In June, best-selling author John Green announced his latest and most personal novel to date, Turtles All the Way Down — his first release in six years. It's narrated by 16-year-old Aza Holmes, a young woman "looking for clues in the disappearance of a fugitive billionaire, while grappling with mental illness." While Turtles All the Way Down won't hit bookshelves until October 10, 2017, Green treated Nerdfighters to the first chapter of the book, which he read in full and posted to the vlogbrothers YouTube page on Tuesday.
Turtles All The Way Down opens in a high school cafeteria, where our protagonist Aza sits anxiously, stuck in the middle of a thought spiral. "Admittedly, I have some anxiety problems, but I would argue it isn't irrational to be concerned about the fact that you're a skin-encased bacterial colony," she says.
We also meet Aza's plucky best friend, Daisy Ramirez, whose life motto is "break hearts, not promises." It's a little too early to tell, but Daisy might be one of my favorite John Green characters of all time — and not just because she's obsessed with Star Wars.
The first chapter reads like a stream of consciousness, which exemplifies Aza's own anxiety. Green has been candid about his own struggles with anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder, commonly known as OCD, in the past. He's been an outspoken advocate for the destigmatization of mental illness and chronic medical conditions for years, and his openness has helped his legion of fans and fellow Nerdfighters recognize that there's no shame in living with mental illness.
"Anybody can look at you," Green reads in Aza's narration. "It's quite rare to find someone who sees the same world you see."
I'm not crying, you're crying!!!