Release Date: March 4, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Source: Received in exchange for review
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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.
Lauren Oliver has been an on and off author for me. I loved both Before I Fall and Delirium, but Pandemonium and Requiem fell flat for me. So before entering this book, I was uncertain of what I’d think and what do expect from her this time around. I think Panic caused a lot of confusion for me. I went in thinking it was a dystopian novel because it’s been shelved ‘dystopian’ around 70 times. But let me confirm to you: This is a contemporary novel.
The main aspect that threw me off from the get go was the point of view. Panic is narrated by two protagonists and both are in third present. I think it’s pretty unusual to come by in contemporaries. Personally, I don’t handle third person narrations well because I like to have a strong sense of connection with the main character(s). Luckily, it did grow onto me in the duration of the 400 pages, but it made the first quarter difficult to venture by.
Panic is told by Heather and Dodge–though really there felt like four main characters (Heather, Dodge, Natalie and Bishop). Heather and I did not get on the right foot. She’s a mentally weak character and is still reeling from a break-up. Her characterization was well done however she’s not the type of protagonist I like following. Overly emotional, whiny and annoying. I do get it, your boyfriend broke up with you and you don’t know what you’re meant to do with your life now but geez girl, it’s not that horrible. As for Dodge, he was definitely an improvement. I liked his back story and reason for joining the game, Panic. His sister had been part of the game a few years earlier but when it came to the final round, she got terribly injured and now may not even be able to walk. Dodge is here for revenge. His personality was determined and strong, which I liked.
I do believe I should briefly explain how Panic works. Basically when you reach freshman year, everyone needs to start pitching in money and by the end of high school all this money is added up. The total is usually around $50000, and the winner of Panic receives this as prize money. To win, the judges (who are anonymous) set a series of challenges and life-risking events, in each round, one person gets out. Despite a pretty intriguing idea, the plot just did not work. Surely parents, guardians, teachers or even the public would notice what these teens are up to and stop it completely. Furthermore, why the heck would people want to enter this game in the first place. You can die, get fatally injured, get caught by the cops etc. The dangers are endless. $67000 is not worth any of that. I like the idea of revenge to let everyone see what you’re made of but Panic is not a smart way to go by it.
The romance was very disappointing. At first, I was surprised to discover that Heather and Dodge were probably not going to end up with each other. I liked that. I liked how Lauren Oliver was going to not go with the story cliche. However the characters she brought in as the love interests were disagreeable. There was zero chemistry and the characters that were involved weren’t too likable either.
Lauren Oliver’s latest was overall a let down due the flaws in characters, romance and logic. But the author did a great job of showing how a game can get so serious when friendships are tested and betrayals are made. A seriously intense read.
~Thank you HarperTeen for sending me this copy!~
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