Friday, May 9, 2014


Panic is a legendary game played only by high school seniors during the summer in Carp, a tiny town in the middle of nowhere. The game consists of a series of dares that become more and more dangerous as it goes on. Only one winner goes home with thousands of dollars, but many go home with injuries and people have died before. Heather was never really interested in Panic, but participated on a whim after her boyfriend broke up with her. She's terrified every step of the way, but wants to see it to the end. Dodge, on the other hand, has been planning to participate in Panic for a year because of a deep dark secret. He doesn't fear the game at all and is fueled by his secret to do anything to win. Panic will bring both of them new friends, new enemies, shocking revelations, and turn their lives upside down.

I read Nerve by Jeanne Ryan a few weeks ago and it's a book that really wanted to be Panic. Panic goes to the extremes that I expected and (way) beyond. Each of the challenges pushes further and further and  touches on real fear. However, I felt about half of them were unrealistic in how life threatening they were. $10,000 is not worth anyone's life. It should have been a lot more to make it plausible, but teens have to be able to put together this money, so more money still wouldn't be plausible. Anyway, there are some problems with the concept in general.

The characters and writing are what make the book successful. I related to or empathized with each character and their situation. Heather's mother was an abusive drug addict, so Heather took her sister and lived out of their car. Despite her fear, she was a lot stronger than she thought and used her Panic outlook in her real life. Dodge was kind of weird because of his painfully obvious "secret" and his blind need for vengeance. Other than that, he's a decent person who cares for his family. The only character I had no connection with was Nat. She used people, lied, manipulated, and was generally mean to people. There seems to be no reason for people to be her friend or like her in any way. Lauren Oliver's writing never fails to suck me into her stories. I didn't even notice some of the flaws of the book until the very end because of her prose.

Panic is a thrilling read, but the logistical problems and one major unlikeable character distracted from the story. It's a decent stand alone book and I would definitely read other books by Lauren Oliver.

My rating: 3/5 fishmuffins

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