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 was intrigued to read something contemporary from Lauren Oliver.
What I loved:
Concept- I loved the concept of Panic. It was so well thought out and all the potential holes, such as why no one told, were clearly covered. I liked that you never really understood the games or the participants fully. All the motives were different and the challenges were surprisingly intuitive.
Setting- I found Carp to be the perfect setting for Panic. The implied demographics of the town explained the popularity and anticipation of Panic. It was clear why so many people felt they needed to win and were willing to lie and betray others. The layout and seclusion of the town was also perfect for the playing of the game with lots of different spots for the game to take place without anyone else knowing!
Viewpoints- I enjoyed Heather and Dodge's viewpoints. They had slightly different backgrounds and motivations but started out as underdogs. I liked that they gave such different interpretations of scenarios and it was interesting to see what they did and did not pick up on. I loved that it revealed the corruption, decisions of side characters as well. I also found that despite the two viewpoints both characters still surprised me throughout the book!
Characters- The whole cast of characters were brilliantly distinctive and well written. I enjoyed all of their individual backgrounds and interactions but I'm going to comment on my favourites! I liked Nat especially seeing her from the two viewpoints, it was clear to see that her initial portrayal as just a popular girl was a façade as she had hidden depths, motivations and issues. Bishop and Heather's interactions and relationship also had hidden depths, and as the game progressed it became more and more complicated. I loved their easy friendship in the beginning and how obvious their feelings towards each other were. Anne was completely outside of the Carp/Panic world and seemed like a level headed person willing to offer Heather a decent job as well as encouraging her to do more with herself. I really enjoyed the extra layer she brought to the book.
What I Didn't love:
Lack of resolution- I felt the book could of done with an epilogue to give a more in depth ending or at least one more chapter from Dodge's point of view. I'm still wondering why certain characters did what they did! I also felt some issues were skirted over e.g. Nat's possible Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
I really enjoyed the concept and structure of Panic and all the twists and turns!
Have you read Panic?
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