Publisher: Harper Collins
Published: March 4, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, YA, Mystery
My Rating: 4 Stars
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.
I love Lauren Oliver. I feel in love with her writing with Before I Fall, her Deliurm trilogy cemented my love of her work, and Panic continued the series of fantastic Lauren Oliver works.
Panic is the kind of story that reminds me about small town living. I am from a small town, and I’m sure if we had a cliff to jump off of, we would have had something like the panic. We have a river here, but not much of a cliff. The high rock “cliff” we have is too close to the main road for a mass amount of kids to jump off of without the cops showing up. Small town living is a special kind of living, and I think Oliver really hits the nail on the head with Carp. I feel like small towns get romanticized a lot when in real life it’s a lot of hanging out in the Walmart parking lot and gossiping about what house just might be a crack den.
I don’t really think the blurb really does justice to the story. On the Goodreads page, many people ask if this book is Hunger Games like, which it isn’t. The Panic isn’t a life and death thing, it’s a “we’re bored” in a small town thing. Just something to do it the summer after senior year. The seniors participate in some very dangerous things for money. The seniors put money in a pot, and the winner of the Panic gets the money and for many of the kids participating in Panic need that money to go to college and get the hell out of Carp. That seems to be the main motive over everyone involved in the game.
I loved characters. Heather’s home life is terrible. She reminded me a little of Eleanor in Eleanor and Park– very similar family dynamic. Dodge has very different motives than Heather, but both are easy to relate to and empathize with. The story switches between their narratives, telling their stories about why the Panic is so important to them and how they prepare and experience with the games.
Overall I loved this book. I haven’t read much like it. There are elements for many different stories that are melted together to form a great story with a little bit of a mystery intertwined. I think it’s worth reading if you’re looking for something a little different with relatable characters and an interesting story.
Until next time Internet,