Panic by Lauren Oliver
“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.”
Ever since reading Before I Fall and Delirium, Lauren Oliver has become one of my “Must Read Authors”. If she writes it, I’ll read it. So, when I heard she had a new book coming out, I went bonkers. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on Panic. And once I did, I was sooo excited! So excited, in fact, I felt a little panicky. I panicked over Panic! 😉
Overall, the freak out was worth it. Panic was entertaining, suspenseful, and ahh-ddicting. It was also scary. I don’t know how many times I was screaming at Heather, Nat, and Dodge to bow out of the Evel Knievel-like game. I was so scared one of them would take on one of the daredevil tasks and fail–like, FAIL. Like, die-fail…
…No, I’m not gonna tell you if any of them did kick the bucket. You’ll have to read it to find out.
Besides the action-packed, nail biting stunts, Panic also had an emotional backbone that sucked the reader in and kept them invested. It was hard not to care about the characters and cheer them on, even though you knew only one of them could win the big game and take home the cash prize. Heartache, anger, hope, spirit…Panic had it all!
Now, I know some people may think this deadly plot isn’t believable. Personally, I was able to accept it. I’ve known small town teenagers who’ve participated in life threatening stunts. Even my own dad, who grew up in a small Kansas city, used to accept ridiculous dares that could’ve gotten him killed (thanks Dad for risking my existence!).
My only main complaint about Panic had to do with the character, Dodge. At times, I absolutely loved him. He was gritty, determined, and brave (crazy brave), yet also vulnerable, even sweet. But then he would betray those endearing attributes with a streak of violence or hate, or both. I just didn’t like that. I understand how some characters possess a dark side, but Dodge’s dark side was too dark for me. It made me wonder what type of man he would become. Loving husband or vicious criminal? I also felt his attraction to Nat was on the shallow side. I know a lot of guys, especially teenage guys, are only attracted to a girl because of what she looks like. However, as a lead character with so many heart wrenching layers, I expected more from Dodge.
But, don’t let those small nitpicks stop you from reading this. It’s worth it, especially if you’re looking for an intense, moving, slightly psychotic story.
To read more about Panic, click here!