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Any Second

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Five years after being kidnapped, Elian's captor sends him into the mall--with a bomb strapped to his chest. Across the mall is Maya, a girl whose crippling anxiety holds her prisoner in its own way. 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 t Five years after being kidnapped, Elian's captor sends him into the mall--with a bomb strapped to his chest. Across the mall is Maya, a girl whose crippling anxiety holds her prisoner in its own way. 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.


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Five years after being kidnapped, Elian's captor sends him into the mall--with a bomb strapped to his chest. Across the mall is Maya, a girl whose crippling anxiety holds her prisoner in its own way. 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 t Five years after being kidnapped, Elian's captor sends him into the mall--with a bomb strapped to his chest. Across the mall is Maya, a girl whose crippling anxiety holds her prisoner in its own way. 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.

30 review for Any Second

  1. 5 out of 5

    Scarlett Readz and Runz....Through Novel Time & Distance

    Razor sharp suspense paired with deeply emotional turmoil that keeps the reader on edge till the end. “The man was only known as Gabriel. Domestic terrorist. Child abductor. Tormentor. And among his family: Son of a bitch.” It’s been five long, hard years since Eli was taken. Abducted. Brainwashed and fed with delusional propaganda while nourished at times on dog food. He slept on wooden floorboards and heard his sister being tormented upstairs. The garden hose was the worst… Miraculously, on th Razor sharp suspense paired with deeply emotional turmoil that keeps the reader on edge till the end. “The man was only known as Gabriel. Domestic terrorist. Child abductor. Tormentor. And among his family: Son of a bitch.” It’s been five long, hard years since Eli was taken. Abducted. Brainwashed and fed with delusional propaganda while nourished at times on dog food. He slept on wooden floorboards and heard his sister being tormented upstairs. The garden hose was the worst… Miraculously, on that fateful day, the day that Gabriel sent him with a bomb strapped to his body and a detonator in hand into the mall to blow it up, Maya crosses his path to interfere with only milliseconds to spare. “My hand shakes, thumb slick on the smooth button. Arm twitching. Will I have arms in paradise? Legs? A body at all?” Maya happens to be in the mall when she sees a boy walking awkwardly slow. Sweating, withdrawn and soiling himself. This day could not get any worse so far. Or could it? Maya’s parents are going through a divorce. Hanging out with either one parent alone feels weirdly awkward and still hurts. She is here with her dad, and then there comes Eli. Salvation or Detriment? “Tastes like chicken? Kinda bland, actually. But there was something satisfying about the rubberiness. She considered the ruby of blood on her thumb. Sucked that too. ”…Why, yes, I enjoy tearing myself apart and occasionally consuming my own flesh. Wasn’t that on the same spectrum as I keep pieces of my neighbor in the freezer for special meals?” A year after that awful day, Eli and Maya find themselves in the same high school. Always on guard, with undercover police hovering around to protect Eli, the both of them have gone through hours and hours of therapy sessions, apart and separated in order to move on. No one knows that they are the kids from that incident in the mall, and both Eli and Maya are working very hard to overcome their demons. The day of the one year anniversary of the mall incident is approaching fast. As Gabriel has never been caught and brought to justice, Eli receives a threat at his door that unleashes panic among parents and students. “So, Elliott High, I declare that I’ve chosen the date of your salvation, and it is close at hand. Your time has come.” “…My judgement will rain down upon you, very soon now. Very soon” Is Gabriel after him again? Has he been around the entire time and possibly infiltrated into his life without anyone knowing? An amazing suspenseful crescendo will lead you to the answers and put you on the edge of your seat till the very end. *** This was truly very captivating and thrilling. I am so glad I had the chance to read this novel. I am slammed blindsided with its amazing prose and twisted mind games. Very well written throughout with attention to detail. Even the font by the publisher on the kindle was perfect. I highly recommend it if you enjoy the kind of books that keep your pulse elevated for almost the entire read. I loved it. Enjoy :) Trigger Warning This novel is rated for Young Readers, grade 7-9 or teens and up. Personally, I would suggest it to the upper, upper range on that using my own personal judgment & safeguard by knowledge of its content. There are some harsh, downgrading or sexy words and situational references to sex, drugs, and alcoholism aside from the mental / physical abuse that could be disturbing and trigger points to some. The main characters are experiencing flashbacks with PTSD symptoms. I received a digital copy of this novel from NetGalley in Exchange of an honest review. All opinions are my own. Thank you. More reviews can be found here: https://scarlettreadzandrunz.com/

  2. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

    Any Second by Kevin Emerson is a young adult thriller. First off I will say that with some of the content in this one I would recommend it to the more mature crowd. While nothing is overly graphic there are sexual situations, drinking, and of course the violence involved. The story in this book is one that is sadly far too realistic these days which is a big reason I jumped at reading it. The book begins with the two main characters, Eli and Maya, both being involved in their own ways in an attem Any Second by Kevin Emerson is a young adult thriller. First off I will say that with some of the content in this one I would recommend it to the more mature crowd. While nothing is overly graphic there are sexual situations, drinking, and of course the violence involved. The story in this book is one that is sadly far too realistic these days which is a big reason I jumped at reading it. The book begins with the two main characters, Eli and Maya, both being involved in their own ways in an attempt at a suicide bombing. With all of the horrific shootings, bombings and other things hitting our newscasts every night I can’t help but be drawn to a tale that takes a closer look. In Any Second Eli had been kidnapped and tortured for years before he was sent into the mall with a bomb strapped to his chest. Maya on the other had has her own anxious personality but when she sees Eli she goes to try to stop him and becomes the hero. Once readers know that event that they shared the book then fast forwards 10 months to pick up with them in their lives afterwards. Now I’m calling this one a thriller because it does have an exciting beginning and an exciting end but a lot of the middle section crosses over into more of a contemporary with the where are they now and the characters lives. Still knowing how deeply flawed both were just getting to know them was still thrilling in many way though too. I always get quite hooked when getting a closer look at how the lives of those involved in something like this event are affected and this book was no exception. I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley. For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/

