Book Reviews, Writing

Turtles all the way down

Book 16 of 2018: Turtles all the way down, by John Green.

After reading The Fault in our Stars last year and becoming completely obsessed with the story, I went on to read Paper Towns (then watch the movie) and then bought Will Grayson, Will Grayson. I am in love with the way John writes. I know he’s aiming at a younger audience but his words are so moving, simple to read, yet his messages are so important in teaching us how to deal with the world. Especially as a young reader.

Whilst I was desperate to reasd Turtles all the way down as soon as it was published, I was on a book ban because of the move to China, plus a little short of cash pre-Christmas. Thankfully, it was on a 99p ‘deal of the day’ on iBooks last week and I nabbed it immediately.

I couldn’t put my iPad down. I was reading until late into the night, reading on the bus, reading during my break time and a sneaky read during ‘quiet reading’ in class this week. I loved it. It had a real charm. It was soulful and sad, beautiful and heartbreaking all at once.

I can’t get enough of John’s books and I will have to start Will Grayson in the next few days.

What’s even better is that my students also love his books. I gave my second copy of The Fault in our Stars to one of my students and she’s thoroughly enjoying it, and another girl has read all of his books in Spanish, and is now moving on to the English version of Looking for Alaska. It’s fantastic.

John’s writing inspired me to write a little piece of my own – please don’t be too harsh on me, it’s only a quick scrawl to get my thoughts onto the paper but I thought I’d share it anyway. Here goes…

Ayala wasn’t real, but Aza was. The resemblance between the two were unmistakable. My best friend had turned me into some sort of monster. How could she does this to me??

Aza’s friend Daisy had undoubtedly betrayed her trust, their friendship, by putting a real-life Aza on the internet for the world to read about.

I’m going to be sick. I’m going to be sick. I’m going to be sick.

Her own mental health was just a platform for everyone else’s entertainment. A source of jokes and giggles over how ‘crazy’ Aza was. Now Daisy had taken it to a whole other level. The source of her increasingly popular fan-fiction was her. Aza. Her own best friend. Thousands of people read Daisy’s stories and know they all know that she’s best friends with an absolute lunatic. A sad, useless friend.

Gel. Get the gel. The thoughts will turn into bacteria and poison your brain. You only need a handful to get rid of the germs. There we go. Shit that hurts. 

Burning the lining of her throat and creating an instant, repulsive feeling of nausea, Aza couldn’t help but take another gulp of anti-bacterial gel. Just in case the thoughts actually became toxic and poisoned her.

You’re crazy, Aza, but you’re taking this too far. You know your own thoughts aren’t going to poison you. Or, are they?




You’re not ready.

If the silver slice returned to this pale white skin, the unpredictable damage would merely reject you. Drag you further away from this crumpled mess of defeat.

Let the blade draw back the curtains that mask the demons within this crimson river. Flowing through the channels of insanity, the unconscious poison winding within the blood stream.

Pumping through withering veins, infecting a battered heart and snaking through this brain. A crimson sludge leaving traces of decay along every passageway throughout this bludgeoned body.

Each echoing heartbeat is merely a reminder that he let you live, forcing you to revisit those late nights where you once had no escape except to play dead. Let him get in your head. He’s got you under the thumb ready to strike the second you move, just pray you stay numb.

An escape bolted shut. The windows too high. Before you hit the floor those sickening tears line his cheeks, as if pumped from thin air, where’d they come from? No one cares. He’s waiting. Staking out the next victim, lining up his words, as if reaching for an Oscar, he’d have a handful sooner than Leo made his first.

Instead of him on the stage let’s bring back that old blade, like the sun on the sea it’s catching each light, like a glimmer of hope that still wants you to fight. Those brown eyes refusing to burn out, anticipating the day your heart sets on fire, waiting for the one who will gift you desire.

If the blood breaks through the dam of your skin, build it back up before you let him win. Your heart and your soul were not his to claim, but each blow knocked them out of you, with no end to the pain. There’s only one option when it’s time to recover, pull the gun from your temple and hold on for another. The pain won’t last for as long as you might, but his pride goes unharmed if you won’t kick back and fight.

Your place is reserved on earth and in space, no one can remove you once you’ve set your own pace. Let each thought meander through the stream in your head, cast aside the danger that lays in your hands, you’re not ready for the end, so mind how you tread.


Rhyming rubbish.

If there’s ever a day that I don’t compare

to you or her, or even any

theres something wrong, I won’t be all there.

its a daily ritual I can’t put to bed.

a mind-fucking curse, a poison in my head

where I’m desperately reaching for someone who’ll care.

destructive and damaged, with emotions too many

where I’ll push you away when in reality I want you here.



Is it worth me apologising, for not playing it cool?
Stumbling over words, I just sound like a fool.
Your strength provides distance I can’t comprehend,
But my bruised heart, I need someone to mend.
I’ve tried loving myself, repairing each little crack,
But with no one by my side, the confidence I still lack.
I’m sorry I fell like crazy for you,
I can see now, that I just won’t do.
Should I run for the hills, the mountains, the sea,
For you it’s not worse, if you’re not near me.


Let me in?

These thoughts keep whirring through my mind,
Red alert typhoon of negativity.
Tape up the windows and barricade your doors.
This mind is on the path to destruction.

Saturday’s self-loathing is never enough.
It’ll eat through my skin and into my veins.
Your words only scratch the surface of this.
The question is, will you keep talking?

You showed up with your overflowing confidence,
and a kindness that doesn’t kill.
Your words could heal,
but will you let me in?