Hazel and Katniss and Harry and Starr Podcast: Turtles All The Way Down

The logo for Hazel & Katniss & Harry & Starr podcast: an orange box with the words written in white fontHazel & Katniss & Harry & Starr is a weekly Canadian podcast about young adult literature, their film and television adaptations, and everything in between. Now in its sixth season, the podcast—hosted by film critic Joe Lipsett and English professor Brenna Clarke-Gray—aims to highlight the cultural worth of young adult and middle-grade texts, with a focus on Canadian, Indigenous and minority creatives and stories.

Join us weekly for deep dives, as well as a round of YA BINGO.

Book 6, Chapter 34: Turtles All The Way Down

Brenna and Joe discuss John Green’s last YA novel Turtles All The Way Down (2017) and its 2024 adaptation by Hannah Marks. C/W: self-harm.

This is a tough read because of its visceral depiction of OCD, but we love the friendship between Aza and Daisy. Meanwhile, the long in-development film does a great job of visually capturing the intrusive thought spirals, though Brenna is unimpressed with a new character who steals Daisy’s best bits.


Read on for more about this week’s episode from co-host Joe Lipsett:

I often feel like Realist YA is less popular than Fantasy/Dystopian YA (see: the gross for any The Hunger Games title compared to, say, John Green’s biggest hit, The Fault in Our Stars).

Intimate, personal stories will always be a harder sell to audiences than blockbusters. This is why I’m surprised that Green’s final YA novel was even turned into a film; the subject matter is extremely confronting, which makes the audience for this property quite niche.

Brenna and I have covered all of Green’s adaptations, including the aforementioned TFioS, as well as Paper Towns, TV series  Looking for Alaska and even his entry in the anthology Let It Snow. I’ll admit that he’s not my fave author, partially because his authorial voice comes off as inauthentic to me and his male protagonists are grating.

Turtles is quite different though. It’s more personal, more mature, and it doesn’t rely on romance to carry the narrative. If this truly is Green’s last work of YA fiction, it’s a strong title to go out on. -JL


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