Panic by Lauren Oliver
Published by HarperCollins on March 4th 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery
Buy on Book Depository
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.
Having really enjoyed the Delirium series, by Lauren Oliver, I was excited to discover her new book, Panic. I enjoyed it, for the most part, but not as much as Delirium, and I possibly wouldn’t read it again.
In the small town of Carp each summer, Panic happens. It started because it there was nothing to do, but grew into something much more than than. Graduated teens can participate in Panic, a summer-long series of dangerous challenges, in the hopes of winning the jack-pot money prize at the end. Heather wants to win so she can get out of the dead-end town. While she never thought she’d compete, a last minute decision plunged her into a summer of terrifying challenges and events. Dodge, on the other hand, always knew he had it in him. He has a reason to play, and it’s not a particularly pretty one. Heather’s friend Natalie is also competing, and while Heather’s best friend Bishop is not, he is along side them all the time.
The story follows Heather and Dodge (in mostly alternating chapters) throughout the summer as they compete for the money prize. As the summer goes on, competitors are eliminated by coming last or receiving the lowest amount of points/time in each round. Some even die. Yup! It’s that extreme, and it doesn’t get less so as the summer goes by. On the contrary. It’s a miracle any of them make it out a live really. It’s not the Hunger Games, but I know I wouldn’t want to be playing.
While I mostly liked the story line (though it all seemed a little pointless to me…they’re doing all these things just for money…? They’re not going to save the world or take down some evil government or anything or stop the spread of a flesh eating disease?), I didn’t really feel for any of the characters. Also, I felt sure that two characters would get together in the end, and they didn’t, and that was disappointing. It was slightly anticlimactic, which sort of left me with a ‘oh…eh’ kind of feeling. As always though, I do love Oliver’s writing style. It’s really a breeze to read, and she writes beautifully.
It’s a book of mixed feelings for me, definitely. I think I was partly a bit disappointed because I was hoping to love it a lot, and it let me down. But! It wasn’t a bad read! Just one of highs and lows…Argh! I’m torn. Definitely a three star.
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.