by Lauren Oliver
Summary: 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.
Source: I preordered a copy for Kindle.
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I should start by saying I love Lauren Oliver. Before I Fall is a book that stayed with me ever since I finished and I’ll never forget the way it made me feel. The Delirium trilogy is another favorite of mine. While everyone else hated the ending, I loved it. So when Panic came out, I had to have it.
Panic was good. I loved the idea of a small town having something like Panic, where graduates compete for a big prize. It is plausible because small towns can be boring and people end up feeling stuck with no way out. Panic is just the sort of thing that would come about to solve both problems. And with any high stakes game, secrets were kept. Panic turned the lives of Heather, Nat, Dodge, and Bishop upside down. It altered their friendships and the way they saw each other, but it also helped strengthen their friendship in other ways. Everyone had their own reasons for competing and wanting to win.
Lauren Oliver was able to capture the hopelessness and struggle of the teen in a small nowhere town. I loved the premise and the way each person’s motives interconnected with the others. I also loved the fact that the book was a standalone novel and not a series. That fact is what led me to read the book in the first place.
In many ways, Panic was incredible. I loved the realizations, the fear, the unlikely friendships, and the whole Panic game idea as a whole. But when I finished, I couldn’t help but feel like the book was forgettable in a way that none of the author’s novels have felt for me. It had great characters, a good ending, and in all ways should have been an easy 5 stars, but just… wasn’t. I feel like I needed more from it for some reason. I needed more detail, more character background, and more of a look at the town as a whole. I got such a tiny slice of Carp and it just wasn’t enough to care about.
I would recommend the book to others. It was enjoyable and interesting. I think a lot of people expected a dystopia and that’s why there seems to be so many Hunger Games comparisons, but it wasn’t a dystopia at all. It was a contemporary story involving a game called Panic.
Labels: Review, YA