Author: Lauren Oliver
Genre: Teen Fiction
Release Date: March 4, 2014
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
The Overview: 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.
Panic was such a cool book. While outside of my normal genre (all things make-believe) it had the one element that will make me read practically anything:
I’m serious. Someone could write a narrative about weeds encroaching on their front lawn and I probably pick it up because I want to see who wins. Luckily, the competition in Panic was a lot more interesting. Every year, high school graduates of this small town have the option to compete in a series of dangerous challenges in the hopes of earning a life-changing pot of money. For some of the graduates, the money is their ticket out of some pretty deplorable circumstances. I loved digging into the lives of a couple of the contestants to find out what motivated them to compete in this somewhat deadly game.
The competition ended up being a lot more personal to these characters than I would’ve guessed. The character development throughout the story, specifically that of Heather, one of the main POVs, was actually my favorite element of the story. The types of situation she finds herself in, and the inner strength she pulls from to get through them was inspiring. The other characters were great, too, but Heather is the one that will stick with me the longest.
This is the second book I’ve read by Lauren Oliver, and I can confidently say I’m a fan of her writing. Not only does she know how to create great atmosphere, but her writing style and voice are both lovely and evoking. I always get drawn into her books from the first page and have a difficult time finding good stopping places. In Panic, Oliver managed to portray exactly how it felt to be an angsty teen (of the non-annoying variety), reminding me of all the sweet, awkward, embarrassing, uncomfortable, and stupid things we go through at that age. It was nostalgic to say the least, and I kind of wish I’d been able to read this book when I was a teen because it offered a sort of reassurance that I wasn’t alone.
Overall, this was a fantastic novel from an author I am becoming quite fond of. I am certain I will be picking up anything she decides to write in the future (as soon as I devour all the books she’s already written). If you haven’t read her before, Panic is a great place to start.
Recommended Reading: this is going to be an easy book to recommend because it has love, adventure, drama and just a touch of mystery all wrapped into a nifty little package. I am glad to have something to recommend to readers who aren’t in the mood for fantasy or paranormal.
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