Reviews provided by Syndetics
Publishers Weekly Review
Like many of Green's characters, Aza Holmes is whip smart, articulate, and tortured by worry. When she was eight, her father succumbed to a heart attack while mowing the lawn. Now 16, Aza takes meds (irregularly) to treat anxiety, which is manifesting in increasingly self-destructive ways. Her problems amplify when she reconnects with Davis, a boy she met years earlier at "Sad Camp," where both had gone to grieve their recently deceased parents. Now Davis's billionaire father is missing, running from a warrant for his arrest. Aza's best friend Daisy, in a classic sidekick role, pressures Aza to contact Davis, hoping they'll learn something about the disappearance-and maybe get a cut of the $100,000 reward. The reunion leads to romance, until Aza's anxiety won't allow it. Green's first novel since The Fault in Our Stars is another heartbreaker, full of intelligent questions. It's also a very writerly book, as Aza frames a lot of the questions she asks herself in literary terms. Am I a fiction? Who is in charge of my story? Why do we describe pain with the language of metaphor? Because of this, it's tempting to conflate Aza the character with her author, who has been open about his own mental illness. But readers need not know where the line is between the two to feel for someone trapped in an irrational, fear-driven spiral. In an age where troubling events happen almost weekly, this deeply empathetic novel about learning to live with demons and love one's imperfect self is timely and important. Ages 14-up. Agent: Jodi Reamer, Writers House. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal Review
Gr 9 Up-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 best seller; in preparation, libraries should acquire multiple copies in all formats.-Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon, Washington, DC © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
*Starred Review* It's here: the eagerly awaited new novel by John Green, and not to milk the suspense it's superb. High-school junior Aza has an obsessive fear of being infected with the bacteria Clostridium difficile (C. diff), which can be fatal. Her fear has become obsession, plaguing her with intrusives, thoughts that take over her mind, making her feel that she is not the author of her own life. She does, however, have a life: her father is dead; her mother is a teacher; her best friends are Mychal, a gifted artist, and Daisy, a well-known Star Wars fan-fiction author. To their trio is added Davis, whom Aza had known when they were 11. Davis' billionaire father has decamped, pursued by the police, leaving Davis and his younger brother parentless (their mother is dead) and very much on their own. How will the friends cope with all this? And how will Aza cope with her own problems? Green, a master of deeply felt material, handles all of this with aplomb. With its attention to ideas and trademark introspection, it's a challenging but richly rewarding read. It is also the most mature of Green's work to date and deserving of all the accolades that are sure to come its way. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The only question is, how many shelves worth of copies can your library fit? You'll need all of them.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2017 Booklist
Kirkus Book Review
Nerdfighter Green's latest takes readers through Indianapolis and the human biome.Aza Holmes doesn't feel like herself. But "if half the cells inside of you are not you, doesn't that challenge the whole notion of me as a singular pronoun?" When a local billionaireand the father of her childhood friend, a white boy named Davisdisappears, Aza (who seems to be white) and her BFF, Daisy Ramirez (who is cued as Latina), plot to find him and claim the reward, amid rumors of corruption and an underexplored side plot about semi-immortal reptiles. The story revolves around anxious Aza's dissociation from her body and life. Daisy chatters about Star Wars fan fiction (and calls Aza "Holmesy" ad nauseam), and Davis monologues about astronomy, while Aza obsesses over infection, the ever present, self-inflicted wound on her finger, and whether she's "just a deeply flawed line of reasoning." The thin but neatly constructed plot feels a bit like an excuse for Green to flex his philosophical muscles; teenagers questioning the mysteries of consciousness can identify with Aza, while others might wish that somethinganythingreally happens. The exploration of Aza's life-threatening compulsions will resonate deeply with some, titillate others, and possibly trigger those in between.Aza would claim that opinions about this book are unfairly influenced by "the gut-brain informational cycle," which makes it hard to say what anyone else will thinkbut this is the new John Green; people will read this, or not, regardless of someone else's gut flora. (Fiction. 14-18) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.