2018, Books, reading, reviews

Turtles All the Way Down Review

Author: John Green
Title: Turtles All the Way Down
Published: 2017
Country: USA
Genre: YA Contemporary

Synopsis: Aza, a teenager with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and her friend Daisy, are intent on solving the case for the mysteriously disappeared billionaire, and collect the $100,000 reward. It gets complicated when Davis, the billionaire’s son, and Aza, become romantically involved.

I wasn’t sure if I would like this book to begin with, but then again, I loved The Fault in Our Stars and decided to give it a shot – I am so glad that I did! Aza is a deeply troubled and distraught character but that’s what makes her real. She has real problems and real concerns that arise from every day situations that life throws at her, and her struggle to survive with OCD is as much part of the story as the actual story of finding the missing father. Inspired by John Green’s own OCD experience, it felt very genuine and made the story believable.

I was sucked into the book and spit back out a mess. I felt for Aza – I don’t have OCD but my anxiety made me feel for her. It wasn’t an easy story to read and had some very out of control parts. I felt for her friends Daisy and Davis; I felt for her mom and her counselor who want to help her; and I felt for John Green as he poured so much of his own demons into this book.

If you want something different, something not entirely happy or sad, then pick this one up. But prepare yourself for the feels and then go read The Fault in Our Stars for some more emotional torture!

The book appears to be getting a movie adaptation! Not a ton is known about it yet, but here’s an article: https://variety.com/2019/film/news/hannah-marks-turtles-all-the-way-down-movie-1203105786/

2018, Books, reviews

Far From the Tree Review

Title: Far From the Tree
Published: 2017
Author: Robin Benway
Country: United States
Genres: YA Contemporary

Synopsis: We follow the three stories by three teens who were all given up by their birth mother and find out they are related and form friendships.

Grace is 16 and was adopted as a baby and just gave birth to her own daughter that she gave up for adoption.

Joaquin is 17 and was placed in foster care after he was taken from his mom as a toddler and now lives with a family who want to adopt him.

Maya is 15 and was adopted as a baby right before her adoptive parents found out they were having their own biological child – something she’s struggled with accepting as she grows up.

The underlying plot of family, love, friendship and trust are well developed and the story definitely tugs at your heartstrings. I enjoyed the story and although it did not make me cry (like it did for my buddy reading partner), I can imagine that anyone who’s grown up outside of a “typical” family ideal could find themselves in any of the characters and be profoundly impacted by the stories. 

Each story sheds light on the different life paths these three kids are on and how they interconnect once they meet. The book alternates between each of their viewpoints and does a good job of letting the reader into the mind of each teen and how they are struggling or dealing with situations based on their own experiences.

It wasn’t a mind blowing story for me and I don’t think I’ll remember it in the future, but it’s still a decent YA contemporary. I didn’t care for some of the writing style and the characters but I think that’s more personal preference than anything the author did wrong. Contemporaries, especially YA, are not my jam, so I am not surprised I wasn’t blown away by this.