdfghjkshn Emma this is a hilarious / amazing review!! You have me in stitches!

    The only John Green book I’ve ever read is TFIOS and it was sooooooo overhyped. I never read Paper Towns but I did watch the movie with my friends and it’s literally the worst film I’ve ever seen with my own two eyes. Just … no.

    What I really don’t like about John Green books is that teens can never be teens. They always have to be wise beyond their eyes and spout passages of poetry from memory. I know it’s been a few years since I was in high school but I was a little nerd back then (still am!), and even so, no teen I knew ever acts like a John Green character. We were all too busy, you know, just acting our age.

    “He accelerated with the gentle serenity of the Buddhist Zen master who knows nothing really needs to be done quickly.” – Please tell me this isn’t a real quote, please. I can’t deal if it’s actually real, I’m getting second-hand embarrassment!

    And yes to this (!!!!): “Maybe this is the thing I hate most about John Green: the glorification of the “weird” to the detriment of the “normal.””

    Great review, Emma! 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    • emmareadstoomuch says:

      AHHH THANK YOU SO MUCH. honestly your strength in watching Paper Towns is admirable. i just knew there was no way i could watch that story be brought to visual life.

      & yesyesyes to the teens being teens thing! i was not stupid in high school and i was a pretty big nerd, and i knew a lot of very smart people, and…none of us spoke like this. or acted like this. or were this pretentious all the time. we had, you know. fun.

      i wish i could tell you that buddhist zen master quote was made up. i mean i could, but i’d be lying. and that’s a real tragedy.

      thank you thank you thank you ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Elizabeth says:

    I read like 38% of this book and was just BORED, so I stopped and never picked it back up. BUT THAT LAST PRETENTIOUS PARAGRAPH. Like, saying adults just fill themselves up with booze and God and don’t really feel? WHY???? I’m an actual adult, and yes, feeling is painful BUT I choose to let myself feel life and not fake out. I think this isn’t that unnormal? And I’m not a weirdo philosopher, because I have an actual life of JOB and SCHOOl and PEOPLE I have to figure out relationships with.
    I think John Green spends too much time working on being weird and ‘real’ for youtube that his condescension comes out toooooo much in his writing.
    And I actually REALLY like the vlog brothers channel. But tbh, I prefer Hank Green’s videos.

    Liked by 1 person

    • emmareadstoomuch says:

      that’s the thing, on top of everything else: THIS BOOK BE BORING!! i would have dnfed for that reason alone if i weren’t so stubborn and hateful.

      & i know, right?? adults have LIVES and FEELINGS and RESPONSIBILITIES. it’s not like the second you leave adolescence you go from this pretentious peter pan angelic creature of perfection to vapid evil monster. people are people. just the strangest thing

      Like

  6. Ayunda says:

    Wow, such a very in-depth review of a book, hahaha! You should’ve known not to read this book if you know you don’t like an author. I personally think this is a solid good book. I liked the writing and the friendship, the characters were well written and of course the representation was very good.
    However everyone has their own opinions and I totally understand where you’re coming from. Hope next time you just don’t pick up any of his books anymore instead of torturing yourself like this 😀

    Like

    • emmareadstoomuch says:

      i do explain why i read this book/why i continue to pick john green up and that ultimately i’m planning for this to be my last book of his. i am glad you liked this book more than i did

      Liked by 1 person

  7. may says:

    emma roasting john green books is the only constant in my life and im HERE FOR IT

    gosh, i love how in depth your reviews go, can you like, teach seminars on how to review books plz and thanks

    Liked by 1 person

    • emmareadstoomuch says:

      THANK YOU it is literally one of the only ways i sustain myself in this cruel cruel world

      the seminar would be “1. have no fun ever and be unable to turn off the dumbass english major portion of your brain and never ever like a book again. 2. enjoy!”

      Liked by 1 person

  8. shai @ cadeunderbooks says:

    LOL I love the way you hate on John Green. I’ve only kind of read TFIOS (a sporking of it) and I just couldn’t believe some of the lines were truly printed. I just found nothing likable about characters that blast all other “cancer books” as being inferior and that any kid who chooses Disney as their Make A Wish wasted it and yada yada this that and the other. Like you said, he glorifies the “weird” to the detriment of the “normal,” whether he really meant to or sees it or not, and that’s just too disheartening in a (YA) book for my taste.

