Author: Lauren Oliver
Acquired Via: Around the World ARC Tours
Release Date: March 4, 2014
From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver comes an extraordinary novel of fear, friendship, courage, and hope.
Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end 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, 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.
Already optioned by Universal Pictures in a major deal, this gritty, spellbinding novel captures both the raw energy of fear mixed with excitement as well as the aching need to find a place to belong.
Since I review a lot of young adult novels, I suppose the fact that I've never read a book by Lauren Oliver previous to Panic is the equivalent of living under a rock. It's okay because it is a very nice rock with soft, squishy, cool ground and plenty of wormy neighbors. But I digress. Panic is a contemporary novel with well-developed characters and impressive writing that I ultimately found to be quite boring.
Now before you start hissing and booing at me (if you're a Lauren Oliver fan), I am going to point out some of the good things about the book first. Namely, the main characters are very well developed. Heather and Dodge's backgrounds are written in such a way that their every action is plausible and understandable. Though I did not agree with everything they did, I get why they are doing it. To be honest, it did not even really occur to me that they were the main characters (I mostly ignored the synopsis) until I was thinking about this review because Nat and Bishop were so prominent and important to the story as well. Despite their being so well done, I had very little attachment to them. I guess it was the lack of tension and no perceived danger for the characters.
Don't get me wrong - there was danger galore in Panic. Imagine getting a whole bunch of high school kids and giving them a huge monetary incentive to do dumb shit. This is Panic. Whoever survives doing the dumb things that the secret judges order them to do with the most points wins life-changing money. People are injured each year, and Dodge's sister is in a wheelchair from her year competing in Panic. However, I never felt any tension while Heather, Dodge, and Nat were participating in this teenage dumbassery. Even after someone was killed, I never felt that anything bad would happen to any of them or even cared if it did.
Even though I did not really care for Panic, I understand why Lauren Oliver is such a popular author. Her writing style is beautiful, and I loved the depth that she gave her characters. I will definitely be reading more of her novels. As for Panic, if you're a fan of contemporary thrillers, this may be the book for you. I sincerely hope that you enjoy it more than I did.
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To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance copy of the book briefly for reviewing purposes through Around the World ARC Tours in exchange for an honest review. The book was likely provided to the tour by the publisher or author, which has in no way affected the outcome of my review. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.