  3. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    ***4 Stars *** Wow... what an emotional and extremely difficult read. Fair warning this book's subject matter is tough and dark. There were some aspects that seemed far fetched to me, but unfortunately at the same time plausible in this world we live in. Eli was abducted as a child by Gabriel, brain washed and abused for "The Purpose." The story begins with Eli being sent into a mall with a wolf mask on and a bomb strapped to his chest. Maya is at the mall with her father and intervenes. The stor ***4 Stars *** Wow... what an emotional and extremely difficult read. Fair warning this book's subject matter is tough and dark. There were some aspects that seemed far fetched to me, but unfortunately at the same time plausible in this world we live in. Eli was abducted as a child by Gabriel, brain washed and abused for "The Purpose." The story begins with Eli being sent into a mall with a wolf mask on and a bomb strapped to his chest. Maya is at the mall with her father and intervenes. The story continues with Eli and Maya's stories; such damaged children who struggle to feel normal. The feels from this book are hard to describe, heart racing throughout, almost anxiety provoking, that felt way too real. I struggle recommending this for young adult readers. Please know they need to be mature enough to understand and handle how painful this story is. Thanks to NetGalley and Crown Books for Young Readers who allowing me an advanced read copy in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    OutlawPoet

    This book hurt my heart. The author introduces us to two damaged people and, oh, we want the best for them! These are two utterly unique characters who live and breathe and you just find yourself crying for them. Readers should note that so much of this is painful. There is hope, but it’s tempered with the fact that, not only are our two main characters damaged, they are surrounding themselves with people who may be even more damaged. What saved this from being five stars for me was the climax of e This book hurt my heart. The author introduces us to two damaged people and, oh, we want the best for them! These are two utterly unique characters who live and breathe and you just find yourself crying for them. Readers should note that so much of this is painful. There is hope, but it’s tempered with the fact that, not only are our two main characters damaged, they are surrounding themselves with people who may be even more damaged. What saved this from being five stars for me was the climax of everything. It has two issues for me: a) It was preachy. b) It was unrealistic. The preachiness: we went from a story (and a very, very good one) to a lesson. Suddenly one of our characters takes the stage and lectures for a very long time. The lessons are good ones, but when they break you out of the story, that’s a problem. The unrealistic ending: this was too easy. The fact is that things, in real life, wouldn’t end this way. It seemed like it was just a set up for the previously mentioned lecture. The ending notwithstanding, this was still a very good book. And I used tissue…a lot of it. *ARC Provided via Net Galley

  5. 4 out of 5

    Cassandra {semi-hiatus}

    That was not only incredibly well written and suspenseful but possibly one of the most emotionally straining and stressful reads of my life. I felt so much for Eli and Maya. It was hard to read at times, definitely for a more mature audience than most YA, but absolutely amazing and I would highly recommend it to all lovers of thrillers. Wow.

  6. 4 out of 5

    PinkAmy loves \u0026#x1f495; books\u0026#x1f4d6;, cats\u0026#x1f63b; and naps\u0026#x1f6cf;

    ***Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy of ANY SECOND in exchange for my honest review.*** Eli’s kidnapper sends him into a crowded mall with instructions to detonate the bomb strapped around his waist. Maya saves him by convincing him to let the police diffuse the explosive device. Ten months later, both suffering from PTSD, Eli and Maya attend the same school with instructions not to communicate with one another. But, nobody else knows the pain and trauma they share. Danger ***Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy of ANY SECOND in exchange for my honest review.*** Eli’s kidnapper sends him into a crowded mall with instructions to detonate the bomb strapped around his waist. Maya saves him by convincing him to let the police diffuse the explosive device. Ten months later, both suffering from PTSD, Eli and Maya attend the same school with instructions not to communicate with one another. But, nobody else knows the pain and trauma they share. Danger lurks nearby and this time they may not escape with their lives. Both Eli and Maya are complex, wounded characters. Maya had severe anxiety and OCD behaviors before the mall incident. Kevin Emerson did a nuanced job of getting into their individual heads. Some of their symptoms overlapped and some were unique. Both survivors hooked up with people terrible for them. Maya’s girlfriend was controlling and unkind, Eli’s new best friend appears dangerous and overly fascinated by Eli’s ordeal. The only part of the characters that felt unrealistic is that a traumatized Maya, who already had major issues before the bomb, would be so quick to find a new love. Some of Janice’s sexual behavior seemed more like a man’s fantasy than high school hi-jinx. Other than Janice, Emerson’s writing and characterizations were pitch perfect. The plot kept me interested and turning pages. The climax was a bit of a melodramatic letdown which prevented me from giving five stars. ANY SECOND will appeal to a variety of readers including those interested in mental health and mystery/thrillers.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Stacy Fetters

    "They were alive, invincible, and yet already dead. They were everything and nothing." Life is precious and something a lot of us take for granted but it can all be over with a blink of an eye. It only takes one second for your life to change and Maya and Eli know this first hand. Eli walks into a crowded mall with bombs strapped to him because Gabriel (his captor) wants to send a message. Maya is at that mall and sees a boy wearing a wolf mask acting strangely. At the right moment, she walks ove "They were alive, invincible, and yet already dead. They were everything and nothing." Life is precious and something a lot of us take for granted but it can all be over with a blink of an eye. It only takes one second for your life to change and Maya and Eli know this first hand. Eli walks into a crowded mall with bombs strapped to him because Gabriel (his captor) wants to send a message. Maya is at that mall and sees a boy wearing a wolf mask acting strangely. At the right moment, she walks over and puts herself in danger to save others. When the bomb doesn’t detonate, she helps him lose track of the kidnappers brainwashing and gives him comfort as the police take over. This story is their live’s after that day, how they cope, how they live, and the haunting memories that flood back as the anniversary draws near. Any Second will rip your heart out and make you feel for these characters. The brutal things that they have gone through and the heartbreaking outcomes. Eli and Maya have such a strong personal connection that will make you see the best in people. They only want to help each other overcome and grow and makes you want to do the same with your life. It breaks apart what you ever thought about another and makes you see inside their minds and their hearts. This is a heavy and riveting story that won’t be for everyone. There are some triggers in here but I think everyone needs to read this important novel. It’s something that is going to stick with you well after you completed it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    hayden

    kevin emerson is wonderful, and i can't wait to read this.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lacey

    First Thoughts: This was such a deep and dark book that dealt with issues both psychological and physical. I don't know what's been going on lately. I've been picking up books that deal with psychological and mental issues. I mean it's not necessarily bad but it kind of gets you messed up. Does that make sense? This book may have not cut me as bad as "The fall of Innocence" but it still sliced me open. Summary: Eli and Maya come from two different worlds but yet are made of the same mindset. Eli w First Thoughts: This was such a deep and dark book that dealt with issues both psychological and physical. I don't know what's been going on lately. I've been picking up books that deal with psychological and mental issues. I mean it's not necessarily bad but it kind of gets you messed up. Does that make sense? This book may have not cut me as bad as "The fall of Innocence" but it still sliced me open. Summary: Eli and Maya come from two different worlds but yet are made of the same mindset. Eli was kidnapped at the age of 11 and then 5 years reappears in the form of a bomb in the middle of the mall surrounded by his own mind and what he was brainwashed to do. Enter Maya. Always been plagued by anxiety but is at the mall with her father waiting in line to get his picture re-taken on his driver's license. She see's Eli in a kids wolf mask holding his thumb down on a bomb. Soon the two's world collides and they're both drawn together in keeping the bomb from exploding; saving not only their lives but everyone else's. Flash forward 8 months. Eli and Maya have not seen each other since that fateful day and now are thrown in the same school. Both their families not wanting to do with the other but the tension flies with the two. Eli's captor has yet to be found and Maya's anxiety has only gotten worse. To top that off there's a certain threat looming over their school. Can they heal not only themselves but save others from their fate. Plot: The main focus of the book is the survival of Eli and Maya's mind. They both have a tormented mind and are living on the outside. They both make bad decisions but each one learns from them or at least tries to. The threat of "Gabriel" Eli's captor is what drives Eli to the point of fear. He has all of this brainwashing from him (5 years worth). He keeps thinking what Gabriel would think and hardly has thoughts of his own. He lives in fear almost the entire book, which was devastating at times to read. And Maya, she lives in the constant play-over of the almost detonation of the mall bomb. She resorts to picking her cuticles and pulling her hair out. It was really fascinating to see how each character adapted to what their life gave them. Some were braver than others while others could barely keep their heads above water. The plot itself, was pretty much predictable. I guessed the twists before they were revealed and I knew pretty much how this would end. Though the ending left me with a few questions unanswered. Were we as the reader supposed to draw our own conclusions? Or perhaps there's another sequel in the works? It's always hard to know for sure when reading an ARC. Romance: The romance wasn't a thing in this book. Don't get me wrong there were relationships but this book wasn't about that. This book is all about trying to heal and be comfortable with who you are. So romance definitely wasn't the focus of this book. Characters: Eli was a weak character to me but was considered one of the protagonists (or antagonist in his mind). I know he went through a lot but it wasn't like he was really trying to get better most of the book. He annoyed me at times too and was so naive. But again he was taken as an eleven year old and grew in a very sheltered life for five years. So, of course he's going to be naive. But then again there is such a thing as common sense. Some of the things he was witnessing should've been addressed immediately and I would hope an average person would address them right away. Maya was a pretty good character. I could relate to her in some ways when it came to her anxiety. We both just had different ways of dealing with it. She was weak at times as well but stronger in some areas. I still don't think we got her whole back story before this story even started but I guess that was meant to be. The other secondary characters like Eli's first friend and Maya's friend were brought in and out at the right moments. Though the parents left me yearning for a few better traits....but Eli's sister was one of my favorite secondary characters because she brought the relief the reader needed at just the right moments. Transformation of the Character: Both Eli and Maya did some transforming, some more in some areas than others. But I think out of the two Maya did the most transforming. She had so much stacked against her (the main thing being herself). But by the end she seemed to be different in some areas but same in others. Eli on the other hand seemed to struggle with this part of the book. Description: The description was well thought out. The imagery of Eli and Maya's emotions really painted what it was like being them. To feel what it was like being in extreme sensory situations. The feeling of feeling desperate and out of control when nothing seems to work to rope you back in. Mr.Emerson painted a kaleidoscope of emotions in this book and allowed the reader to experience emotional situations that the reader might never have been in before. The description of the scenes was well thought out and I could detect some foreshadowing at times as well. And the psychology of the book could've used a little bit more research. I feel like some areas in Eli's perspective could've used some more detail. Like perhaps Eli reacted in certain situations a little too dramatic or maybe not dramatic enough. Of course, I'm no psychologist so my opinion on this area could be off. Style: This was written in first person and in Eli and Maya's point of view. Being written in first person allowed us as the reader to experience and view the character's perspective. I really liked that Mr.Emerson did this. I think if it had been written any other form, we wouldn't have been able to understand Eli and Maya's world. To be able to see how they perceived themselves around others. And the back and forth of Eli's and Maya's point of view allowed the story to flow and be experienced at it's optimal level. Mr.Emerson's writing was really well thought out and unique. I've never read any of his previous books so I went into this blind in that perspective. But I enjoyed it and think I would definitely enjoy reading more of his writing. Quote of the Book: " "Innocence is ignorance. And the ignorant are complicit. You are not longer one of the sheep, are you?" I shake my head..."I am a wolf."" Last Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book and look forward in seeing what others think of it too. There's so much for this book to offer so I hope some of you take a chance on it. It definitely provided me with insight to a person's soul and the crippling side affects of anxiety (and let's be honest I really do know the crippling side affects of anxiety). But this is definitely a book to read if into the concept of psychology. When November 20th comes, go download or order this book, it sure will break you and put you back together in a new way; a way that will leave you more beautiful and stronger.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Up All Night With Books