    Liked by 1 person

    • emmareadstoomuch says:

      i totally agree! he makes “normal” people seem stupid or lame or lesser for enjoying what they enjoy and leading the lives they lead. which is always hurtful, but especially so when it’s something like alcoholism (as it is in that quote from Turtles All the Way Down) or literal kids with cancer, as you point out in TFiOS

      Liked by 1 person

  9. bookgraphy says:

    I’m glad you’re not torturing yourself with Green anymore😂💞 I really enjoyed reading the mental illness rep in the book, I believe it’s accurate and he does know what it is like but everything else was just not that great😓 The “mystery” didn’t even feel like one and there were so many things going on at once, I felt overwhelmed😂 I love your review!

    Liked by 1 person

    • emmareadstoomuch says:

      thank you thank you! i totally agree. i know it’s fully unfair to say “i wish this book were an utterly different concept from what it is,” but i do think that if john green had written about his OWN mental illness in a more nonfiction capacity it could have really been something?? alas.

      Like

  10. Samantha Duffy says:

    YESSSSSSSSSSSSS! I read this way back a year ago, and really really disliked it. While I can admit that the mental illness rep was GREAT and authentic and real…the book itself was a sh*t show. The lack of plot really bothered me for some reason, but yeah I really disliked this book and felt super weird about saying how much I hated it because everyone is so in love with John Green…

    Liked by 1 person

  11. aravenclawlibrary says:

    I’m sorry you didn’t love this, Emma. I agree that the plot was kinda eh. But I loved this because it represented my illness (OCD) so well. This book really just made me happy even though the plot sucked. lol.
    Great review, my dear!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. arubunwritten says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post. I gave up after Looking for Alaska, so bravo for ploughing through all of John Green’s novels. I wouldn’t say I have the same kind of vitriolic hatred towards him, but as I said I gave up after one book. I find most of these teen/YA coming of age books pretentious and yeah, ultimately boring, this is not what real life is like! I can’t believe some of those quotes! There is a difference between poetry and pretentiousness!

    Liked by 1 person

    • emmareadstoomuch says:

      thank you!! yeah “vitriolic hatred” is a good way to describe the way i feel about him. i think, on top of everything, he’s done some problematic things that could end another writer’s career and yet he’s still overwhelmingly successful, so that’s a lot of it. also i just hate his writing style so f*cking much

      Like

  13. Becky (Blogs of a Bookaholic) says:

    Oh my god, I am cry-laughing right now AND I WANT TO GIVE YOU THE BIGGEST INTERNET HIGH FIVE. The only John Green novel I’ve read was The Fault in Our Stars, I disliked it immensely for basically all of the reasons you’ve mentioned here. I’d heard such good things about Turtles and because there’s anxiety OCD rep (which I’m very passionate about) I was juuuuusssst starting to think I might give it a go.

    This review has reminded me why I shouldn’t waste my time. THANK YOU.

    Liked by 1 person

    • emmareadstoomuch says:

      OMG THANK YOU

      it truly is devastating b/c the anxiety/OCD rep is absolutely excellent but everything else about this book is one hundred percent john green at his WORST. makes ya wish things could be Different

      Like

  14. Mel says:

    I’m so relieved I’m not the only one who doesn’t get the John Green craze. I just…don’t think he’s that good a writer and Turtles was…not that good. I thought the mental health rep was good, to a degree, and I feel bad about not liking it because it is #ownvoices, but he is not my favorite, so I totally feel this rant.

    Liked by 1 person

    • emmareadstoomuch says:

      definitely not the only one! i do think the mental health rep was excellent and i’ll stand by that even as i hate literally everything else about this book

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Angelica (TheBookCoverGirl) says:

    This review is everything I didn’t know I needed! Surprisingly, this is is the only John Green book that I could actually stand. That’s not saying much since I hated TFIOS, and DNF’d both Paper Towns and Looking For Alaska. Still, I could sort of stand this one more than those, even though the plot was nonsense, the characters were hella bland, and it was overall a generally pretentious pile of crap disguised as wisdom and emotional depth.

