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I'm really glad I got around to reading this, and I read as part of a postal book club with some book buddies. I may well have skipped this mega-popular book (I like rebelling like that) unless we had picked it, and I hadn't actually read any John Green before either. It was such a hyped book (what's with the turtles? the spiral on the cover?), that I was immediately suspicious, so I'm happy to say it was so much better than I expected it to be.
Since so many people in the book world HAVE read it, I won't summarize the premise, but I will speak a bit about the topic of mental illness, since that's the core issue at hand within the novel. Because of my own past struggles with mental illness (particularly depression and anxiety, including intrusive thoughts, which the main character Aza has severe issues with), I connected strongly with the story and Aza. I too suffered some loss and struggled with grief. I personally sought out help from Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and tried countless medications, all of which was so vivid in my mind when reading, and I remembered my old battles of the past quite well. I wanted to reach out and be the chorus to tell Aza that she would indeed survive this.
Aza was extremely blessed to have fierce love from her mom and her best friend Daisy, and while I appreciate the inner look at the battle against the illness, there are no names put on it, nor many distinct solutions pursued. The extreme societal stigma surrounding mental illness is also not discussed; is this a good or necessary thing? I couldn't decide. Maybe there wasn't a place for it here.
I loved the character Davis, and I loved the connections in this book. Overall, I'm happy I read this and loved the look at Aza's struggle and the bravery it takes to write about this topic, but the message is that there is hope, and that there is help. I have TOO much to say about this stuff so I'll shut up about it now!
PS. I'm glad no turtles were harmed in the writing of this novel.