Turtles All the Way Down by John Green [in School Library Journal]
With her name, Aza’s dad bestowed her with possibility: “It spans the whole alphabet, because we wanted to let you know you can be anything.” Davis’s father “made [him] a junior. Resigned [him] to juniority.” The two teens have little in common – Davis is absurdly rich and lives in a staffed mansion, Aza is unsure how her mother will pay for college – but they share a brief past that overlapped at 11. They’ve also both lost fathers: Aza’s is dead, Davis’s is missing.
Reunited when Aza and BFF Daisy trespass onto Davis’s compound, Daisy is the first to declare “IT IS TRUE LOVE.” Roadblocks are plenty (tidy endings are never a Green guarantee): Aza battles a debilitating fear of deadly bacteria that makes basic interactions challenging, Daisy has secrets she’s willing to sell, Davis’s brother Noah is not-so-slowly falling apart, and if the worst happens, a tuatara billionaire will become a thing.
Narrator Kate Rudd takes Green’s twisty, turny dramas in stride, crafting individuals – nerves for Aza, resignation for Davis, bouncing energy for Daisy, neediness for Noah – to create a resonating, unforgettable ensemble.
Verdict: Any new Green title means instant bestseller; in preparation, libraries should acquire multiple copies in all formats.
Readers: Young Adult