Review: Panic by Lauren Oliver

Posted March 3, 2014 by Lisa Mandina in / 8 Comments

First, thanks to Edelweiss and Harper Collins for allowing me to read an e-galley of this.  I am a fan of Lauren Oliver’s Delirium series, as well as her first book, Before I Fall.  So I was excited to get a chance to read the e-galley of this one.  It is a contemporary mystery story basically.  It is set in a small town where things are not great, lots of jobs were lost, and people are pretty much hurting for money or things like that.  There are two characters that we get their points of view throughout the book, Heather, and Dodge.

The title, Panic, refers to a secret game that occurs every year after high school graduation.  The seniors enter, and it is made up of many dangerous challenges.  What is the purpose?  Well, throughout the year students give money, according to our narrators, the money is given whether they want to or not.  And by the time of the competition, there is a huge prize amount.  Often $40,000 or more!  Many people have their own reasons to enter, of course the money is a big one.  Originally, Heather’s friend Nat was going to be the one of their group to enter.  But then at the night of the first event, Heather sees her boyfriend with another girl, and decides to enter as well.  Heather’s  home life isn’t great, she can really use the money to help get herself and her younger sister out of the trailer park where they live with their druggie/alcoholic mother.  Nat is not happy with Heather at first.  And their other friend, a boy named Bishop, is worried as well.

Dodge has a reason besides money to enter.  Revenge.  It was only a few years ago when his sister Dayna was competing, and in a car accident, the last challenge, was paralyzed.  And Dodge wants to get revenge against the younger brother of the boy who won that year and crippled his sister.  Dodge isn’t well liked, he has been picked on and treated like an outsider, even though his family had lived there for a few years.  Longer it seemed than his family had lived in other places.  He has always been interested in Heather’s friend Nat, except that at a party one time she called him by the wrong name.  As he begins hanging out with Heather, Nat, and Bishop, he soon learns that the name mistake may be due to the fact that Nat is a bit of a drinker.

As we go through all the challenges, the cops get called, people get hurt, someone dies.  There are deals made to share the winnings, and then later deals are made with others, then broken.  Not all three can make it till the end in our group.  It will get down to just two of them and one other at the end.  The judges who create the competitions are anonymous, only Dodge might just figure out who one is.  One of them will end up in the hospital after a challenge, but then make it out to go on to compete again.

A lot of suspense, and a good ending that had me gasping when a twist occurred, only to turn out to be the perfect way to end the story.  The characters’ lives will change in many ways.  Reasons for revenge may be changed, love interests develop, and friendships are tested.  Family problems will develop, and then will actually help to learn what real family is.  A good story, I recommend it for a contemporary read.

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8 responses to “Review: Panic by Lauren Oliver

  1. I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would, though it is well written, I just had trouble connecting to the characters, and Nat, especially annoyed me because her actions sometimes were just really stupid. So I guess it just wasn't for me. I haven't read any Lauren Oliver before, so I am disappointed, but I'm going to read the Delirium series before giving up on hers.

    Kirsty @ StudioReads

    • It wasn't my favorite of her books. But I was able to get through it. But I can understand it not being the favorite for a lot of people. Thanks for stopping by!

    • Well, they don't do Hunger Games types of things. Just things like crossing a board put between two water towers that are high up. Spending the night in a "haunted" house. Stealing something from the local crazy guy. A chicken car race at the end. But yeah, that did seem like a lot of money raised in one year to me.

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