Lives Broken

Any Second by Kevin Emerson

Publication Date: November 20, 2018

Summary from NetGalley:

Any SecondMarieke Nijkamp’s This is Where it Ends meets Kathleen Glasgow’s Girl in Pieces in a gripping novel that explores the depths of trauma and the strength it takes to rise again. Perfect for readers of Ellen Hopkins.

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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ARC provided by Random House Children’s via NetGalley for an honest review.


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. 

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