Panic by Lauren Oliver

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 received this copy from the publishers via NetGalley for an honest and open review.

 

I know there are thousands of fans chomping at the bit to get their hands on this new offering from Lauren Oliver after her hugely successful ‘Delerium’ series. Personally, I have yet to read this famous series which has been waiting patiently in my iBooks library for months. After reading Panic (out March 2014) I will definitely be adding it to my January TRL. This new book by Lauren Oliver was superbly written, original and grabbed my attention from start to finish.

 

Panic tells the story of Heather, a high school graduate from the dead-beat town of Carp, who living with a promiscuous, alcoholic mother, does not have much to be happy about. Heather never thought she would compete in Panic but, in an attempt to change her life for the better, signs up on a whim and is thrown into the chaos of the deadly games.

 

‘The rules of Panic are simple. The day after graduation is Opening Jump, and the game goes all through the summer. After the final challenge, the winner takes the pot. Everyone at Carp High pays into the pot, no exceptions. Anyone who wants to play has a chance to win. Sometimes as many as forty kids enter. There is only ever one winner.”
 
Heather’s friends Nat and Dodge also decide to enter Panic with everyone having something to play for. In seven years of playing there have been three deaths and it is with this knowledge that the group of friends set off on a dangerous path to win the games. As Lauren Oliver explains, “humans can be stupid and sometimes vicious, blinded by need.” For people reading the blurb of this upcoming title by Lauren Oliver, you may be mislead into thinking it is similar to novels such as ‘The Hunger Games.’ However, this story is not dystopic in nature but a terrifying insight into something that could well occur in our society today.  
 
Although the challenges were exciting and original, I would have liked them to be even more shocking to earn that extra last star. Lauren Oliver’s talent lies in her descriptions of the characters and their relationships with each other. I found myself really caring about what happened to Heather and I seemed to feel every emotion that she felt throughout the story. As Heather “felt her stomach pooling and opening with fear” so did I and I was genuinely rooting for her to get through each challenge safe and unharmed.
 
 “If you didn’t want the risk, if you couldn’t handle it, why did you play?”
 
As with most other YA fiction, the story did contain moments of romance between some of the characters however this was not overdone and did not take away from the danger and panic of the  games. This story of challenge, friendship, love and betrayal will have you hooked from beginning to end. I read it in a day as I couldn’t put it down and was desperate to know who the winner of Panic was going to be, if there would be one at all? The ending was exactly what I was hoping it to be. A brilliant read!
Rating: 4/5
 
 

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