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Book Review: Panic by Lauren Oliver

Panic_HC_JKT_des4.inddTitle: Panic

Author: Lauren Oliver

Series: N/A

Genre: Teen Fiction

Release Date: March 4, 2014

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

The OverviewPanic 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

The Review:

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:

Competition.

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.

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes

Niki’s Book Recommendations

If you liked: The Hunger Games By Suzanne Collins

a6

Then you might also like:

42Title: Partials

Author: Dan Wells

Series: Partials #1

Genre: Teen Fantasy

This is my top recommend for books similar to HG. It has an excellent fast-paced plot, interesting characters, and compelling conflicts. It is also written beautifully, landing itself as my favorite book of 2013! Read full review

divergentTitle: Divergent

Author: Veronica Roth

Series: Divergent #1

Genre: Teen Fantasy

What I loved most about the HG (aside from how well it was written) was the unique concept behind it. Divergent also had a highly original plot that actually kept me up into the night (I hardly ever sacrifice sleep for books anymore). Read full review

aTitle: Delirium

Author: Lauren Oliver

Series: Delirium#1

Genre: Teen Fantasy

Although this dystopian novel focuses more on the romanic element, the overall arc of the plot and general writing style are quite similar to the Hunger Games.

a1Title: Uglies

Author: Scott Westerfeld

Series: Uglies #1

Genre: Teen Fantasy

This series was one of the first dystopian books on the market, and no doubt an inspiration to many writers. I loved the idea, I loved the world, and I loved the characters. This is a must-read classic for any dystopian lover. Read full review

a2Title: Matched

Author: Ally Condie

Series: Matched #1

Genre: Teen Fantasy

Like Delirium, matched is more focused on the romantic aspect of the story rather than fast-paced action, but it’s still an excellent dystopian novel in its own right. Its kind of a cool mix between Fahrenheit 451 and the HG. Definitely geared more towards women.

a1Title: Ship Breaker

Author: Paolo Bacigalupi

Series: N/A

Genre: Teen Fantasy

Ship Breaker reminded me a lot of the HG because it had a similar overall feel to the story.  It sounds weird, but it made me somehow nostalgic of Suzanne Collin’s work, and was such a good story I remember it vividly several years later. It definitely made me want to read some of his other fantasy novels.

Well, there you have it! My top picks for books like Hunger Games. Let me know if I’m missing any really good ones! :)

Coming Soon: Requiem

Mar 5Title: Requiem

Series: Delirium Trilogy #3

Author: Lauren Oliver

Genre: Teen Fantasy

Release Date: March 5, 2013

Not sure if I would like this series or not, I started skimming through the first chapter of “Delirium”… then soon found myself curled up on a chair, engrossed in the story. It has one of those memorable plot lines that sticks with you long after you’ve finished. I highly recommend these if you enjoyed the “Matched” trilogy by Ally Condie or even “Divergent” by Veronica Roth. Get excited because the final book of the series comes out in a few months – I can’t wait!

If you are new to this author, here’s some information on her previous works:

aTitle: Delirium (Delirium Trilogy #1)

Overview: They say that the cure for Love will make me happy and safe forever. And I’ve always believed them. Until now. Now everything has changed. Now, I’d rather be infected with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live a hundred years smothered by a lie.

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sTitle: Pandemonium (Delirium Trilogy #2)

Overview: I’m pushing aside the memory of my nightmare, pushing aside thoughts of Alex,pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school.
Like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead. But the old Lena is dead too. I buried her. I left her beyond a fence, behind a wall of smoke and flame.

Extras:

hanaTitle: Hana (Delirium Novella)

Overview: The summer before they’re supposed to be cured of the ability to love, best friends Lena and Hana begin to drift apart. While Lena shies away from underground music and parties with boys, Hana jumps at her last chance to experience the forbidden. For her, the summer is full of wild music, dancing—and even her first kiss. But on the surface, Hana must be a model of perfect behavior. She meets her approved match, Fred Hargrove, and glimpses the safe, comfortable life she’ll have with him once they marry. As the date for her cure draws ever closer, Hana desperately misses Lena, wonders how it feels to truly be in love, and is simultaneously terrified of rebelling and of falling into line.

asTitle: Annabel (Delirium Novella)

Release Date: December 26, 2012 (ebook)

Overview: Lena Halloway’s mother, Annabel, supposedly committed suicide when Lena was only six years old. That’s the lie that Lena grew up believing, but the truth is very different. As a rebellious teenager, Annabel ran away from home and straight into the man she knew she was destined to marry. The world was different then—the regulations not as stringent, the cure only a decade old. Fast forward to the present, and Annabel is consigned to a dirty prison cell, where she nurtures her hope of escape and scratches one word over and over into the walls: Love. But Annabel, like Lena, is a fighter. Through chapters that alternate between her past and present, Annabel reveals the story behind her failed cures, her marriage, the births of her children, her imprisonment, and, ultimately, her daring escape.

asdTitle: Raven (Delerium Novella)

Release Date: March 5, 2012 (ebook)

Overview: forthcoming

*Overviews taken from bn.com

Coming Soon: Annabel by Lauren Oliver

Title: Annabel

Series: Delirium

Author: Lauren Oliver

Release Date: December 26, 2012 Now Available!

I am actually really looking forward to reading this novella. Annabel is an extremely fascinating character, and I remember thinking I wanted to read more about her. Hopefully it will help hold me over until “Requiem” comes out in March.