Now Is Not The Time to Panic — Book of the Month

From the fabulously talented and bestselling author behind Nothing to See Here and Tunelling to the Centre of the Earth, Kevin Wilson brings us a bold and compelling coming-of-age story packed with wit and nuance. Now Is Not the Time to Panic tells the story of young artists in love, whose anonymous creations have enormous consequences that continue to haunt them twenty years after their making.

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 is as lonely and awkward as she is.

As romantic and creative sparks begin to fly, Frankie and Zeke make an unsigned poster that becomes unforgettable to anyone who sees it. Copies of their work are everywhere in town, and rumours start to fly about who might be behind the ubiquitous posters: Satanists? Kidnappers? Soon, the mystery has dangerous repercussions that spread further afield, and the art that brought Frankie and Zeke together now threatens to tear them apart.

Twenty years later, Frances Eleanor Budge—famous author, mother to a wonderful daughter, wife to a loving husband—gets a call that threatens to upend everything: a journalist asks if Frances might know something about the Coalfield Panic of 1996. Could Frances’ past destroy the life she has so carefully built? 

For fans of Perks of Being a Wallflower (Simon & Schuster, 2013), We Were Liars (Hot Key Books, 2014), and other funny, tender coming-of-age tales. Wilson’s positioning of Now Is Not The Time to Panic across the growth of the digital age makes the story even more relevant and hard-hitting to his adult audience, who’ve lived through it themselves. Wilson’s prose is as blazingly strong as ever before, as he reflects on young love, identity, and the power of art through his lonely, lovable protagonists.

Listen to Wilson talk about the real-life inspiration behind Frankie & Zeke’s story on NPR.

‘“Now Is Not the Time to Panic” plumbs both the intensity of an early creative experience and the strange way such experiences get preserved in the amber of our minds. The result is another tender, moving novel by an author who understands how truly bizarre ordinary life is.’ — Ron Charles, Washington Post

‘The irrepressible Wilson presents a grunge-era fable about a pre-internet mass-hysteria incident and the alchemy of art… A warm, witty two-hander that sidesteps the clichés of art school and indie film and treats its free spirits with respect.’ — Kirkus Reviews

Now Is Not the Time to Panic is published by Text Publishing.

9781911231424 / PB / £11.99 / Out 17th November 2022

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