    3.5 Stars Review by Morgen Late Night Reviewer Up All Night w/ Books Any Second by Kevin Emerson is a standalone young adult psychological thriller about how deep the effects of trauma reach and how tempestuous the journey can be to breaking the emotional chains that bind you. Eli has been held captive for five years. He was captured at the age of eleven. He was psychologically and physically tortured. His captors intent was to warp his mind and mold him into a weapon too scared to run. He is trauma 3.5 Stars Review by Morgen Late Night Reviewer Up All Night w/ Books Any Second by Kevin Emerson is a standalone young adult psychological thriller about how deep the effects of trauma reach and how tempestuous the journey can be to breaking the emotional chains that bind you. Eli has been held captive for five years. He was captured at the age of eleven. He was psychologically and physically tortured. His captors intent was to warp his mind and mold him into a weapon too scared to run. He is traumatized and just wants to finally make them happy. Maya has severe anxiety linked with her OCD. She struggles to overcome her inner demons. She is a well-rounded character and has her weaknesses but also moments of great strength. The story begins with Eli being given the task of blowing up the mall. His captor Gabriel is shoving rhetoric at him that he’s been conditioned to believe over that past five years. If he wants the torture to end, he needs to complete his task. Maya is at the mall with her father but is inexplicably drawn to Eli and helps him realize blowing everyone up was not the right decision. After the traumatic incident at the mall, they are kept apart. Almost a year later, they somehow end up at the same high school. Here, they make some bad choices and find themselves with friends who may not have their best interests at heart. Both Eli and Maya are haunted by their past and trying and sometimes failing to keep their fears at bay. Any Second is written in first person and helps the reader have a well-rounded view of the story. Getting inside Eli and Maya heads was at times a dark place to be. I loved getting to know them better and their development felt natural. Both of them are dealing with trauma and despair and their vulnerability connected me them and made them feel more real to me. The story unravels quickly and takes you on a wild ride. The details were well written and sucked you in. There is a bit of romance but it is not a main focus and feels right with the storyline. I’d recommend to anyone who enjoys psychological stories. **ARC provided for an honest review**

  11. 4 out of 5

    Becca

    I’m going to be honest, it took me a bit to actually think about how I felt about Any Second before writing this review. It was very uncomfortable to read at times, but that’s the point. Any Second is not filled with fluff; there’s barely any happiness at all in this book. But, honestly, can we blame the characters for that? Both were a part of a tragic event & now both are dealing with the consequences. It seems as if none of the supporting characters truly knows what Maya and Eli are going I’m going to be honest, it took me a bit to actually think about how I felt about Any Second before writing this review. It was very uncomfortable to read at times, but that’s the point. Any Second is not filled with fluff; there’s barely any happiness at all in this book. But, honestly, can we blame the characters for that? Both were a part of a tragic event & now both are dealing with the consequences. It seems as if none of the supporting characters truly knows what Maya and Eli are going through. Maya’s girlfriend is probably my least favorite part of Any Second. Not only is she extremely needy — I’m just gonna say it — she’s a pretty big bitch. Can we vote her off the island — ? Any Second’s main characters struggle with PTSD; a song, an action, anything can transport Maya back to the DOC. & Eli’s brain is constantly dragging him back to the room he was tortured in. Maya also suffers from trichotillomania (hair pulling), which plays a big part in her subplot. Any Second is written in alternating chapters, so we get a deeper glance at both characters throughout the book. In my opinion & as someone who has dealt with a tragic event, Kevin Emerson represented the disorders well. I can’t say that I enjoyed reading Any Second; as mentioned above it was very uncomfortable at times, but I can say that it was a good read. Any Second has a unique plot, and Kevin Emerson seems to have done his research on the disorders that these characters have. I really enjoyed watching these two characters coming together, despite their tragic past. ** I received a copy of Any Second by Kevin Emerson from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kailey Steward

    Intense. This is the best word I can give it. I can't say I loved this one, because I didn't. I don't think this is the kind of book you love. It was a hard read for me. I feel like there should have been trigger warnings. This material was hard. I was able to get through it but I had so much difficulty and I wasn't even triggered. Just be careful reading this one. I waver between books like this being necessary and being too much. I think the writing was done well, if a bit sloppy in places. It Intense. This is the best word I can give it. I can't say I loved this one, because I didn't. I don't think this is the kind of book you love. It was a hard read for me. I feel like there should have been trigger warnings. This material was hard. I was able to get through it but I had so much difficulty and I wasn't even triggered. Just be careful reading this one. I waver between books like this being necessary and being too much. I think the writing was done well, if a bit sloppy in places. It's not a matter of writing or technical issues. My hesitation remains with the content, and I knew that going in. Tread carefully is my best advice. It's painful and brutal but some people might absolutely need this book. Just please tread carefully.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ha.Ro

    *Received a copy via Netgalley* Would I recommend? Yes Would I read another book by this author? Yes

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Reviews Books

    It relies a lot on shock value. It's gripping as you're reading it, but then you get to the end and realize there wasn't a ton there.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sandy O'Brien

    “If we really are this close to the edge all the time, then we have to be the ones to see each other and forgive each other and accept each other like there is literally no tomorrow...” What happens after surviving an almost mall bombing? #YAlit #PageTurner #TwoPOVs #AnySecond ‪“If we really are this close to the edge all the time, then we have to be the ones to see each other and forgive each other and accept each other like there is literally no tomorrow...” ‬ ‪ What happens after surviving an almost mall bombing? #YAlit #PageTurner #TwoPOVs #AnySecond‬

