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Any Second


Any Second

October 26th is a good day to die. That’s what Gabriel tells Elian. Either way, Elian knows that it is the day he is going to die --- the day that he walks into a mall with a bomb strapped to his chest, the finale to four years stuck in captivity after being kidnapped. No matter how he feels, he knows he’s going to blow it all away, until Maya, a young teen with crippling anxiety, notices Elian and saves him from releasing the trigger. Instead of being the end, October 26th seems to be only the beginning.

Months later, Maya and Eli find themselves in the same school where no one knows their stories; Eli struggling to adjust back to his old life outside of the one room he was kept in, and Maya failing to cope with the overwhelming PTSD that has only worsened her anxiety and harmful tendencies. Drawn together by tragedy, they must learn if their increasingly frequent meetings will save from their growing darkness, or only take them deeper into the past they can never forget.

"A masterpiece of intensity and emotion….Emerson rises to the challenge and delivers….Emerson masters the art of perfectly describing imperfect people..."


Kevin Emerson introduces ANY SECOND, a masterpiece of intensity and emotion, artfully capturing the mindset of such a high trauma situation with ease. From the first page, I felt like I had jumped into the minds of Eli and Maya, completely able to understand and empathize to the experiences that they had. The inner thoughts of these characters are complex and challenging, a daunting task to take on, but Emerson rises to the challenge and delivers. Throughout every page I completely felt and related to each turn in the emotional rollercoaster that these characters went through, and it ended up being one of my favorite aspects of the book. Emerson masters the art of perfectly describing imperfect people, and the truth of the world that everyone lives in. Oftentimes YA contemporary novels find themselves lost in the mundane, with surface level ideas and meaning, but ANY SECOND takes that cliché and turns it upside down. Bringing awareness to these difficult situations allowed me to continuously think about my life and how society works around us, and I loved it.

Beyond Emerson’s genius writing style, I fell in love with the characters and plot incorporated in this book. Eli’s struggle to join the world after years in captivity, and balancing between what he should feel and what his kidnapper brainwashed him into thinking is heart-wrenching yet beautiful to watch. Comparatively, Maya’s slowly worsening anxiety and PTSD kept me on my toes throughout the entire novel, and endlessly hoping for her improvement. Combining these two people together created magical interactions, two halves of one soul that were meant to meet. As each of their lives unfold around them I found myself drawn further and further into their minds and world.

ANY SECOND is the perfect novel for any YA contemporary novel junkie, especially those who are interested in a more serious and eye-opening read. More specifically, I’d definitely recommend this for fans of THIS IS WHERE IT ENDS, because then you will definitely love this novel. Check out ANY SECOND, and get ready to be blown away.

Reviewed by Jessica K., Teen Board Member on February 14, 2019

Any Second
by Kevin Emerson