Now Is Not the Time to Panic by Kevin Wilson
Many summers ago, Frankie was a bored teenager in a small town. Messing around with an old copy machine one afternoon, Frankie and her friend Zeke created a poster emblazoned with edgy illustrations and an enigmatic phrase. They hung copies up all over town anonymously, not expecting what happened next – that the poster’s haunting words would take off in the public imagination and build to a full-blown panic. Today, Frankie has a family and a successful writing career. She left the Coalfield Panic in her past, but now, somehow, a reporter has discovered Frankie’s involvement. Suddenly Frankie is reliving that strange summer, trying to unravel how everything escalated so quickly. In this relatable, poignant story, author Kevin Wilson uses his trademark offbeat humor to full effect. This firecracker of a novel asks how a moment of youthful creativity could ripple outward far beyond its creators’ estimation, and in doing so explores not only adolescence, but also the transformative power of self-expression.
Reviewed by Mary Kinser, collection development librarian, Whatcom County Library System
(Originally published in Bellingham Alive January 2023 issue.)