  16. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Elián Martinez was 10 years old when he was kidnapped walking home from school. Three years later at 14 he shows up at a local Seattle mall with a bomb strapped to his abdomen. Maya Abrams is at the mall with her dad who is getting a new photo for his driver’s license to reflect the “new him.” She notices a boy in a wolf mask standing in the middle of the waiting room for the Department of Licensing. The boy seems lost, alone, sad so she goes up to him, and that is when she notices the detonator Elián Martinez was 10 years old when he was kidnapped walking home from school. Three years later at 14 he shows up at a local Seattle mall with a bomb strapped to his abdomen. Maya Abrams is at the mall with her dad who is getting a new photo for his driver’s license to reflect the “new him.” She notices a boy in a wolf mask standing in the middle of the waiting room for the Department of Licensing. The boy seems lost, alone, sad so she goes up to him, and that is when she notices the detonator in his hand with a wire snaking into the arm of his sweatshirt, the bulges around his abdomen. She grabs his hand, putting her thumb over his so he cannot release the detonator and set off the bomb. Maya warns the people around them that he has a bomb. They go through the trauma together and then never see each other for over a year. Both suffering from PTSD getting therapy, and trying to put their lives back together. After that year, they both end up at Elliot High School, Maya as an 18 year old senior and now, and Eli Rivera as a 15 year old freshman. It is key for Eli’s true identity to remain a secret. Eli has difficulty doing regular tasks, like ordering lunch and eating the food off of a tray, nevermind socializing. One day he gets a note from his locker asking if he wants to hang out and saying that they know who he really is. A part of him feels like he should tell someone but the note seems friendly and it would be nice to have a friend that he doesn’t have to lie to about the last 5 years. It turns out to be the only other kid at his lunch table, named Graham who is a nerd and who gets bullied by some of the more popular kids. Graham seems unstable, always talking about being lonely, about not being understood, and more frighteningly killing everyone else in the world except him and Eli because that would make everything better. Near the end of the book Eli starts to realize that Graham is serious and he has to decide whether to remain silent or let someone know so they can stop and help Graham. While Maya and Eli are not supposed to speak to one another so as to not to blow Eli’s cover, they find that they are drawn together. They seem to understand one another and can help each other through their trauma better than anyone else. Even though Maya’s trauma started on that day and Eli’s began years before. As the anniversary of the thwarted bombing looms closer both Maya and Eli live in fear of Gabriel’s return and his vengeance, but perhaps he is no longer their biggest problem? Eli is of Latin American heritage, one biracial Asian/white minor character, and everyone else is assumed white. Emerson has obviously done tons of research for this novel. His PTSD and anxiety depictions ring true allowing the reader to really get a feeling for what is going on in Maya and Eli’s heads. It is a thriller that keeps the reader interested and reading late into the night. Emerson does an amazing job of reminding readers that a house or person can look normal from the outside, but you never know what’s going on beneath the surface unless you explore. As readers, we see what is off about Graham and the various warning signs that something isn’t quite right which will hopefully help kids speak out when there is someone in their school who desperately needs help before they do something that cannot be taken back. This is a challenging book where readers see the moment(s) that “broke” the main characters and then have as watch as they struggle over and over, but succeed, in slowly building themselves back up again. A powerful read that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    I received a copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much. The premise of this book sounded super interesting and I immediately wanted to try and get an ARC of it. I dived into it as soon as I finished the behemoth book Kingdom of Ash. It started off pretty great, you get Eli who gets sent into the DOL to blow it up, and it goes from there. Most of the book deals with how Eli and Maye each deal with their own forms of PTSD from the situation, and for me I received a copy of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much. The premise of this book sounded super interesting and I immediately wanted to try and get an ARC of it. I dived into it as soon as I finished the behemoth book Kingdom of Ash. It started off pretty great, you get Eli who gets sent into the DOL to blow it up, and it goes from there. Most of the book deals with how Eli and Maye each deal with their own forms of PTSD from the situation, and for me thats where it started to get boring. Don't get me wrong, the book as a whole was good, but for me watching them struggle through things that I personally would never let myself go through was a chore. Maya is dating Janice, Janice is ... (view spoiler)[freaking nuts. Talk about an abusive relationship. Maya's anxiety prevents her from distancing herself and cutting all ties from Janice. She lets Janice force her into sexual situations that she really does not want to be in; both with her, and with guys. Janice constantly leaves bruises on Maya from gripping her too hard, and prevents her from having a friendship with Graham and Eli. She constantly assumes/implies that the two guys are stalking Maya and has her two guy friends beat them up a few times. (hide spoiler)] Eli befriends another loner in the school named Graham, and boy is he a bundle of f*ed up. (view spoiler)[ This kid is obsessed with the idea of killing students in some form or fashion and in a way idealizes Gabriel, the man who kidnapped Eli. Eli becomes increasingly aware that Graham could be, and probably is, serious about harming the students at school. Its confirmed when you find out Graham is the online Persona, Alpha, who keeps talking about the day that he will end their lives. Instead of telling Pearson though, he lets things boil over and Graham comes to school with a "bomb". Though its not real, Graham wants everyone to think it is, and it seems almost like he wants to suicide by cop because his life is just "completely awful" even though his parents seem more than understanding and like great people. (hide spoiler)] The whole book is just one big OMG DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT ALREADY feeling. I feel like the author *should* have included more about Gabriel and Eli, maybe a portion of the book being flashbacks of his time spent there. All in all I'd give this book about a 3.5 stars.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Brooke