    You know what, I might have to reevaluate my thoughts on this book…

    Liked by 1 person

    • emmareadstoomuch says:

      lmaoooo this is my favorite thing ever. thank you!!!

      honestly i think this is my least-least favorite john green book, but like you said, that is Not saying much.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. theworldinprint says:

    I honestly refuse to believe that John Green was ever actually a teenager ?? I’ve not read this one but I did read Paper Towns and thought it was honestly laughable, and I might have read Looking for Alaska but I genuinely can’t guarantee that. So thank you for reassuring me that I can definitely skip this one (and every future one too)

    Liked by 1 person

  17. gamer says:

    so i’ve read literally all of john green’s books up til tfios because then i stopped being 13 and realized he wasn’t actually deep and also that he was really annoying (and sexist/homophobic/racist but…) and etc and i refuse to even read this one. your roast will do, thank you for hating john green too LOL.

    the wasted potential on discussing ones own mental illness is too real, though. i’m curious to see where you fall on this since you’ve also read and hated all of his books: the #1 thing that sticks with me about john green is that i feel paper towns could’ve been a half-decent book that deconstructs the manic pixie dream girl, it could’ve been about the girl finding herself and getting AWAY from a boy who wants to juice her for his own emotional growth, if only she got fleshed out more and and turned him down when he found her instead of the other way around. alas… boring middle aged men will be boring middle aged men.

    Liked by 1 person

    • emmareadstoomuch says:

      OMG YES. i once got in a huge debate with this person over the fact that Paper Towns pretends it’s deconstructing the concept of a manic pixie dream girl…but margot IS a manic pixie dream girl. john green is too stuck in his own brain, with his own biases, to realize he’s writing the things he’s trying to portray himself as being against???

      Like

  18. Karson H says:

    hellooooo

    so I have been following your GR reviews for a while since I discovered one and was like “what up what up this is my vibe more please” and also truly fork JG/TFiOS bc garbage. I remember truly liking Paper Towns in middle school but certainly my taste was questionable at the time so I’m trying to decide if I should revisit and determine if I still vaguely enjoy it or go through the torture of reliving another JG book. I’ll have to check out your review of it to inform this decision. aaanyway I majorly appreciate that you don’t just go “this book sucks and JG sucks and everything is garbage goodbyeeeeee” and fly away on your, um, skateboard (please for the love of all that is Mike tell me you watch 30 Rock & get that reference bc if not you are missing out on one of the greatest shows and sources of comedy gold and also I don’t really know you but it feels like your vibe. okay cool product placement over). you really give an honest and thorough review that both informs and prevents me from having to read it myself, in addition to being hilarious. I happened to go through the comments on this review on GR (somehow why) and I literally couldn’t stop myself from reading bc the number of comments about the cover/title meaning/why-u-read-this-if-u-no-like-JG (I truly can’t bring myself to waste space/typing energy on his full name) was trainwreck-style and they were all so laughable. I will never understand people who don’t get that, like, a review on a *review site* is where you’re supposed to share your own honest opinion and why are you taking the time and energy to comment on someone’s opinion and why must you be hateful. reviews help people determine whether or not to read a book, that’s what they’re for. you and your vitriol help no one.

    ok I have been typing for way too long and apologies for the massive comment but I really wanted to share these thoughts that have been building up since I read your reviews and those comments and just say, I honestly appreciate what you’re doing and I know you don’t need my support but fork those guys (also you should be watching The Good Place) and keep doing you, bruh.

    (additionally you are one of the factors in my finally deciding to start a blog after many moons of internal debate and I truly cannot think of a better compliment I could give you)

    Liked by 1 person

    • emmareadstoomuch says:

      YOU’RE AMAZING.

      and of course i’m watching the Good Place.

      i will never in a hundred million years understand why people read negative reviews of books they love??? esp if their intent is to comment meanly on them??? but whatever people live how they wanna

      thanks pal this is so so kind and congrats on the blog omg!!! i am letting all of this go straight to my head and my ego is somehow even bigger now ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Karson H says:

        i mean, straight truth. people are nuts.

        and if it’s not already, 30 Rock has got to be next on your to-watch list. SO GOOD

        thank you! please, it should go to your head, spread your light and kindness and comedy across the internet and tune out the nutcases

        Liked by 1 person

      • emmareadstoomuch says:

        30 Rock is simply divine. and omg THANK YOU for the support, i will force my voice and unpopular opinions on people across the internet

        Like

  19. Karson H says:

    ALSO (again, apologies)
    I was hate-enjoying reading all those comments on your review until I read a response you posted to someone Green-splaining (is this a term we can create? should it be less specifically JG and more generic your-opinion-is-wrong centered? opinion-splaining? help) the turtles to you. I laughed out loud and then had to screenshot but obviously can’t share it here so I’ll just quote it. someone said something about “this is where the turtles are in the book” and you said

    “the turtles are everywhere. they’re all the way down”

    and I DIED

    thank you and goodnight

    Liked by 1 person

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