Panic by Lauren Oliver
Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.
Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.
Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn’t know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.
For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.
I was in no way compensated for this review. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
On the surface, Panic is just about some kids playing a crazy and dangerous game of dare, with the dares as a series of challenges continuing throughout the summer and most are very dangerous. The game of Panic happens annually for new high school graduates. They compete by doing rather stupid and reckless things in the chance of winning the grand prize. However, there’s more to the story than that. It contains depth about these kids’ lives as well.
The story was gripping and had me hooked. As brutal as it was and as much as I disagreed with the things that the kids were doing, I wanted to keep reading. Panic is filled with suspense and emotion from beginning to end. And disturbing as it is at times, I did enjoy this book.
Some characters could have been more developed. Particularly the secondary character, Bishop. Bishop is Heather’s long-time best friend, but I feel like I still don’t really know who he is completely. The other characters were almost fully developed, but there could have/should have been just a little bit more in order for me to not complain! We learn quite a bit about Heather and Dodge, because they are whom the narrator follows most closely.
I didn’t love the characters, but I didn’t dislike them either. I was able to connect with them and root for them, but in the end, I think they were all pretty mediocre and I’ll probably end up forgetting about them. I did love that most of the characters aren’t anything special, though. With one exception (Natalie), these characters are just your average and normal looking people. They are not portrayed as being over-the-top beautiful kids that seems to be common in YA and NA books these days.
I thought the writing was very good. I enjoyed the fact that it wasn’t just about the games. There’s a good amount of depth and insight into the kids lives as well.
I know Lauren Oliver has a HUGE amount of fans out there, mainly due to her Delirium series (which I still haven’t read yet!!), and I have to say that after reading her debut book, Before I Fall, I wasn’t that impressed. I have had Delirium on my to-read list forever, but haven’t picked it up because, frankly, I’m intimidated by all the hype and I don’t want to not love it like everyone else does! However, after reading Panic, I can now see the attraction to Oliver’s writing and I will be picking up Delirium soon. I just hope I love it! I would recommend this book to all Oliver’s fans out there. If you already love her, I don’t think Panic will disappoint.
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