Review: Now is Not the Time to Panic by Kevin Wilson

by Joli
Published: Updated:
Now is Not the Time to Panic Review

Wow, this book was so unique. Now is Not the Time to Panic was an amazing read that I’m really excited to share with you! Let’s go.

The Summary

From the New York Times bestselling author of Nothing to See Here comes an exuberant, bighearted novel about two teenage misfits who spectacularly collide one fateful summer, and the art they make that changes their lives forever.

Sixteen-year-old Frankie Budge—aspiring writer, indifferent student, offbeat loner—is determined to make it through yet another sad summer in Coalfield, Tennessee, when she meets Zeke, a talented artist who has just moved into his grandmother’s unhappy house and who is as lonely and awkward as Frankie is. Romantic and creative sparks begin to fly, and when the two jointly make an unsigned poster, shot through with an enigmatic phrase, it becomes unforgettable to anyone who sees it. The edge is a shantytown filled with gold seekers. We are fugitives, and the law is skinny with hunger for us.

The posters begin appearing everywhere, and people wonder who is behind them. Satanists, kidnappers—the rumors won’t stop, and soon the mystery has dangerous repercussions that spread far beyond the town. The art that brought Frankie and Zeke together now threatens to tear them apart.

Twenty years later, Frances Eleanor Budge—famous author, mom to a wonderful daughter, wife to a loving husband—gets a call that threatens to upend everything: a journalist named Mazzy Brower is writing a story about the Coalfield Panic of 1996. Might Frances know something about that? And will what she knows destroy the life she’s so carefully built?

A bold coming-of-age story, written with Kevin Wilson’s trademark wit and blazing prose, Now Is Not The Time to Panic is a nuanced exploration of young love, identity, and the power of art. It’s also about the secrets that haunt us—and, ultimately, what the truth will set free.

My Review

I felt so lucky to have been approved on NetGalley for Now is Not the Time to Panic after having read and loved Nothing to See Here. I actually saved this one for a time when I felt like I needed a really good book…it was so highly anticipated for me.

I’m very happy to report that I was not let down at all. What an incredible story! It was just so captivating.

Honestly, this is going to be a hard book for me to review because I just loved it, but I’ll do my best!

First of all, what a unique story. There are stories out there about teens who feel like they don’t quite fit in, but how many stories are there about what happens when those teens create something that goes so viral and out of control, that life goes nuts?

Yeah, probably not too many.

It was amazing the detail that Wilson is able to go to to show what’s going through these kids’ minds as they create and obsess about their creation. I felt so much love for Frankie and wanted to hug her, but also had a hard time identifying with her intense obsession with the art that she creates with Zeke. Even though I had a hard time identifying with her, I was still just so captivated by her thoughts.

Also, I grew up in a small town where I could totally see something like this happening…that quick spread and takeover of the town. Small town teenager books just speak to me, since I was one of those.

Meeting Frankie as a “normal” adult with a family was so interesting and added an element to the story that I really liked. She’s able to look back on everything she did as a teenager with kind of that hazy clarity that we all have about what happened during our teenage years.

At any rate, this was a book that I couldn’t put down. I needed to know what was going to happen with Mazzy’s digging, where Zeke was, and if Frances would confess to the public that it was her who create the art that inspired the Coalfield Panic. This one gets a full 5 stars.

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