Published March 2014 by HarperCollins|277 pages
Where I Got It: Nook store
Genre: YA Contemporary
Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a poor town of twelve thousand 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. 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.
What I Thought:
I’ve been looking forward to reading Panic since I first heard that Lauren Oliver had a new book coming out. Panic wasn’t what I was expecting, but I am intrigued by it at the same time.
The idea of Panic is what really intrigued me. A game played by seniors to earn quite a bit of money and a game where the game gets more dangerous as it goes on is really interesting given the book is a YA contemporary. I think a lot of why the book wasn’t what I was expecting was because I wasn’t expecting a contemporary book. For some reason, I was picturing something along the lines of a Hunger Games-style game in a dystopic/futuristic/post-apocalyptic setting. So I was definitely surprised, to say the least.
I thought the characters really interesting, but realistic, and I felt like I got to know them really well by the end of the book. I definitely understand where they were coming from, and why they all decided to get involved with Panic. The desperation to get out of Carp and the need for revenge really come through in this book about a really small town. Panic definitely gives you something to think about: friendship, sucky families, and proving yourself, to name a few.
While there are some interesting ideas in Panic, I also couldn’t completely get into it. I know this is lame and really non-specific, but there’s something unsettling and off about Panic, and I don’t know why. The adults do seem really clueless, and given that people seem to get seriously injured during Panic, you’d think they’d do more to stop it. Especially because it doesn’t seem that secretive, and because Carp is such a small community.
I don’t think the setting quite worked for me. Panic itself is interesting, but it seemed a bit disorganized, and it didn’t come together for me, especially with Carp as a back-drop. Perhaps something futuristic/sci-fi would have worked better. And oddly enough, it is a book I’d love to see as a movie. Something about it would work really well on the big screen.
Let’s Rate It:
Panic turned out to be okay for me. I was expecting something different, but the game and it’s players were really interesting. Panic gets 2 stars.