While working on her Printz Award-winning novel, I’ll Give You the Sun, Jandy Nelson would take breaks by leaving her San Francisco home and driving north through wine country. She took a twisty, redwood-shaded road, always passing an abandoned Victorian house hidden in a grove of trees. A faded, once-cheerful yellow, the house had boarded-up windows and a powerful sense of place—not foreboding, but “dreamy, light-struck, and magical,” she said. “I was so drawn to it that I’d pull over and sometimes trudge around.”

As time went on, she began to imagine the people who had once lived there: siblings Wynton Fall, age 19, a self-destructive virtuoso violinist; 17-year-old Myles, outwardly “perfect,” but harboring secrets; and their 12-year-old sister Dizzy, who sees spirits. “Over time, the story kept getting bigger and bigger,” Nelson said. The previous generation of the home’s occupants then arrived in her imagination. When a rainbow-haired girl stepped onto the front porch and knocked on the door, she knew she had a story. “This girl was about to turn all their lives upside down,” she said.

That life-changing door knock takes place in When the World Tips Over, Nelson’s first novel in a decade, due out from Dial on September 24. The cover is revealed here for the first time.

When the World Tips Over is told in “a chorus of voices that interweave across time periods and literary styles,” Nelson said. There’s a fairy tale, a contemporary story, epistolary elements, and a food-memoir-style section, and “a lot of romance.”

Nelson added that the book was “challenging structurally.” The story ballooned to 1,000 pages—“four separate novels,” she said, but she intuitively knew this was one story. Nelson’s editor Jessica Garrison (who also worked with her on I’ll Give You the Sun) said the story contains “everything you know and recognize from Jandy Nelson, but bigger and more ambitious—magical realism, different voices, and moving through time,” adding that it comes together “seamlessly.”

At the core of the story are two central mysteries: the disappearance of the Fall kids’ father more than a decade prior to the start of their story, and the appearance of the rainbow-haired girl, who each of the children experiences differently—perhaps she’s an angel, a saint, or just an ordinary girl. Maybe she isn’t even real. With her trademark interwoven narrative style, Nelson brings each of the several stories to life with a vivid voice, Garrison said.

For Nelson, When the World Tips Over brings together many different narratives that have always appealed to her as a writer. “I wanted to write a multigenerational saga. Ever since I was really young, I wanted to write the story of a mother and daughter on the road. I wanted to write a fairy tale. I wanted to write a food memoir. It was exciting for me to decide that this book will be everything. It’s all the books I wanted to write in one.”

Elements from different media—such as bits of poetry and newspaper articles—will be familiar to Nelson’s fans. This narrative structure was a feat of layering, Garrison said, adding that while the work behind the scenes was “intricate” on Nelson’s part, the experience of reading it is “effortless.”

The part of the story set in the 1880s, which is told in a fairy tale voice, is possibly the biggest departure from Nelson’s previous work, Garrison said. “Also, there’s a ton of food,” Nelson noted, saying that the joy of food has always been a big part of her life. Despite these departures, When the World Tips Over is “very much a Jandy Nelson book,” Garrison said, adding that it features the exploration of human drama from different points of view and the embrace of love of all kinds—mother-daughter love, sibling love, queer love, love of an ancestor for his descendants—that Nelson is known for. “That kind of big-hearted approach to love is one of the things Jandy does best,” Garrison said; When the World Tips Over “holds hands with I’ll Give You the Sun from page one.”

The title comes from a line in the book. “The last 10 years have been hard, especially for teenagers. The world does feel like it’s tipping over all the time,” Nelson said. “Ultimately, I think what this book is about is trying to find a home in that topsy-turvy world, but also in each other. There’s this idea in the book that when the world tips over, joy spills out along with all the sorrow.”

Nelson’s bestselling I’ll Give You the Sun was a 2015 Printz Award winner and a Stonewall Honor Book. Her critically acclaimed debut, The Sky Is Everywhere, which was a PW Flying Start was made into an AppleTV+ and A24 original film starring Jason Segel and Cherry Jones; Nelson wrote the screenplay. Her books have been translated into more than 38 languages and were YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults award winners.

Having finished writing, Nelson recently drove her favorite route north, only to find that the house that inspired When the World Tips Over was now gone as if, in a magical-realism kind of way, it had served its purpose in bringing the story to life and now lives only in “another realm.”