Panic by Lauren Oliver
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Publication date: March 4, 2014
Format: eARC, 416 pages
How I got it: Edelweiss
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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 fan of each and every one of Lauren Oliver’s books to date, I was really excited to get my hands on Panic early. The blurb sounded really interesting. Danger! Intrigue! Romance! Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to my expectations. Don’t get me wrong, it was entertaining, but something was just missing.
Panic is a game born out of the boredom of small-town teenagers. It is not a dystopian novel and there are no supernatural elements about it, despite how people are shelving it on Goodreads. It’s a straight-up contemporary novel with a bit of mystery, a bit of action and a bit of romance. Sadly, I didn’t find myself caring that much about any of it. I found it difficult to connect with the characters. The tasks they were to complete often seemed just plain stupid and dangerous, so I didn’t even find myself on the edge of my seat that much. These kids chose to do this. No one forced them. They weren’t trying to survive. They were playing a game. This is why I had a difficult time caring about what happened to them as a result of it. The friendships were confusing and I didn’t really feel the chemistry between Heather and Dodge.
The book gets bonus points and a 3-star rating because it was incredibly well-written. No, the ideas didn’t really work for me and the characters weren’t ones I could sympathize with, but the writing was good and the intrigue was there if you could bring yourself to connect with the characters. The characters were well-developed and complex, just not particularly likable to me. There were some twists and turns in the book, but I didn’t find them all that unpredictable. I guessed the major twist before it was revealed.
Not Lauren’s best book in my opinion, but it wasn’t a total waste of time either. A younger crowd would likely be able to relate to the characters and appreciate it more than I did.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.