Author: Lauren Oliver
Published: 4th March 2014
By: Harper Collins
Synopsis: 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 loved the Delirium series by Lauren Oliver and so I was over the moon to get my hands on a galley of this for review. I was not disappointed!
There are a few reviewers who have compared this to The Hunger Games and I can kind of see why. There's a battle set to take place with the teen residents of a small town, the stakes are dangerously high and the winner takes all, in this case thousands of dollars. But this story is more than that. Where THG is a dystopian series, Panic is contemporary. Whilst the THG is forced upon those who take part in Panic contestants choose to take part, for a variety of reasons. Some take part so they can escape the suffocation of living such a small community, some do it for vanity, some for revenge and some, one person in particular in this story happens to take part as they try to figure out their place in the world, both as a person and as a girl who just lost a boy.
I loved the depth of writing in this story. The world Oliver creates is complete in every way. Each characters' identity has an element of truth to it and the story shows how even the strongest of friendships can fall apart where personal goals are involved. It also shows how some people are able to use their best assets and the weakness of others in the nastiest of ways if it means getting what they want.
It was great to see the main characters develop throughout the course of the book. At the beginning Heather is a seemingly weak individual who I felt chose to put her life on the line for no other reason than to get the attention of her now ex-boyfriend. A tad desperate given the number of kids that haven't made it through the games in one piece. By the end however we see a totally different character and it was great to see how things worked out. Same goes for Dodge who chooses to seek revenge through the games after his sister is injured in a previous years 'festivities'. Dodge goes to some pretty dark places through the book but there is thankfully light at the end of the tunnel. There are some amazing twists and turns in this read which I love and in the middle of all this, among the dodgy parents and exes and the bullies and the supposed friendships there are those characters who stand by the sidelines and keep those in play grounded. Or at least they try to. I should also mention my fave character Bishop who provides more than enough excitement along the way for a variety of reasons. Not telling you any more than that however. I'll let you find that out for yourselves.
The plotline is intricate and follows the teenagers taking part in the challenge as they are slowly dwindled down to the final few. The challenges they go through on the way are pretty hairy at times and I did wonder at some points how so many kept going for as long as they did! But, there is a finale and it is as grand as any finale should be. This book is a rollercoaster ride of rather wonderful proportions that leaves you with a lot to think about as well as a few warm fuzzies. My fave mix!
4/5 Loved this book. Would seriously recommend!