First, this review is sort of temporary so I can get my thoughts out before they fade away. I’ll probably be re-reading soon. I want to have a better chance to digest it, since the first time I read it over Thanksgiving weekend, I had my mom and sister and their HGTV/Hallmark Christmas movie obsession as a constant in the background and it was very distracting. I always have these grand plans of reading and writing over Thanksgiving weekend, and it NEVER happens because my family are illiterate heathens. Also, we’re doing this for my next IRL book club and I want it to be fresh in my mind when we discuss it.
So this is not my favorite John Green book, that’s still Paper Towns. (I’ve read all of them now excepting Will Grayson, Will Grayson.) But I very much liked it. The only things that gave me a blip in my enjoyment were the things featured that I’d already heard him talk about, either on a Vlogbrothers video or his podcast, Dear Hank and John (which is one of my favorite podcasts.) So the impact of the coolness of those things was lessened, because they felt like repeats.
The insight into the mind of a person with a serious mental illness was fascinating, and sort of devastating. I don’t know how much of his own experiences John put into this book, but my guess is a lot. If so, wow. It doesn’t show on the outside. It makes me grateful that my own OCD is slight and manageable without medication.
Aza was a fascinating protagonist. I loved the way that her mental state messed with the traditional structure of a mystery novel/YA novel narrative. You expect certain things when a character sets out to find another missing character (the plot centers around Aza and her best friend Daisy setting out to try and find clues about the missing billionaire whose son Aza used to know for a $100k reward), or meets a cute boy she used to know a long time ago and sparks fly (said billionaire’s son). I liked the way those expectations were undermined and replaced with something else. I also really liked the way friendship was portrayed here, with neither Daisy or Aza being the easiest of people to be friends with, and the ways that does and doesn’t matter.
I think I really just need to read it again to see what else I can get out of it.