Any Second by Kevin Emerson
Pub. date: November 20, 2018
Read courtesy of netgalley.com
5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Review!
I cannot wait to get this book for my high school's library!
My students are taught to be an upstander instead of a bystander. In Any Second, Maya did this... and beyond. Kevin Emerson wrote a story that is both unique and scarily possible, which is what makes it such a compelling read.
Emerson did a great job with the pace of the storytelling and the points at which the narrator's focus switched between Maya and Eli. There was also enough detail to create mental pictures without being grossed-out to the point at which the story's narrative could have been overshadowed by the horror of the circumstances. There was enough to make the reader squirm without having to be told the minutia of Eli's torture and captivity.
The author created an atmosphere that allowed the reader to be drawn into Maya's and Eli's decision making. As a reader I was being told things each character couldn't know, and since I had no way of telling them, I had tension, sympathy, relief, anxiety, and hope right along with them.
The main characters had consistently true personalities, which helped this reader connect with the plot and action. The minor characters never felt extraneous and were used well to move the story forward. One Second will appeal to many different kinds of readers and could be recommended to readers of realistic fiction as well as of action/adventure or suspense fiction.
[The only negative critique -- a hiccup I encountered -- is in chapter 17, where Eli contemplates "how some commentators said Eli's disappearance would have been a bigger deal if he'd been white." Emerson has already made the book uber-inclusive (ex., religion, sexual orientation, gender roles, class, etc.), so this one line struck me as intrusive to the flow of the story, an extraneous or obvious attempt to highlight what the author had already made clear about Eli's ethnicity when discussing Eli's names.]