    Eli was supposed to be a human bomb. Sent into a crowded mall by the man who kidnapped him five years earlier, Eli was supposed to take himself out and everyone around him in a blast designed to fulfill “The Purpose.” Supposed to. That is, until Maya happened. Battling her own demons, Maya miraculously interferes, saving Eli from his captor and certain death. Now nearly a year later, both Eli and Maya are trying to cope with what happened on the day they lived instead of died. Eli is adjusting t Eli was supposed to be a human bomb. Sent into a crowded mall by the man who kidnapped him five years earlier, Eli was supposed to take himself out and everyone around him in a blast designed to fulfill “The Purpose.” Supposed to. That is, until Maya happened. Battling her own demons, Maya miraculously interferes, saving Eli from his captor and certain death. Now nearly a year later, both Eli and Maya are trying to cope with what happened on the day they lived instead of died. Eli is adjusting to being back with his family and attending high school anonymously - no one knows who he really is. Maya is dealing with a barrage of anxieties in a self-destructive manner by picking at her skin and pulling out her hair. Eli and Maya are not supposed to communicate - authorities deem it a safety issue - but they find themselves inexplicably drawn to each other. After all, no one understands what it was like to have survived that near-death situation in the mall except for them. Can two broken people possibly be good for one another? Will their friendship make life easier for the two of them, or will it be all the more difficult? Any Second by prolific YA author Kevin Emerson is a novel that explores what it is like to be broken and become whole again. Emerson expands beautifully on the utterly overwhelming sense of life that occurs when a person is battling past trauma or a mental illness through this thought-provoking and sensitive novel. Emerson’s characters of Eli and Maya are such fragile people, who through each other try to make sense of a difficult situation. As much as this is a novel about forging meaningful friendships and not letting your past define you, it is also a story of suspense. Both Eli and Maya have some questionable, potentially destructive people in their lives, who play an important part in their story. With several twists and turns, as well as touching, emotional relationships between the characters, Any Second is a definite page turner. Sensitive readers should note that there are many possible triggers and difficult topics discussed in this book. Thank you to NetGalley & Random House Children’s for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    After being kidnapped from a Seattle street and kept prisoner for years, Elian is ready to blow up the Cedar Gate Mall. Years of torture, abuse, and isolation have left him broken and obedient to his captor, a man he knows as Gabriel. But a malfunction with the bomb gives Maya, a girl who happens to be at the driver's license bureau a few seconds to intervene. A year passes, and both teens are attending the same high school. Maya suffers from acute anxiety, pulling her hair and tearing her flesh After being kidnapped from a Seattle street and kept prisoner for years, Elian is ready to blow up the Cedar Gate Mall. Years of torture, abuse, and isolation have left him broken and obedient to his captor, a man he knows as Gabriel. But a malfunction with the bomb gives Maya, a girl who happens to be at the driver's license bureau a few seconds to intervene. A year passes, and both teens are attending the same high school. Maya suffers from acute anxiety, pulling her hair and tearing her flesh, and she's in an unhealthy relationship with an over-controlling classmate, Janice. Eli has police protection since Gabriel was never located. As Eli falls into a friendship with Graham, another troubled teen who seems to have no friends but offers him some outlets for his own anger and conflicted feelings. A surprising friendship develops between Eli and Maya with both of them drawing strength from each other and both slowly starting to heal. But Graham cannot tolerate their friendship and feels betrayed by Eli and concocts plans of his own. Although some parts of the plot made me wonder--the two youngsters attending the same school, for instance--I kept waiting for one of the characters to explode out of fear, out of rage, out of a need to be heard. I was not disappointed, but I also was encouraged when Maya spoke of how risky it is to care and to open up to someone. While it's clear that it is, indeed, risky, it's also necessary to feel that we have been heard. How discouraging it is when no one seems to be listening, all the while that we are crying out for help in our own way! Parts of this story blew me away as i was reminded that there is always a reason or a story behind violent acts and that recovery from life's horrors takes time, patience, and much work. Sometimes the individuals who seem to have your back may just be leading you on the path to self-destruction or taking advantage of your weakness. This one could have been taken for one of the recent headlines about violence in schools.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    *I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review* The world can change in a moment. Eli is at the mall, a bomb strapped to his chest by the man who kidnapped him years before. Maya is at the same mall, waiting with her dad while he gets a new license photo taken. Maya looks up and notices the boy in a mask, sees him struggle with the bomb's trigger - she jumps in, helping him to keep the bomb from detonating. Eli lets her stay with him until they're both rescued, both safe. E *I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review* The world can change in a moment. Eli is at the mall, a bomb strapped to his chest by the man who kidnapped him years before. Maya is at the same mall, waiting with her dad while he gets a new license photo taken. Maya looks up and notices the boy in a mask, sees him struggle with the bomb's trigger - she jumps in, helping him to keep the bomb from detonating. Eli lets her stay with him until they're both rescued, both safe. Everything changed in that one instant. Months later, Maya and Eli are both struggling to deal with the trauma of that day at the mall, both of them hurting while they are supposed to be safe from everything that was dark and scary about their shared experience. Maya is held captive by her anxiety, while Eli works to shed the ideas his kidnapper forced on him for years. When they find themselves at the same high school, each must find the strength to get better within themselves as well as through their connection to one another. I thought the writing in this book was beautiful. That being said, it was an incredibly uncomfortable story to read. The characters' flaws are on full display to the reader, and you begin to feel very immersed in their trauma. It is a book that really illustrates the different paths that trauma can take, and it is important to follow through with each of those ways, to see them through to their fruition. *Definite trigger warnings for violence, discussion of sexual assault, kidnapping, drug abuse, self-harm, trauma, school shootings, and extreme PTSD.* While there wasn't really anything wrong with the book, the intensity of the writing and the ugliness of some of the characters made this a very stressful read. I would keep that in mind, as well as the trigger warnings, when recommending this book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Julie Kirchner

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I had the opportunity to read this book as a part of my #BookVoyage book group. I had a hard time reading this book because quite honestly, the content made me anxious. After only a chapter I was feeling like I was in for an intense ride and I was certainly correct. Elian was kidnapped on the way home from school at the age of 11. After years of torture and brainwashing by his captor, he is sent into a mall to blow it up. This is where he “meets” Maya, a girl his age who suffers from terrible anx I had the opportunity to read this book as a part of my #BookVoyage book group. I had a hard time reading this book because quite honestly, the content made me anxious. After only a chapter I was feeling like I was in for an intense ride and I was certainly correct. Elian was kidnapped on the way home from school at the age of 11. After years of torture and brainwashing by his captor, he is sent into a mall to blow it up. This is where he “meets” Maya, a girl his age who suffers from terrible anxiety, yet somehow stops Eli from setting off the bomb that will kill them both. Maya and Eli share a life-changing event and it draws them together, just as their “broken” lives have led them to other people in their lives who only make their confusion and hopelessness worse. Together they learn self-love, forgiveness, and how to build hope in themselves and each other. While I found this book to be incredibly riveting and I didn’t want to put it down, I also felt very overwhelmed with the content. This is why I only gave it four stars. There were so many horrible things going on including kidnapping, mental and physical abuse by the kidnapper, anxiety that leads to extreme hair pulling to the point of baldness, a bullied boy who has a fascination with guns/revenge on his tormentors, cyber bullying, and possible bombing/violence at a school that I could see this book being an emotionally draining, perhaps even a trigger book for some who may have faced trauma in their own life. I think this will be a very popular book for high school age students.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bill Thorness

