Published by HarperCollins on March 4, 2014
Source: ARC borrowed thru Around the World ARC Tours
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.
~ Panic is a game, played for money, that involves recently graduated seniors doing physical, and sometimes mental, challenges. Only one person can win. People have died in the past, or been hurt, but the amount of money involved is an awfully big enticement.
~ I love that Panic is this huge open secret. That these kids have kept their mouths shut for years about it is kind of amazing, especially since I’m of the ‘two can keep a secret if one of them is dead’ school of thought.
~ The story takes place in a small New York town. It’s a poor town, and most of the characters, including Heather and Dodge, are very poor. And not just in the “I don’t have the money for an iPad” kind of poor, but the real “I’m not sure where my next meal is coming from” or “I take showers in a car wash because I’m living in my car” kind of poor. I read to escape, so I’m fine with the super pretty/wealthy/biggest problem is which sexy boy to take to prom kind of YA. But it’s also nice to read a contemporary novel that features characters that I could have gone to high school with. During my teen years, my family moved to my mom’s hometown- a very poor, rural town in Central PA. But it felt so much like Carp, NY, except Carp is slightly bigger (they have a mobile home park and a Meth Row!).
~ I wasn’t sure how I felt about Dodge, although I found his voice unique and intriguing. I liked learning his secrets, and his motive for playing Panic. I connected with Heather right away. It was her story that really cemented this book as a new favorite.
~ I like money a lot, and I’d do a lot of dumb shiz to get it, heck I’d do a lot of dumb shiz to get a Klondike bar (remember those commercials?!), but I would not participate in Panic. I have no problem making a fool of myself, but I’m terribly fond of my limbs, and keeping them unbroken and attached to my body is kind of important to me. Still, I’d at least think about it for a jackpot of $67,000.
~ The relationships in this book are wonderful and tragic and complex. Heather having to be a second mom to her sister. Heather and Bishop have this huge history, and so much still unsaid. Natalie seems kind of shallow and bitchy, but she’s got insecurities and loyalty inside of her too. Dodge and his sister’s relationship is changing, and he’s unsure of what that means, but he doesn’t particularly like it. I cared about these characters, and they are going to stay with me for long time I think.
~ I’m not going to say anything more, because you just need to read the book. It’s a fast read, mostly because you’ll want to keep turning those pages to get answers to all your questions!
Heather- one of the main characters, recently dumped, which will turn out to be the least of her problems.
Dodge- our other main character (as he and Heather share the narrative), kind of a loner, full of secrets.
Natalie- Heather’s bff, she’s a bit of a mess. I kept flip flopping on how I felt about her. Oliver has a way of making her characters annoyingly realistic…, in a good way.
Bishop- Heather’s other bff. And my newest book boyfriend, so back off!
Matt- Heather’s asshat of a recent ex-boyfriend.
Diggins- he’s essentially the host/sportscaster of the Panic challenges. Mostly he made this list because I really like his name.
Dayna- Dodge’s sister and the reason he’s participating in Panic.
Lily- Heather’s little sister.
There were a lot of moments, but one that really stands out to me is the moment when I realized what Heather didn’t realize about Bishop. Yup, that’s all I’m going to give you.
Stop the Clock:
I’m definitely a fan of Lauren Oliver’s books. I really loved Delirium, and I love Panic just as much, but in different ways. Delirium was very much a dystopian, while Panic is a realistic contemporary. Plus, in a small way, Panic reminded me of some of my favorite 80’s/90’s YA, including one called Playing Murder (not that I remember that book very well, but the bones of the story have stayed with me), only Oliver’s writing is so much better than most of the old school YA I grew up with.
I know some of you are already groaning under the weight of your towering tbr piles, but you’re just going to have to suck it up and read this book. Otherwise it’ll be that book that everyone else has read and loved and you’ll be like the lonely kid who got picked last for dodge ball. Don’t be that kid, I pick you for my team!
Lauren Oliver— Website |Lauren Oliver Books
Panic gets a Midnight Book rating of: