May 11, 2014

Review of Panic by Lauren Oliver

Release Date: March 4, 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins
Page Count: 408
Format: Hardcover
Genre: YA/Contemporary 
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.
Panic started off as if it was a normal contemporary book but then started building the story higher and higher. As promised Panic was full of excitement and suspense with each event in the competition raising the bar even higher. The further events progressed the more secrets were revealed and the stakes rose higher. While it wasn't really a thriller it felt like one, filled with numerous occasions of action and suspense.

The characters in Panic make very risky and rash decisions, the main one being actually joining Panic in the first place. There's evidence of death and injuries from previous players but they are still lured in by the promise of money. However, the competition was fairly realistic and I can see it happening in real life. As different characters are explored it is revealed that some are joining for the money, some for revenge, and some for other reasons. At various moments in the book I found myself hating Heather, Dodge, and the others while during others I was rooting for them to make it through. However, all the characters were very well written and and the book was full of interesting events (jumping off a cliff, walking on a plank of wood in the air) and settings.

I was fairly satisfied with the ending of Panic since it concluded everything and ended without a cliffhanger. While Panic is a standalone novel there is definitely potential for a companion novel that furthers the story. If you like the Hunger Games, competitions, and suspense filled books than you should definitely read Panic.

4.5/5 - Really good book

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