Named a Best Book of the Year by: Time * Kirkus Reviews * USA Today * Entertainment Weekly * Garden & Gun * Vox * Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A Most Anticipated Book of Fall from: Associated Press * Atlanta Journal-Constitution * BookPage * Book Riot * The Boston Globe * Entertainment Weekly * Esquire * Garden & Gun * LitHub * St. Louis Post-Dispatch * Sunset Magazine * Time * Town & Country * The Millions * USA Today * Vogue * Vulture * The Week
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 summer in Coalfield, Tennessee, when she meets Zeke, a talented artist who has just moved into his grandmother’s house and who is as 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.
When the posters begin appearing everywhere, people wonder who is behind them and start to panic. Satanists? Kidnappers? The rumors won’t stop, and soon the mystery has dangerous repercussions that spread far beyond the town.
Twenty years later, Frances Eleanor Budge gets a call that threatens to upend her carefully built life: a journalist named Mazzy Brower is writing a story about the Coalfield Panic of 1996. Might Frances know something about that?
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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Looking for an unexpected and endearing love story? You’ve come to the right place. Best-selling author Kevin Wilson (The Family Fang and Nothing to See Here) returns with a novel set in the ’90s, during one dull summer in a small Tennessee town. The story follows teenagers Frankie and Zeke, two outcasts who anonymously create a mysterious piece of art that quickly takes on a life of its own. Mass chaos ensues, pushing their budding relationship to its limit and altering the course of both of their lives. Tender and hilarious, Now Is Not the Time to Panic brilliantly captures the painful uncertainties and freedoms of adolescence while tackling big questions about art, morality, and the secrets we live to regret.
Wilson (Nothing to See Here) spins a delightful story of two aspiring artists in small-town Tennessee. It's 1996 when Frankie Bulger, an outcast who dreams of becoming a writer, meets Zeke, also 16, who is new to town. Together they make a poster with the cryptic line "The edge is a shantytown filled with gold seekers. We are fugitives, and the law is skinny with hunger for us." Thrilled at their creation, Frankie and Zeke make hundreds of copies of it on a photocopier stolen by Frankie's triplet brothers, then post them around town. Copycats begin doing the same, and before long, local and national newspapers report on the panic caused by the posters, fashion brands reproduce the slogan on T-shirts, and tourists arrive in droves. Frankie and Zeke keep their involvement a secret until 22 years later, when a journalist finds out Frankie's role. Confronted with the possibility of her secret coming out, Frankie goes on a quest to come clean with her family and reconnect with old friends. Wilson ably captures Frankie and her peers' adolescent confusion and the creative power of like-minded teens, and his coming-of-age story is ripe with wisdom about what art means in the modern age. It adds up to a surprisingly touching time capsule of youth in the '90s. Agent: Julie Barer, Book Group.