I am so excited to exclusively reveal the cover for Kevin Emerson’s latest YA novel, Any Second — a timely and ultimately hopeful story about two teens in the aftermath of an attempted suicide bombing. This books sounds so amazing, and I’m so excited to share more about it with you.
Once you’ve peeked the gorgeous cover below, be sure to keep reading to learn more about the book, plus check out a Q&A with Kevin about the book AND enter to win an early advanced copy!
Now then … COVER TIME!
I love the graphic style of this cover, with that explosive spark – definitely gives a hint of what’s to come. Here’s more from Kevin about his new book:
What do you want readers to know about ANY SECOND?
That it’s a lighthearted romantic romp! Okay maybe more like an emotional thriller. It is the story of two teen survivors of an attempted suicide bombing—one the bomber himself, the other the girl who stops him. For better or worse, not only are Maya and Eli drawn to one another afterward, but they also may be the only ones who can stop a second tragedy in the making, if they can put the pieces together in time. So it’s dark and definitely harrowing, but it’s filled with hope. You can trust it. I guess that’s the main thing I want readers to know: YOU CAN TRUST THIS BOOK! Also it may be a bit romantic.
Back in 2013, I happened to read some articles about suicide bombers and child soldiers, and I started imagining a character in a situation like that. How they ended up there, even believing they wanted to do it: and then what if the bomb didn’t go off? What would happen next? How would you recover from such a thing, and would there be more danger ahead of you? At first I thought this story might be happening in another country, but I soon realized that what interested me was how this could happen here, in America, within our current epidemic of violence.
The idea rattled around in my head until late 2014, and it was only when I started really imagining Maya, the girl who stops the bombing, that the story came alive. I didn’t just want to think how this violence in our society is created, I also wanted to explore how it is covered and digested and ultimately rationalized, an ever-repeating cycle. And what is the cost of living within that cycle? What if Maya was exactly the right person to stop the bombing, but exactly the wrong person to be thrust into the hero role, with its media narratives and inevitable backlash and so on? What if it made everything worse, and the bomb that never went off in real life kept going off in her head? Suddenly I could see these two teens standing there together with their fingers on the trigger, and how that was only the beginning of their journey.
This feels so different from your other books. Was writing it any different for you?
So incredibly different. Exploring the darkness in this book was definitely unnerving. When it comes to the anxiety that especially Maya struggles with, I was confronting personal things I’ve felt since I was a teen. My anxiety has never been as severe as it can be for others, but it’s there all the time, twisting the light and casting weird shadows, sometimes doing its best to block the light completely. There are many things that ramp it up, but something I’ve noticed, especially in the last year or two, is how much my anxiety is affected by the noise of our culture. I wanted to explore that, and also how one who is suffering can be attracted to the whisper of violence that weaves its way through that noise.
What’s it been like working on this book, given current events in this country?
The plot of ANY SECOND revolves around, among other things, a looming threat of school violence. It goes without saying that there has been a nearly non-stop wave of horrific tragedies. Everyone is scared. I’m scared. And part of why I wrote this was to find some hope. This isn’t a political book; it’s personal. I didn’t set out to say some big thing about our country and our culture, I just wanted to see what these two characters might discover. Also, this is a book about how you heal, not how you harm. It’s about survival, and how that process is imperfect and different for everyone. I hope readers feel more empathy after reading it, for themselves and the people in their lives.
Whether it’s chance or fate, Maya keeps Eli from ending them all. And now nothing is the same. Drawn together by their dark pasts, Maya and Eli know it takes only seconds for their entire worlds to change. But time will tell if meeting each other will change them for better or worse.
At once heart-racing and spellbinding, Kevin Emerson’s genre-defying novel rips into the heart of trauma and discovers the hope to rebuild.
Thanks to Kevin, we’re giving away one advanced copy of Any Second to a lucky winner. To enter, tell us in the comments what gives YOU hope these days. Then fill out the Rafflecopter form below to complete your entry and earn more chances to win.
Contest is open to the U.S. only, and runs through midnight (PT) on Wednesday, March 21st.