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Now Is Not the Time to Panic  By  cover art

Now Is Not the Time to Panic

By: Kevin Wilson
Narrated by: Ginnifer Goodwin,Kevin Wilson
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Publisher's Summary

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.

The posters begin appearing everywhere, and 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.

©2022 Kevin Wilson (P)2022 HarperCollins Publishers

Interview: Kevin Wilson Brings Wit and Perspective to This Coming of Age Story

'When I'm trying to write, oftentimes I have a character who feels slightly outside, like a loner.'
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  • Now Is Not the Time to Panic
  • 'When I'm trying to write, oftentimes I have a character who feels slightly outside, like a loner.'

Featured Article: Best of the Year—The 15 Best Fiction Listens of 2022


To say it’s a challenge to select the top fiction listens of the year (and this year especially!) is an understatement. But as hard as it is, it’s an even greater honor for our team to be able to listen deeply to so many amazing stories and then highlight the best of the best to you. Fiction is a big category—one that includes everything from epic family sagas to clever short stories, from historical fiction to near-future speculative works.

What listeners say about Now Is Not the Time to Panic

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Weird and wonderful

This is a quirky little gem. Wilson writes such unique characters and dreams up some really interesting mischief for them to make. Some strong language. Excellent narration.

2 people found this helpful

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Truly wonderful

This is his best work yet and one of the best books I’ve ever read. It is strikingly beautiful and down to earth at the same time. These characters are so very real to me, I feel like I could give them a call. The narration is superb. I am skinny with hunger for another chapter.

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LOVED

Listened to this in a day. Ginnifer Goodwin is INCREDIBLE. I’m floored. She’s my favorite narrator and I just loved and adored this book. Every character was special, even the minor ones like the triplets, but I especially loved Frankie’s mom & her second husband. What a wonderful novel. It’s about being 16 and wanting time to stop and all the ways we carry those times around with us, well into adulthood. Sometimes it’s with photos, sometimes a ticket stub or a band flyer, and sometimes it’s just a dumb phrase that sounds so perfect to our little teenage ears that we live like our lives depend on it.
And in some ways it kinda does.

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Premise didn’t speak to me

I absolutely LOVED The Family Fang and Nothing to See Here (in fact, I gifted Nothing to See Here to several family members the Christmas it came out, I was so enamored.) And while I enjoyed the writing in Now is not the Time to Panic, the entire book fell flat to me, as Frankie’s obsession with the poster, even and especially after all the havoc it caused, seemed utterly ridiculous to me. I’m sorry, but the lines were neither poetic nor earth-shattering nor even noteworthy, and the afterward by the author on the Audible version just made me sad. I will still try another Kevin Wilson book, but my enthusiasm has been dampened considerably by the entire premise of this book.

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Absolutely gorgeous, generous, and loving

This book is absolutely gorgeous, generous, and loving. Nothing more need be said -- other than that you need to read it.

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  • KJ
  • 11-29-22

Kookie and Fun

Kevin Wilson’s books are clever and funny and strange. All good things. Great narration by Goodwin.

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Writing is hard

But not if you’re inspired! Definitely worth a listen. Full of a soulful inspiration that comes through in the story. Good work!

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Kevin Wilson is one of my favorite authors ever

I think everyone in the world probably has a version of themselves that can relate to Franky and Zecke the two teenagers in this book. Kevin Wilson has a way of tangling his reader up in the complex emotions of his characters and unraveling the tangle just in time at the end. I love his creative prose and interesting story lines that seem so normal when they certainly are not. Thank you for sharing your story at the end Mr Wilson.

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Well done

Loved alls the nuances - what a treat! I highly recommend reading this for your enjoyment

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Wonderfully weird

I love Kevin Wilson’s books because they’re quirky and weird and totally original… a story about friendship, growing up and the nostalgia we feel for times passed.