Monday, October 17, 2022

"Now Is Not The Time to Panic" by Kevin Wilson - Book Review and Discussion


Considering reading Kevin Wilson's newest novel, "Now Is Not the Time to Panic"? Keep reading to hear my thoughts on the book!

PLOT SUMMARY for "Now is Not the Time to Panic" by Kevin Wilson

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?


BOOK REVIEW of "Now Is Not the Time to Panic" by Kevin Wilson


What Worked for Me - 

"Now Is Not the Time to Panic" was a rollercoaster ride of a read through the highs of enjoyment and the lows of disappointment! 

I'll address the things that didn't work below,many things! Right off the bat, this novel is a coming-of-age story and that is a favorite premise of mine, so immediately there were easy points scored. It's my favorite, but it is also incredibly difficult to pull off, and the author does a great job of depicting this particular struggle. 

There were several quotes that really jumped out at me as encapsulating that time in life, 

"But I was sixteen. I lived inside of myself way more than I lived inside of this town." 

"And I know, in that moment, that my life is real, because there's a line from this moment all the way back to that summer when I was sixteen, when the whole world opened up and I walked through."

I love the premise and plot of "Now Is Not the Time to Panic". If the execution of the plot and the story could be separated from the characters, I would have given this book four or five stars. 

Even though the book is set in the '90s, I feel like the idea of a small creative thing you made with a friend going "viral" is especially relevant now, because of TikTok.

What I Struggled With -

Three star reviews are always the most difficult for me to write in a way that is helpful to other readers, which is the whole point for me of writing reviews *types in frustrated*! If I give a book three stars, something about the book just didn't work for me and that can be difficult to put a finger on.

"Now is Not the Time to Panic" has a YA feel to it that I was not expecting. I enjoy reading YA, depending on the author, but I *really* don't enjoy adult fiction that reads like YA. Because of that slant, the main characters, Frankie and Zeke, felt very "manic pixie dream girl". 

In fact, if someone told me tigh for the entire book, the plot and the character's reactions would make much more sense. For example, at one point the main character Frankie says, 

" I think I would have killed someone if they tried to keep me from putting up the poster." 

It gave me a feeling of the "romanticize your life" trend if it were a novel. There is the natural casualness of teenagers, but also a lot of excitement and intrigue wrapped up in their absolutely unhinged thought process. 

The plot and premise get five stars, but the characters get 1, so we land on 3? Giving star-based reviews is tricky for a thousand reasons, but this is definitely a book where I particularly felt that struggle.

Have you read "Now Is Not The Time to Panic" by Kevin Wilson? Let me know your thoughts about the novel below. Or if you haven't, let me know the last adult fiction book you read that felt more like YA.


  1. I haven't read this one yet, but it doesn't sound like I would be hot to run out and get it. I like the premise of it, but not sure it would be a right fit for me. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.


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