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Publishers Weekly Review
Voice actor Rudd sensitively portrays the protagonist of Green's latest novel, Aza Holmes, a 16-year-old with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Aza's mind is constantly crowded with anxiety and intrusive thoughts about germs and infection, which makes navigating the trials of high school no easy task. Luckily she has a best friend, Daisy, who helps keep her mind at ease. When the girls receive word that billionaire Russell Pickett left town to avoid arrest on criminal charges, and that there's a $100,000 reward for information about his whereabouts, Daisy convinces Aza that finding Pickett is just the distraction she needs. Along the way, Aza strikes up a friendship with Pickett's son, Davis, whom she had previously known at camp, and they form a bond despite their respective problems. Rudd speeds up the pace to show the overwhelming flood of thoughts that fill Aza's mind. She also captures the panic Aza feels and her frustrations with her condition as she becomes attracted to Davis. Rudd tops off the performance with a slew of memorable voices for the other characters-Aza's concerned mother, her coolly professional psychiatrist, and especially her chatterbox friend Daisy. Rudd's excellent, empathetic narration adds to the appeal of this psychologically complex, character-driven novel. Ages 14-up. A Dutton hardcover. (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.