Author: Lauren Oliver
Published: March 4th, 2014
Genre: YA contemporary
POV: 3rd person, dual
Format: Electronic ARC
Rating: The Royal Library, Middle Shelf
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.
Everyone at the local high school in Carp, Pennsylvania pays into Panic and keeps their mouths shut about the game – or else. But, Panic is open exclusively to graduating seniors, and only the brave will stand a chance at succeeding. A game that is as deadly as it is dangerously exciting, Panic encourages players to risk everything for a jackpot of $68,000 – the kind of money that can change a life, or buy you a new one. From thrilling cliff-side dives to avoiding a bullet, there's never a dull moment or a shortage of "unintended" accidents. But, no matter who gets hurt or what lives are lost, the game must go on. The game always goes on.
With Panic, Lauren Oliver dives (with quite a splash) back into contemporary YA with this this gritty realistic story. Thrilling, captivating, and fascinating, Panic delves into a dangerous game where participants are willing to do whatever it takes to take home an impressive monetary prize. Friendships are tested, sides are chosen, and manipulation is fair game. But even more, this story portrays various familial circumstances, both heartwarming and heartbreaking. While some of the connections – familial, friendship, romantic – flicker out and fade into darkness, others burn brightly as the story progresses. Panic is an incredible story that will keep you up late at night, anxious, excited, and thoroughly captivated.
Highlights: I read this novel in one day, completely incapable of stopping myself or my curiosity. The characters, while not immediately likable, proved to be fascinating protagonists1. The game itself took turns that I didn't see coming, and the ending was certainly a nail-biting surprise. I love how focused this story is on family and friends.
Lowlights: Certain aspects were very predictable and transparent (Dodge's reason for entering, and another character's role in Panic).
1 I'm sure there will be plenty of people who will dislike them, regardless. But, I found them to be realistic - they're not all good or all bad. They have moments of being both.
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