O’Malley is a Canadian comic book artist, in addition to being a musician. Seconds was written soon after the conclusion of O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim novels, a six-part series that starts with Scott Pilgrim and spawned the movie Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and a massive cult following.
Katie, a successful but burnt out chef lives above the prosperous restaurant, Seconds, that she created with the help of many friends who have since moved on. Still regretful about her previous relationship and hastily made career decisions, Katie holds onto hope regarding the restaurant she hopes to open in the future. However, a mysterious house spirit, neatly printed instructions found in a dresser, and some odd mushrooms offer her the chance to rectify some of those mistakes. Though the spirit Lis makes it clear that the miracle should only occur once, Katie resists and uses the magic again and again, undoing older and older mistakes until her life is no longer recognizable, and she finds herself in a deeper problem than any choice she can undo.
Seconds was a recommendation from a friend that I ended up reading shortly after Scott Pilgrim. I highly recommend both, to anyone, though if you're looking for a fun, quick read, Seconds is definitely the way to go. O’Malley offers an interesting story that, at it’s base, is just about real life and the mistakes and perils associated with adulthood, but add in fantasy elements and it becomes much more. The book is geared towards an older audience than Scott Pilgrim, as its lead is nearing 30, however, both books can easily be enjoyed by teens. O’Malley’s progression as an artist and storyteller is really evident from one book to the next, as his cute, blocky style is preserved, but his characters are a lot more life-like and distinctive than in SP, and though the world isn’t as fleshed out, the story is still complete and satisfactory. Seconds is cute, funny, charming, dark at times, and overall thought-provoking. You may walk away from it questioning what you’d want to redo, but also asking what mistakes have been definitive of your own life and experience.
Nikki, a (Dusen)Berry Blogger and member of the River Teen Advisory Board