Friday, March 14, 2014

Panic by Lauren Oliver

Release date: March 4, 2014
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: YA Contemporary/Thriller/Light Romance

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.

My Rating: 4 Roses

Thrilling, unpredictable, and full of secrets, Panic was a fantastic YA read. I really enjoyed reading this fantastic book. Absolutely wonderful!

Panic was a game that came about from a group of bored teenagers. And, from there, it became a dangerous tradition that resulted in injuries and deaths. Every summer, the recent high school graduates complete in a series of challenges. Over the 4 years of high school, every student would contribute money to create the winning prize amount. The seniors would go through dangerous tasks, each eliminating more and more players, until the winner was chosen to win the money. All the while, two anonymous judges set the challenges and chose the winners. The whole situation that Lauren Oliver created was flawless. I could imagine that sort of thing happening in a small town full of bored teenagers. It was flawlessly built into a thrilling game that had me on the edge of my seat.

The story is told through the main characters, Heather and Dodge, in alternating perspectives, so I'll focus on the narrators first.
Heather was a tough chick. She didn't have the best situation at home and she wanted to win the money so that she could take care of her sister and get her away from her neglectful mother. She was strong, determined, and extremely dedicated to caring for her loved ones. I really liked her. She was definitely a worthy heroine.

Dodge was a little sketchy at first. He wanted to win Panic as a means for revenge and he was quite ruthless about it at first. But, then his priorities shifted and it no longer became about winning, but about making sure he and his friends survived the games. I liked him. He was sweet and loyal to those he cared about. And he proved himself as a worthy character with what he did at the end. I thought he was great.

The other two important characters were Bishop and Nat, Heather's friends. There were two separate romantic relationships: one between Bishop and Heather, and one between Dodge and Nat.
Bishop was so sweet. I totally adored him. He was dedicated to protecting his loved ones and that meant he would do anything to protect Heather. He wasn't all sunshine, though, he had a dark side and quite a few secrets that I never saw coming. But, that only made me like him more. I thought he was wonderful.

Nat, on the other hand, got on my nerves. She was mean. She lied, manipulated, insulted, and was somehow forgiven for it every time. I'm not sure why Dodge even liked her after the way she played him. She had her good moments, but I still didn't like her.

The romance was very light. The story was really focused on the games, but the little bit of romance that did appear was sweet.

The plot was well paced. I was kept interested the entire way through, though there were some parts that dragged a little. What I really love about Lauren Oliver's books is her ability to write so lyrically. Her writing itself was just gorgeous. The story was thrilling and the scenes of the challenges had me on the edge of my seat. I really enjoyed the story and I thought the ending was lovely.

Panic was a wonderful YA read. It was thrilling, unpredictable, and full of surprises. I really enjoyed reading this fantastic book. Lovers of YA, this is a book  you'll want to check out.

*I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

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