OMG, it’s happening! Fans have been waiting 5 years for young adult author John Green to publish a new book, and now that wait is finally over. His new novel, Turtles All the Way Down, comes out October 10th (with Dutton Books for Young Readers), and it’s already dominating all the pre-order charts.
Green’s last book, The Fault in Our Stars, became in international sensation and a hit movie starring Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort. About teens falling in love as they struggle with life-threatening cancer, the novel reached the kind of popularity that most authors only dream of. But Green is used to fame – in addition to being an award-winning author, he’s also one half of the crazy popular Youtube channel, the vlogbrothers, which he runs with his brother Hank (who, incidentally, also has his first novel coming out next year.)
If you’re a fan of Green – which we most definitely are!! – then this novel is a Big. Deal. It also promises to deliver on the classic Green-cocktail: using humor and likable characters to dive into serious and sensitive topics. Turtles All the Way down is about Aza, a 16-year-old who struggles with obsessive compulsive disorder. Aza and her best friend set out to find a reclusive billionaire, with plenty of adventures along the way.
The title, in true John Green fashion, refers to a philosophical concept that’s used to explain the cosmological theory of the infinite regress problem. We’ll just trust that Green knows what that all means, because we sure don’t. The fictional book is also personal for Green, who announced in a press release that, “this is my first attempt to write directly about the kind of mental illness that has affected my life since childhood.”
As far as we’re concerned, October 10th can’t come soon enough. But in the meantime, we’re diving into 3 young adult novels that explore themes similar to Turtles. Check out these titles while you’re waiting (very impatiently) for the new Green book to finally hit shelves:
Sparrow, Sarah Moon (October 10, 2017)
In Moon’s thoughtful new young adult novel, Sparrow is a teen struggling to find her place in the world. Lonely and isolated, she finds solace in a beloved teacher who shares her love of books and stories. But when that teacher dies in a sudden accident, it rocks Sparrow’s fragile sense of self. Now even more isolated, she turns to a comfort she’s always been able to rely on – the birds she idolizes and the roof of the school where she can watch them fly. She can’t explain that to her classmates though, especially when they find her on the edge of the roof in what looks like a suicide attempt. It’s not until Sparrow starts seeing a therapist that she begins to dive deeper into the truth of that moment and the isolation that has plagued her all her life.
Kat and Meg Conquer the World, Anna Priemaza (November 7, 2017)
About two friends who discover kindred spirits in each other, Priemaza’s upcoming novel is both touching and funny (the John Green specialty!). Kat and Meg are teens who seem like polar opposites – Kat is an introvert who prefers to be alone, while Meg loves being surrounded by family and friends. But both struggle with their inner life in a way that’s immediately familiar. For Kat, her anxiety is so severe that it makes it difficult to interact with the outside world. For Meg, her ADHD is starting to affect her ability to make and keep relationships. After being forced together for a school project, the two bond over their mutual love of gaming. And while their personalities differ in huge ways, they find a true friendship in each other that promises to help both of them learn how to cope with the world around them.
Every Last Word, Tamara Ireland Stone (June 16, 2015)
Stone’s 2015 novel also tackles the subject of obsessive compulsive disorder, and how it affects the life of teen Samantha. Her Purely Obsessional OCD takes the form of dark thoughts that she can’t shake, obsessive fears and worries that consume her mind. But as one of the most popular girls in her class, Sam struggles with how to hide her inner obsessions from her capricious, and sometimes-cruel, group of friends. When she meets fellow teen Caroline, Sam is instantly drawn into her world, including the Poet’s Corner – a secret society for misfits and artists. Now Sam has more than just her OCD to hide from her popular friends, even as she starts to find a home in poetry and in the sensitive, guitar-playing AJ. But a shocking twist in the narrative makes it clear that Sam is struggling with more than she lets on, rocking her world and making her question everything.