Now Is Not The Time to Panic by Kevin Wilson

Wilson has strayed from his usual terrain of “the way the projects of parents screw up their kids.” Not that the parents in this book aren’t troubled, but they’re not the subject here. It’s teenage life – how important everything feels, the power of art, and culture’s panic response.

Our heroine is 16-year-old Frankie s who spends the summer with the strange boy who’s come to her small town for the summer with his mother, who is fleeing marital difficulties. Zeke is a comic book-type artist, and Frankie is a writer. Together, they make a poster- just messing around, really-and hang a bunch of them up, setting off a kind of satanic panic with some fairly dire consequences. No one ever knows it was them.

Enter the book’s second timeline, 20 years later, when a journalist has found Frankie. It’s interesting, and l wish we got a little more of the “fallout” narrative. To me. that’s where the payoff was. It was enjoyable, but I thought he could’ve gotten more from this.

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