Panic by Lauren Oliver
Author: Lauren Oliver
Published: 4th March 2014 by Harper Collins
Source: E-copy from Netgalley for my honest review
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 wasn't sure what this book was going to be like having seen a lot of mixed reviews and not sure what exactly the book was about. The first few chapters were very confusing for me as I'd forgotten the book's synopsis and really couldn't work out what was going on. I also didn't feel any great connection to the characters early on, but I warmed up to them as the book went along. So while the opening wasn't sound, as I progressed through the story I began to enjoy it more.
The game of Panic was an interesting idea and it was something I could imagine a group of teenagers doing. It's definitely not something I'd take part in though! The only thing I couldn't believe about the game was that it lasted all those years, with all those injuries and deaths, without the cops and parents knowing or doing anything. I know I'd be shocked if a kid suddenly became about $50,000 richer, but it appears that is the norm in Carp.
I thought some of the information in this book was unnecessary, I don't mean over-descriptive, big info-dumps, I mean a few lines here and there that really didn't need to be included. Such as Heather mentioning period blood and eating scabs. This was just thrown in for no apparent reason and only made me feel less inclined to like Heather and the book.
I found the story to be very interesting with a lot of good ideas, but the characters fell a bit flat. I liked Dodge more than Heather as a character, but his relentless focus on revenge put me off really liking him, he was a little to uncaring about his actions. I think the ending was just too 'Hollywood' and it really didn't seem to fit with the grittiness of those last few chapters, but overall I still enjoyed the story and was happy to see it through to the end. If you're a fan of Lauren Oliver I think you should give this book a go!