    Delving into today's youth culture, this engrossing novel grapples with many growing-up challenges I can recall and relate to, as well as heartbreaking issues that would have been unthinkable in past generations but are just Thursday for today's teens. From misfits and bullies to kidnapping and school shootings, the themes weave a disturbing tableau that, even if you're decades removed from high school, has the graininess and immediacy of reality footage. Kevin Emerson expertly develops sympathet Delving into today's youth culture, this engrossing novel grapples with many growing-up challenges I can recall and relate to, as well as heartbreaking issues that would have been unthinkable in past generations but are just Thursday for today's teens. From misfits and bullies to kidnapping and school shootings, the themes weave a disturbing tableau that, even if you're decades removed from high school, has the graininess and immediacy of reality footage. Kevin Emerson expertly develops sympathetic characters who need to fight, sometimes as ineffectually as we all would, against a strong current of events, attitudes and even their own humanly imperfect actions. As rising tension kept the pages turning, my concern intensified as I realized how deeply violence and alienation have become ingrained in today's US culture. What we are loading onto the shoulders of today's youth is unconscionable, and it's only overcome by the amazing ability of the human spirit to conquer adversity. Through the grungy layers of a seriously messed up society, love and idealism and hope sprout up. This is a Young Adult novel with universal themes that should open the eyes and hearts of people from teenagers to elders.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Thamy

    What just happened? I wasn't ready for this much depth, I had to take more than my usual couple of days to put my thoughts in order for this review. Elián was kidnapped when he was around 10 and kept for many years while suffering brainwash so intense he barely remembered his own name. In his mind, his mother had died, his sister been raped over and over. That's the state he is when he is released in a shopping mall, which he is supposed to blow over as a statement. But the bomb doesn't work and What just happened? I wasn't ready for this much depth, I had to take more than my usual couple of days to put my thoughts in order for this review. Elián was kidnapped when he was around 10 and kept for many years while suffering brainwash so intense he barely remembered his own name. In his mind, his mother had died, his sister been raped over and over. That's the state he is when he is released in a shopping mall, which he is supposed to blow over as a statement. But the bomb doesn't work and that's when he meets Maya, a troubled teenager who finally notices him standing there. Now it's been a year and fate makes so the two are now in the same school, but not supposed to talk. The incident left big scars in both and their new encounter only makes them clearer. However, it is also them finding each other what brings them closer than ever to healing. Still, Elián's captor is out there. This is a thriller with a little of romance and lot of hurt. Both Maya's and Elián's issues are very there, it really bothered me as I read. This isn't a pretty novel for you to feel emotional, it's all very twisted. I didn't expect to feel so invested about the story or the characters. I can't say it was perfect, though. Maybe it's because it was written to bother the reader, but the characters could be too weird at times and some of the happenings made me frown. I'm not 100% with the conclusion but I can still say it was good at least. I don't recommend this to anyone who might feel triggered with bombs, self-mutilation, guns and the such. Aside from that, I think this was an exceptional YA psychological thriller, and I will be following this writer more closely from now on.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nannette Demmler

    This book was amazing and such a realistic portrayal of two very damaged young people. I’m still thinking about it weeks after I finished it. It was very powerful in its portrayal of anxiety and PTSD and how you can sometime find solace in unlikely friendships. When we first meet Maya, she is already a bit of a mess. Her experience with Eli in the mall just makes her anxiety worse, and because of her anxiety and later her PTSD, she can’t accept how truly brave and strong she is. I liked that she This book was amazing and such a realistic portrayal of two very damaged young people. I’m still thinking about it weeks after I finished it. It was very powerful in its portrayal of anxiety and PTSD and how you can sometime find solace in unlikely friendships. When we first meet Maya, she is already a bit of a mess. Her experience with Eli in the mall just makes her anxiety worse, and because of her anxiety and later her PTSD, she can’t accept how truly brave and strong she is. I liked that she found solace in her music finally, she is the drummer in the school’s jazz band. Some of the descriptions of how she felt while playing were amazing. She has a hard time relating to anyone, family and friends, because she is afraid that they don’t see her the way she sees herself. Eli was also a mess, but after what he went through you just want to wrap him up in a hug. It was heartbreaking reading what had been done to him, but he is also stronger than he knows and with the support of others I really think he will get better. The plot wasn’t quite what I was expecting from the summary. Except for the first chapter which is about their first encounter in the mall, the rest of the story takes place almost a year later. Both Eli and Maya are struggling to make it through their days. Maya is in an unhealthy romantic relationship and Eli ends up with an unhealthy friendship. Most of their relationships with their families and friends are difficult. They end up at the same school and both have been told that they should stay away from each other, but they do eventually find each other and their budding friendship is the only good thing in their lives. Together they were definitely stronger, and they are eventually able to convince others that as well. I don’t want to say much more about this book because you really need to read it for your self. It is the best contemporary I have read this year and I highly recommend that you see for yourself just how good it is. https://elnadesbookchat.com/

