John Green has written six novels, but his latest book, Turtles All the Way Down, will be his first published work in six years. His last novel was The Fault in Our Stars, which was turned into a movie by the same name. In recent days, John has spoken about the reasons for the long period of time between books, as well as some personal struggles, some of which show up in Turtles All the Way Down.
Green’s latest work is about 16-year-old Aza Holmes, who is trying to solve the mysterious disappearance of a fugitive billionaire while trying to navigate through her mental illness. That navigation is something the YA author has dealt with for most of his life. He has been very open in recent years about his struggles with obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety. He had this to say in the press release about his latest book.
“I’ve been working on Turtles All the Way Down for years, and I’m so excited to share it with readers this October. 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.”
In a video posted to vlogbrothers (a YouTube vlog he hosts with his brother, Hank) in September, he talked about the pressures of writing after the highly successful The Fault in Our Stars which sold over 23 million copies worldwide.
So what’s up with the title of the book? What does it mean? It’s a sort of philosophical joke. As explained by Evolving Thoughts, the true origin of the phrase isn’t known, but all versions of its origination story have the same basic conversation in common. A scientist (or in some cases, a religious leader) was speaking to a group of people about how Earth rotates around the sun. Someone in the audience stands up and tells him he’s lying, that Earth is flat and is sitting on the back of an enormous turtle. The speaker asks the audience member what the turtle is standing on, and they reply with, “It’s turtles all the way down.”
— BNCliftonCommons (@BNCliftonCommon) June 22, 2017
How is that relevant to John Green’s novel? That is a mystery, but maybe it means that the book will explore some subjects like faith vs. science. John is a self-proclaimed Christian who has also said that he doesn’t agree with everything Christianity teaches.
Dutton-Penguin Books will publish Turtles All the Way Down on October 10. It will have a first print run of 1.5 million copies. John Green will sign 200,000 of those copies.
Update: John has posted a new short video to vlogbrothers in which he talks about his book briely. Check it out.
[Featured Image by Cooper Neill/Getty Images]