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Entertainment Weekly

Books

Everything we know about John Green's new book

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John Green, the acclaimed author of massively popular YA novels like Paper Towns and Looking for Alaska, has announced that his next book will hit shelves this October — his first novel since 2012’s The Fault in Our Stars. Here’s everything we know so far about his long-awaited return:

Title
Turtles All the Way Down

Plot
Though the title might suggest a focus on the hard-shelled animals, publisher Dutton Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers, says the novel “begins with a fugitive billionaire and a cash reward. It is about lifelong friendship, the intimacy of an unexpected reunion, Star Wars fan fiction, and tuatara. But at its heart is Aza Holmes, a young woman navigating daily existence within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.” The16-year-old protagonist grapples with mental illness as she investigates the disappearance of the billionaire.

Background
In 2015, Green admitted on Reddit that he has obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety, writing, “I’ve known that I have this mental illness for a long time, and I’ve had a lot of therapy and learned a lot of strategies for dealing with my illness.”

In a statement from the publisher, Green said, “This is my first attempt to write directly about the kind of mental illness that has affected my life since childhood, so while the story is fictional, it is also quite personal.”

What that title means

The phrase “turtles all the way down” is an expression used to illustrate a logical problem in cosmology, the study of the origins and fate of the universe. In an oft-used anecdote, a professor tries to explain the solar system, only to have someone in the audience argue in favor of the ancient myth suggesting the earth is flat and rests on the back of a giant World Turtle. The professor asks what the turtle is standing on, and the audience member says it’s on the back of another turtle. Attempting to show the logical problem with the myth, the professor asks what’s beneath the second turtle. The audience member humorously responds, “It’s turtles all the way down.”

What is a tuatara?
Short answer: the biggest reptile in New Zealand. Long answer can be found here. In the meantime, here’s a picture:

Minden Pictures/Getty Images

Where Green announced the book
If you’re an avid Green reader, you probably know that he and his brother, Hank, host a popular YouTube series called The VlogbrothersThe author took advantage of his appearance at VidCon on Thursday to let the world know about Turtles, saying, “In the last two years I have been able to work consistently on a story, and it’s been really great. It’s been really fun — hard, but fun.”

Release date
Oct. 10, 2017

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