Author: Lauren Oliver
Release Date: 4th March 2014
Find on: Goodreads
Quick 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.
Detailed Review: I have seen great feedback for Panic and some bad ones. Three of my friends had read it and said it was boring. I've seen one star reviews criticising the fact that Panic was a game set in a CONTEMPORARY, not in a dystopian world, questioning its existence and the two-dimensionality (if such a word exists) of the characters.
The thing is: if you expect Panic to be like The Hunger Games, you will be disappointed. First, it is nothing like THG- THG is dystopian; Panic is a contemporary. Second: the characters are NOT Katniss and Peeta and the rest. There are no different districts and the game is not a punishment. Instead, it is a reward.
It's just a bunch of teenagers competing in a game decided by two judges for a price of over $50,000.
I admit that for the first half of the book I was bored out of my mind. I was on the verge of DNFing this book. But I still decided to read on because you'll never know, right? There were still some good parts, so that gave me a reason to not give up.
And then came the huge BOOM. It's like the author decided to save the best for last. The second half of the book suddenly became alive and I got a glimpse of my favourite author once again- the author who wrote the Delirium trilogy and Before I Fall.
There was such a huge change in a few turn of the pages that I had to make sure that I was really reading Panic.
And then came the twists.
One by one, they come hurtling down like an avalanche as you climb the mountain that is Panic.
It didn't matter that the characters weren't really in depth; they still somehow stood out from each other with their pasts, and roles in the game. I think that's what matters most. Character development was good as well. It was definitely well-planned. The characters only lacked some depth.
The story itself was simple enough. First loves, family, challenges, musings about life (and fear)- these are what a contemporary usually needs to succeed. I call it the Ways-To-Write-A-Good-Contemporary recipe.
Brief Review: Although Oliver did seem lost in the first half of the book, she picked up again in the second half, making it worthwhile to endure the suffering i had to go through to reach the good parts. What's important in the book is not the game, it's the way the characters develop and change throughout the process. I admire the author's bravery for piecing two elements dangerously together-which was a contemporary with a Hunger-Games style game-but she nailed it with her competent writing skills and thought-provoking twists.
Since Panic is all about fear,
Always do what you are afraid to do--- Ralph Waldo Emerson