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.
Number of Pages: 416
Reviewed by Rachel, age 18
I am a big Lauren Oliver fan. Since I haven't read Before I Fall (yet) and have only read her middle grade books and Delirium trilogy, I was intrigued by how she would write realistic fiction. Her writing captures me. Some people may find it a little too over-explanatory, but I find it to be so spot on to the human condition and the realities of life that it's apart of what makes her books come alive in so many dimensions. She also always has really interesting characters. They're almost never stereotypical.
Needless to say, I was ecstatic to get my hands on Panic, Oliver's latest novel. I read the first few chapters and then LOST it...for weeks! It was so heart-wrenching (I have a bit of a problem with losing my belongings, especially books). When I found it again, I dove right in.
Panic is a bit slow and a bit messy in the beginning. Or at least, it seemed that way to me. But within 50 pages or so, the book started to gain momentum and characters and stories started to click into place. There was so much going on. At first, I was skeptical by how Oliver could make a book feel so stressful--but she did it. Panic makes you panic. There is so much intensity and just enough twists to keep you on edge the entire time. Once I got over the hump in the beginning, it was all smooth sailing from there on out. I stayed up late just to finish the ending!
My one main complaint would be that since Panic contains two points of view (Dodge and Heather) I felt that each of them should get a closing chapter. But one of them didn't, and so I don't know how he or she end up feeling about the outcome of the game. It felt like a weird oversight to me that Oliver wouldn't include both points of view, since Panic is a standalone.
But the characters were so well-rounded. They each wanted Panic for different reasons, and it affected them each differently. In fact, like so many things in real life, the seniors in Carp realized through Panic that they don't really know each other--and that so many people are capable of so many different things, usually unexpectedly.
"But that was another thing you learned when playing Panic: people would surprise you. They would knock you on your ass. It was practically the only thing you could count on." ~Copyright author Lauren OliverDespite the ending, I truly enjoyed Panic. Once I could get into it, I have to say it is so much fun. And so intense and eerie and suspenseful! There's also more going on than just the game, of course. A little bit of love, hard times at home, and old wounds itching for revenge. Since there were so many complicated layers, I forgive the messy introduction. Oliver did a more than awesome job!!
This book is on shelves now!
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Rachel, age 18