📚 Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Available purchase options for this title (via affiliate links) are located below this review. Purchasing through them helps keep The Audiobookworm going. Learn more here.

Goodreads⎮Reviewed Nov. 2017

Narrator: Kate Rudd
Length7 hrs and 12 mins
Publisher: Listening Library⎮2017

Synopsis: It all begins with a fugitive billionaire and the promise of a cash reward.

Turtles All the Way Down is about lifelong friendship, the intimacy of an unexpected reunion, Star Wars fan fiction, and tuatara. But at its heart is Aza Holmes, a young woman navigating daily existence within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

In his long-awaited return, John Green shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity.


4.75 ★ Audiobook⎮ I love John Green books. I just do. Turtles All the Way Down has reaffirmed that. It has made me want to go on a John Green binge and listen to all of his remaining titles that I have yet to hear.

I’m ranking Turtles All the Way Down as my second favorite John Green novel thus far, after Paper Towns. I agree that Green has breathed new life into the young adult contemporary genre. His writing is philosophical without being patronizing. The existentialist within me revels in Green’s writing. And it is so very quotable. For example, “If only I were as good at life as I am at the internet.” I need that on a T-shirt or a mug or something.

Or something deeper like, “Every loss is unprecedented. You can’t ever know someone else’s hurt, not really – just like touching someone else’s body isn’t the same as having someone else’s body.” I had to pause the audiobook but after hearing that and just reflect on it for a few moments. It kind of blew me away. Green’s writing is so beautifully profound, yet still relatable. He manages to put words to things that I’ve felt, that we’ve all probably felt, but have been unable to properly describe.

As for the story itself, Turtles All the Way Down was very different from the other John Green stories I’ve heard in the past. I really enjoyed Aza as a protagonist, but especially her interactions with the other characters. I was able to relate with Aza to a certain extent. After that, it was just empathy all the way. I think that’s what I love most about John Green’s writing: He makes me feel human. Like, really human. His characters evoke compassion, sympathy, empathy, and even a sense of vulnerability from the reader. They help me get in touch with the inner humanity that connects us all and better appreciate the human experience.

Aza was so multidimensional that she practically came to life for me. She didn’t feel like just a character in a book. She felt so real and my heart ached for wanting to reach out to her. In my opinion, Aza was Green’s best character yet. She was flawed, yet endearing. It was her flaws that made her so relatable. Aza was portrayed in a way that allowed the reader to be able to appreciate her struggle, even without having first-hand experience of it. Even more, Aza’s anxiety disorder was not used to portray a sense of “alluring individuality”. Green has come a long way from writing “manic pixie girls”.

Narration review: At this point, I think Kate Rudd is my most listened to narrator of all time. If that’s not an overwhelming endorsement, I don’t know what is. It’s not even that I’m actively seeking out her books anymore. But every time I turnaround, BAM! There she is. And you know what? I’m just fine with that. She deserves every bit of it. Needless to say, Rudd hit another homerun with Turtles All the Way Down. Brava, Madam. ♣︎
$ Available at Audible/Amazon

Let me know what you think!