Saturday, November 12, 2022

Book Review: "Now Is Not the Time to Panic" by Kevin Wilson

Kevin Wilson's latest novel is an absolutely excellent book about friendship, growing up, finding your place in this world, and the effect of art.

“How did you prevent your life from turning into something so boring that no one wanted to know about it?”

Frankie is 16. She’s a loner, growing up in Coalfield, Tennessee, ready to face another long, boring summer. She wants to be a writer but she doesn’t know if she’s any good.

One day she meets Zeke, who has moved to Coalfield to stay with his grandmother, hopefully just for the summer. Frankie and Zeke connect quickly and are determined to do something with impact this summer. They decide to create a piece of art that will get people’s attention but one that no one will know was created by them.

In a burst of inspiration, Frankie comes up with the phrase “The edge is a shantytown filled with gold seekers. We are fugitives, and the law is skinny with hunger for us.” Zeke creates a drawing to accompany the phrase, and they create posters that they put up all over town. The posters create a sensation—no one knows what they mean or who is responsible, but they touch off a frenzy of imitators and panic throughout Coalfield, which leads to tragedy.

Twenty years later, Frances gets a call from a reporter who wants to write about the Coalfield Panic and believes she was behind the posters. This is a secret she's kept all of this time. Does she reveal the truth? What will happen if she does?

I thought this was absolutely fantastic, poignant and thought-provoking. I’ll read anything that Wilson writes!!

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