Author: Lauren Oliver
Category/Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance, Drama
Expected Release: March 4th
See it at Goodreads
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’ve had trouble recently with an annoying reading slump. So when I picked up Panic, I almost prepared myself to put it back down again to wait until later. But FINALLY something clicked in only a few paragraphs, and before I knew it, I’d read nearly half of it by the end of the day. I couldn’t put it down because of the desire to keep reading…to find out what is going to happen next with the characters. It was a fantastic feeling.
Losing the reading slump was great, but the story itself was even better. It was probably what I needed. A chaotic, dramatic, contemporary. Despite it being told in two perspectives also, it worked because they were so different.
The twist wasn’t unexpected--which is to be expected for me most of the time anyway, I guess. I pretty much had it figured out about halfway through, and that’s okay. And though it has a typical romance style (not saying because it could be a spoiler) that I’m normally annoyed by in recent times, I think it worked out here and I felt all the feels.
At times, I do admit to finding the storyline in general a bit of a confusion. Mostly with the whole concept. We have this game, Panic, that graduating teens participate in if they want. It’s stated in the book that it’s been a tradition for several years. Yada yada yada… BUT it’s not known through the town by adults (like law enforcement, the parentals, etc.)? And it’s an incredibly small town, with up to forty of these teens taking part in this throughout the summer? Yeaahhh. That really didn’t make much sense as I seemed to understand it from the information while reading. Especially being from a small town like that myself. Trust me, everyone would know, no matter how ‘secretive’ you say it is. Also since it has been classified a tradition, and has been going for several summers. But that was just a minor complaint for me… and maybe it was just me. I don’t know. Haha.
Otherwise, I found it realistic for the most part with the way a small country town and its life is portrayed. Everybody knows everybody. Teens and young adults finding random things to do to ease the boredom (field parties, jumping off of cliffs, mudding, etc.). The whole young idea of getting away as far as you can… Only most to realize later that the small town life isn’t so bad after all and ending up back in one, even if it’s not the same one, with a parent or relative saying “I told you so.”
The romance was easy and realistic as well. [mild spoiler maybe] With it starting at the point of a breakup instead unlike most books, I found this to be a fresh approach to kicking off the romance and putting our love interests together at the end. [/maybe spoiler] There is a small amount of slut shaming throughout I’d say, but I didn’t find it aggressive and managed to even gloss over it. To be honest, I think when emotions run high during a rough breakup/cheating or a hurtful argument like some of these situations, the character is only reacting realistically.
I did enjoy reading the descriptions, along with the various connections built by the characters throughout the story. I certainly wouldn’t have been able to take part in an activity like that with some of the challenges they were required to do. Oliver did an amazing job developing the growth of each individual to create their own personality… though sometimes I wish I had more information/background on some, even if through a flashback (but I know we couldn’t have a five-hundred page book, right? Hehe). And I wished it didn’t have to end! Perhaps one of my favorites for the year so far and will be an easy re-read time and time again.
Did I hear right, too? This has already been sold off to become a movie? Oooohh, I sure hope!