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Bryan Lee O’Malley (Author and Illustrator),

Random House (Publisher)

> Review by Michael Hoffert Jr.

Everybody wishes they could have a second chance, whether it’s a single moment or the course of their entire lives, and this desire is the driving force behind Seconds, Bryan Lee O’Malley’s latest graphic novel. O’Malley, known for the hyperkinetic pop culture-infused Scott Pilgrim series, matures his style with this stand-alone tome, presented in full color by the exorbitantly talented Nathan Fairbairn. Where in many ways Scott Pilgrim is about the teenage years, Seconds is about the trials a person goes through in their mid-twenties, trying to find their place in the world. The book follows Katie, co-owner and head chef of Seconds, the most popular restaurant in town, as she’s on the verge of buying her own eatery. Katie is frustrated with the grief that comes along with wanting something her own, whether it’s her own business or a person to love, and one night she stumbles upon a magic mushroom and notepad that allows her to correct a single mistake. What follows is a thoughtful and bizarre tale as Katie’s attempts to correct her mistakes soon spiral out of control. While O’Malley still manages to hold onto the fun and obtuseness that made Scott Pilgrim such a joy to read, Seconds also shows that he’s grown, delving deeper into relationships and life in general as well as artistically. Whether you are a fan of Scott Pilgrim or not, Seconds is one of the most profound graphic narrative experiences I’ve found for a person in their mid-twenties in a very long time, and will stick with the reader long after the final page has been turned.

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