  25. 4 out of 5

    Leanne C

    I was fortunate to receive an Advance Reader Copy of Any Second from Kevin Emerson via Net Galley. I had read two of Emerson’s MG novels and was keen to read this one. Being a once in awhile YA reader, I was shocked at the “rawness” of this novel at first. The two main characters take us on the ups and downs of recovering from some horrific experiences. And the road to recovery, to healing, is not at all smooth. There are some important issues that many teens and adults will connect with, includ I was fortunate to receive an Advance Reader Copy of Any Second from Kevin Emerson via Net Galley. I had read two of Emerson’s MG novels and was keen to read this one. Being a once in awhile YA reader, I was shocked at the “rawness” of this novel at first. The two main characters take us on the ups and downs of recovering from some horrific experiences. And the road to recovery, to healing, is not at all smooth. There are some important issues that many teens and adults will connect with, including loneliness, anxiety, hopelessness and peer pressure. That we are stronger when we connect with others is a recurring theme throughout the novel. This book is blunt and harsh and made me squirm at times. But this is all necessary to deliver the important message that we can overcome the challenges thrown our way by holding onto hope, being brave and reaching out to others. This is a powerful novel that will stick with me and I will be recommending it to teens and adults I know.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tera

    Finally made it through this book! Where the synopsis was intriguing enough and the first couple chapters that were written in first person felt so strong, it fell flat once the third person took over. It was almost like it disconnected me from the characters and it took forever to connect me to them again. Eli went through the unimaginable when he was kidnapped and brainwashed. Maya definitely is struggling with her high school years as it is, and her chance encounter with Eli did not help. I r Finally made it through this book! Where the synopsis was intriguing enough and the first couple chapters that were written in first person felt so strong, it fell flat once the third person took over. It was almost like it disconnected me from the characters and it took forever to connect me to them again. Eli went through the unimaginable when he was kidnapped and brainwashed. Maya definitely is struggling with her high school years as it is, and her chance encounter with Eli did not help. I really did love Maya as a character. I would love to give her story a 5, but as it’s told in dual POV, I just can’t. Eli’s character wasn’t necessarily poorly developed in my opinion, he was just underdeveloped. And where I felt this book should have more suspense, it just didn’t. The last 10% was the best part of the book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Lorie Barber

    This book, a YA from the author of The Dark Star series, came to our reading group from the author - many thanks! And when I say “many thanks,” what I really mean is, “Oh my god, thanks for keeping me in a state of pure tension and constant worry throughout the entire book.” Kevin Emerson really knows how to maintain such a high state of tension that the reader feels like she can’t exhale for a moment. Then there were the feels: such sorrow for both Eli & Maya, and fury for what they had to e This book, a YA from the author of The Dark Star series, came to our reading group from the author - many thanks! And when I say “many thanks,” what I really mean is, “Oh my god, thanks for keeping me in a state of pure tension and constant worry throughout the entire book.” Kevin Emerson really knows how to maintain such a high state of tension that the reader feels like she can’t exhale for a moment. Then there were the feels: such sorrow for both Eli & Maya, and fury for what they had to endure. Their characters were so poignantly developed, and I am grateful to have a reference - fictional though it might be - for what trauma looks like and sounds like in kids. This is obviously due to Emerson’s impeccable research and care he took with this difficult subject matter. A definite rec for 8th & up.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Meghan

    This was not your typical love story. Imagine if Edward and Bella meet Katniss and Peeta. Mayhem will break loose. That is the exact feeling while reading this book. This is by far the darkest love story I have previewed but that is what made this story really addicting and it just kept pulling me in so hard that I finished previewing this book in less than 20 minutes. An extravagant novel so well written that it keeps wanting you to read more and never stop. What made this story be so great is This was not your typical love story. Imagine if Edward and Bella meet Katniss and Peeta. Mayhem will break loose. That is the exact feeling while reading this book. This is by far the darkest love story I have previewed but that is what made this story really addicting and it just kept pulling me in so hard that I finished previewing this book in less than 20 minutes. An extravagant novel so well written that it keeps wanting you to read more and never stop. What made this story be so great is the bond Maya and Eli have and how they met and now they have to depend on each other in order to survive. Thank you Netgalley and Random House Children's Publishing for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. We will definitely consider this title for our young adult collection in our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Melanie Belson (booklovewithmelanie)

    I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley. Really giving this about 3.75-4 stars The beginning and ending were amazing but the middle just lacked something. Like how old are these kids at the dance (that was the thought, I know how old they were supposed to be) so how were there no chaperones?!? I just found myself rolling my eyes at a few things in the middle. That being said the rest was very well done and handled. My heart hurt for what Eli and Maya had both been through and a I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley. Really giving this about 3.75-4 stars The beginning and ending were amazing but the middle just lacked something. Like how old are these kids at the dance (that was the thought, I know how old they were supposed to be) so how were there no chaperones?!? I just found myself rolling my eyes at a few things in the middle. That being said the rest was very well done and handled. My heart hurt for what Eli and Maya had both been through and are still dealing with. Bringing them together and allowing them to be friends and lean on each other was instrumental to the heart of story. Major trigger warnings for kidnapping, mental health and abuse.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book so I could give an honest review. "Any Second" by Kevin Emerson is a standalone young adult psychological thriller that holds you captive right from the beginning, yes, pun intended. Eli Martinez has been held captive for years and tortured physically, sexually, and mentally. His captor releases him in the middle of a crowded mall with a bomb strapped to him. Maya Abrams is at the mall too. Her father wants to get an updated license picture to I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book so I could give an honest review. "Any Second" by Kevin Emerson is a standalone young adult psychological thriller that holds you captive right from the beginning, yes, pun intended. Eli Martinez has been held captive for years and tortured physically, sexually, and mentally. His captor releases him in the middle of a crowded mall with a bomb strapped to him. Maya Abrams is at the mall too. Her father wants to get an updated license picture to show the "new him" that goes along with his new girlfriend. Maya notices a boy walking toward her in the Department of Licensing. The first thing she notices is he is wearing a wolf mask. The second thing is that he looks sad and alone. Without knowing why, Maya approaches Eli. It is then she notices the detonator. Eli believes he has to complete his "mission" and pushes the detonator but the bomb does not go off. Maya places her hand on the detonator, tells everyone to leave the area, and tells Eli "I got you". What follows is a story about survivors, PTSD, high school and the difficulties that go with it, and Eli and Maya. The one word I would use to describe this story is intense.

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