Reviews

Second Chances

roni-simunovic

When I was in high school, I waited impatiently for each new volume of Brian Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim graphic novel series to come to our one small local comic shop. Four years later, waiting for his new book, Seconds (Ballantine Books), was no different. But O’Malley was surprisingly secretive about Seconds prior to its publication—even through social media and his strong online presence, he showed readers little more than occasional drawings of main characters and single-panel sketches, keeping the novel’s plot a mystery. Because of this, I skipped the dust jacket teaser and dove right into the book, and I’m glad I did—Seconds is an incredibly suspenseful read. The story is about getting second chances, whether you deserve them or not. Katie is an intelligent but hapless restaurant owner who never manages to do the right thing, so when she sees a weird figure in the bedroom above her restaurant—her waitress and new friend Hazel tells her it’s a house spirit—and it offers her a do-over following a particularly bad workplace snafu, she takes it. The spirit says she only gets one chance, but Katie realizes she can fix everything that’s wrong with her life if she has enough revisions … right? To make a 336-page story short, it doesn’t work out the way she plans. Seconds is a long read, beautiful and captivating, and as much as I loved Scott Pilgrim, this new book is a far cry from O’Malley’s previous work in a very, very good way. It has all of his usual wit and cleverness inside a fascinating, entertaining and at times frightening fable. If I had to pick one comic to be stuck with on a desert island, it might be Seconds. I want to read it a thousand times.

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