This story focuses on Aza Holmes, a high school girl struggling with debilitating anxiety. She struggles to get through each day as she navigates her high school career, trying to feel as normal as possible but internally battling with her demon. Along with Aza, we meet her best friend, Daisy, and an old friend that becomes a new friend, Davis. We get a walk inside Aza’s head as she wages a war against herself and the urges in her head telling her to do things that she may not want to do, but feels like she has to do.
This story hits home for me. While I did not struggle with anxiety like Aza’s in high school, I struggled (and still struggle) with it after I had my kiddo. Every second of every day, a fight of reality vs. anxiety/depression, and John Green captured this battle perfectly with an insiders look on how anxiety can run a person’s life. “True terror isn’t being scared; it’s not having a choice on the matter.” Oh, how right you are, Mr. Green.
Aza’s anxiety, albeit a bit extreme, really gave us a look into the world of mental illness in a way that few young adult contemporary novels can. I loved how Green made Aza’s character acknowledge her illness and attempt to mentally fight with it, because that’s the reality for so many people.