Turtles All the Way Down is John Green’s first novel in six years, and with the pressure to followup The Fault in Our Stars, the author read a short preview on his YouTube channel on Tuesday.

The book opens with an epitaph from Arthur Schopenhauer: “Man can do what he wills, but he cannot will what he wills,” and is narrated by 16-year-old Aza Holmes, whom Green stated in the initial announcement is a character who struggles with mental illness.

“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,” Green reads in Aza’s narration.

Turtles All the Way Down opens with Aza in the school cafeteria, trying to remain calm while eating and sitting with her best friend Daisy at the lunch table. Overstimulated by the cafeteria and the food, Aza goes into a “thought spiral,” stream-of-conscious concerns reminiscent of Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.

Green also gave fans of his video blog a taste of 2008’s Paper Towns, the first novel he wrote since starting vlogbrothers with brother Hank in 2007.

Turtles All the Way Down is available for preorder and will release on Oct. 10.



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