Genre: YA Contemporary
Expected Publication: March 4th, 2014
Page Count: 416
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.
*A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher*
I've only ever read two of Lauren Oliver's books (Delirium and Pandemonium) and I truly did enjoy her writing. If there's one thing that stands out with her books, it is her writing. Seeing that she wrote this book, I was pretty excited to start reading it, thinking that I would just as thoroughly enjoy it as I have her other books, but sadly, Panic didn't reach my expectations.
The book is told in the points of view of Heather and Dodge, two newly high school graduates that decide to join in the dangerous game of Panic for their own secretive reasons. For a while, I didn't care about either of them. I'd say it wasn't until about half way through that I found myself interested in Heather's story. For some reason, they didn't connect with me. I found Dodge to be very one-sided and I only found Heather to be interesting once a lot of her character growth had gone by. At first, I thought Heather to be very . . . immature in some aspects, and her decisions would annoy me (like joining Panic).
I was very confused by the first few chapters of the book for some reason. I don't know, maybe I read through them too fast and missed something, but it was difficult at first to keep track with what was going on. Heather was going to do the Jump for some reason and some person's thoughts were running through her head and a bit of the rules of Panic were kind of mentioned. It was all very jumbled and everywhere, in my opinion, and I think all that mess slowed down the plot at first.
Speaking of plot, another thing that really bogged it down was Lauren Oliver's writing, I think. I remember reading Delirium and just finding these passages of pure brilliance. Her writing truly is something lovely. However, she's got Panic, this high-stakes game where kids could die and there are illegal happenings, and I felt as if her beautiful writing didn't fit with the story. And especially with Dodge, I didn't feel as if it would be part of his character to go off on these long internal dialogues of the beauty or the ugliness of the world.
My last qualm with Panic was Panic itself. Yes, this sounded like such a cool idea. I read the Panic events and was very into what was happening, but a game like this just didn't seem likely to happen with a bunch of teenagers in today's kind of setting. From what I read, I don't believe it was dystopian, so I'm just going to go with a present day setting for this book. I found it very unlikely that a bunch of teenagers running this game each and every summer wouldn't have been caught and the game shut down by now. Where were the angry parents? Also, with some of these events, they were too cruel and dangerous (and illegal) for a bunch of teenagers to come up with and play.
Panic seems like such a good premise for a book. I see that other people really enjoyed this book, but I couldn't get into it as much as other people did. The events that happened in the game just seemed too unlikely and I would just get plain old bored during some parts of the book. I didn't care for the characters as much as I would have liked, either. Sadly, this book wasn't for me. In the end, this book just earned itself three stars.