Monday, February 10, 2014

Panic - Review


By: Lauren Oliver

Expected Publication: March 4th 2014 by HarperCollins

416 pages

Genre: YA, Contemporary

Source: Publisher via Edelweiss (Thank you!!)

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Goodreads description--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 fell in love with Lauren Oliver's writing when I read listened to Delirium. Her writing style was so poetic and frantic almost. I loved it. But truthfully I felt like that was missing from Panic. I don't remember any passages that I ended up highlighting in my kindle because of how beautifully they were written. And the pacing felt very slow for me. I finished Panic as fast as I did because I had the opportunity to continue reading, not because I was driven by frantic writing and a compulsive need to know what happens.

Most of the time whenever a book has dual narrators and one is male and the other is female, I assume that the two will end up together in a romantic relationship. I both love and get annoyed when this isn't the case. For Panic, I believe Lauren Oliver chose these two narrators because of the unique stories they each have to tell as a participant in the game, and while their stories are intertwined, they're not exactly about each other.

Panic, the game, is as the description says. It's a game that's been around in Carp that no one really knows how it started. Every year from the first day of the school year until the end, students contribute $1 per day to the pot that the winner gets to claim at the end of the game. The first challenge is to jump off this cliff into a lake. That's tradition. And every challenge after that is created by two judges whose identities are a secret and who are picked each year. The challenges are chosen to incite fear and well...panic. And the contestant who does the best in these challenges eventually wins.

There are all different kinds of reasons to play the game. The most obvious is the money. This year's pot is up to $67,000. But money isn't the only reason to play and Heather and Dodge both have varying reasons to participate.

I liked the concept of this book and the game itself. It reminds me of Countdown by Michelle Rowen, except these contestants choose to play the game. However, Panic can be just as dangerous as Countdown. Contestants have died, been paralyzed, etc in the past. This is not a game for the faint of heart.

One of the issues I had with Panic was that I really had a hard time liking any of these characters. Dodge has some anger issues that blind him and make him hard for me to connect with. He's had a crush on another character for quite a while, but it feels like the crush has no more substance other than thinking that she is pretty. He reminded me a lot of Carter from Carter Finally Gets It--true to a typical teenage boy, yet immature for my typical reading preference. Heather has had a rough childhood. She's been hurt so frequently that she puts up walls to protect herself. But because she rarely allows herself to be vulnerable, it wasn't the easiest to connect with her either. I understood her, but that didn't make me like her anymore--though I didn't hate her. I genuinely liked Bishop probably the best of all the characters, but I felt like he needed more of a backbone. And Natalie...well I didn't connect with her at all. She's one of those characters that I don't think I'll ever be able to connect with. Pretty and used to getting her way, she uses that to work advantages in all aspects of her life. I often found myself wondering why she and Heather were such good friends.

Ultimately, I wanted to love Panic just as much as I loved Delirium, but I just didn't. The lyrical and poetic writing was missing. The frantic and desperate pacing that kept me devouring pages was missing. My connection to the characters was missing. My connection and fear of the game itself was missing. I expected to enjoy this book so much, and in the end, I just found it to be "okay."

Panic gets 3 Stars for me. Have you read Panic? What did you think? Let me know!


  1. I agree with your review. I gave it a 3, and mostly b/c I just like Oliver's writing. I was bored most of the time reading this book. I felt like there could have been so much more involved and it just didn't hit any kind of spot for me. As a matter of fact, I got about 1/3 of the way through and stopped for a while. Finally picking it back up b/c i wanted to get it over with and just get my review up.

  2. Arghhhhhhh those characters! I found it really difficult to connect to them as well.

    Great idea, just didn't work as well as we'd hoped :)

  3. Oh yes. I'm glad to know that I'm not alone. Definitely an interesting concept, and I hate that it didn't pan out better. Thanks for commenting!

  4. Yeah I hate that we both didn't love it more than we did. I was so blown away with what Lauren Oliver that I've read before. :( Thanks for stopping by and commenting!