Synopsis: (as told by the back of the book)
Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.
Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.
I was disappointed by John Green’s return to the fiction scene. The portrayal of anxiety and OCD in this book is fascinating and I later found myself thinking about the fact that I’m not sure I’ve ever read a book where the first person narrator suffers from OCD. Green illustrates well how that voice inside Aza’s head is constantly interfering with her life, how omnipresent and uncontrollable her compulsions are.
But the rest of the plot feels like an afterthought – the mystery of the disappearance of Russell Pickett is hardly developed and the conclusion is extremely predictable. Daisy, Aza’s best friend, is a caricature of a person. The dialogue between these characters feels pretentious and not truthful to who they are – they may be smart kids, but their manner of speaking went too far. Especially when it comes to the romance. An example of the text messages between Aza and Davis:
Me: You’re not your money.
Him: Then what am I? What is anyone?
Me: I is the hardest word to define.
Him: Maybe you are what you can’t not be.
I truly feel Green was headed in the right direction of exploring a mental illness that affects every aspect of daily life, but the other elements of the story were sloppily assembled around that premise. I honestly would have preferred that the B-plot of Russell be eliminated in favor of more character development for Davis and Daisy. Additionally, the pacing felt off. Despite how quickly I read it, it felt like it moved extremely slowly.
Interested in this book? Buy it here on Amazon or find it at your local bookstore. And then let’s chat about it.