Author: Lauren Oliver
Release: April 4th 2014
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 will admit that I am a teeny tiny little bit disappointed, because after all, I did expect a little more. I thought this would be a glowing five star review and I was so pumped for this, but in the end, it wasn't that good. I still really enjoyed it, but I expected a little more from Oliver, but whatever.
Panic still took me on a thrill ride, and while I did have my doubts the first 100 to 150 pages, the novel soon put a spell on me and then I was really in it. Like, before, I was starting to get nervous because I didn't feel anything for what was happening, but I'm telling you: hang in there, it'll get better really soon. When the second challenge started, I was really hooked and didn't want to stop reading.
The characters are, as with all of Oliver's other books, really are what make this one. They're not always likeable and "heroic" in that sense, like they do really bad and morally questionable stuff, you know? But it's totally alright, because everyone's like that sometimes. No one's always 100% good all the time, and it added such a nice touch of reality to this purely contemporary novel. Anyways, as the story progresses these characters really grow and grow so much, it's actually quite amazing to see how much characters can change in just one book, as it is a stand-alone after all. I really love Lauren Oliver for things like these, managing to make her characters fully stand out and develop during just the span of a few hundred pages (well okay it's 400).
Besides the great and intriguing cast of characters, there's also two very intense side plots involving our two main heroes's family life, as well as some little plot lines here and there for the secondary characters. Everyone's got their background, their plot line, their character arc. That's a big part of how Oliver characterizes them so greatly, but I also think it made the whole story seem more well rounded, too. This novel isn't just about the game, Panic, but also about discovering yourself and where you want to go from here and all that deep shit that Lauren Oliver always writes about and that I love.
And then we have the romance of course, which utterly, utterly surprised me. In an extremely good way, though! It took a very unexpected turn and I'm not going to say a single thing about it, because I really loved seeing my predictions proved false in the end and Oliver taking a complete other direction. Ugh, I can't tell you how pleased I am about this part of the book!
All in all, not her best book, but still definitely worth reading, and I still very much enjoyed it after all. Nice job, and I think you'll stay one of my top authors, Lauren Oliver.