Turtles All the Way Down, written by the award-winning author John Green, tells the story of a girl named Aza and her struggle with OCD.
This book is incredibly honest and realistic. Nothing is hidden. It is not sugar-coated to make people feel more comfortable. Her anxiety and mental health continue to be unrelenting issues from the beginning to the very end of the book. She doesn’t just “get better” nor does she kill herself despite both of these being incredibly popular in YA books with main characters with mental issues. Her OCD doesn’t get fixed despite how much you want her to get fixed. But that’s the point. She can’t. And despite this, she is still lovely and wonderful and loved. She lives a full and complex life despite her OCD. This representation of mental illness is honest, ugly, sad, disturbing, frustrating but not hopeless. Overall, it is the most authentic representation of mental illness I’ve ever read.
“Your now is not your forever.”
“There is hope, even when your brain tells you there isn’t.”
“The thing about a spiral is, if you follow it inward, it never actually ends. It just keeps tightening, infinitely.”
“It’s so weird, to know you’re crazy and not be able to do anything about it, you know? It’s not like you believe yourself to be normal. You know there is a problem. But you can’t figure a way through to fixing it. Because you can’t be sure, you know?”