This is my first Lauren Oliver read! I’m pretty excited. Thanks Hachette Australia and NetGalley for the ARC!
Panic hits shelves on March 4th, 2014.
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.
Lauren Oliver comes from a family of writers and so has always (mistakenly) believed that spending hours in front of the computer every day, mulling over the difference between “chortling” and “chuckling,” is normal. She has always been an avid reader.
She attended the University of Chicago, where she continued to be as impractical as possible by majoring in philosophy and literature. After college, she attended the MFA program at NYU and worked briefly as the world’s worst editorial assistant, and only marginally better assistant editor, at a major publishing house in New York. Her major career contributions during this time were flouting the corporate dress code at every possible turn and repeatedly breaking the printer. Before I Fall is her first published novel.
I actually had a bit of confusion between Panic and Uninvited by Sophie Jordan. But come on, look at their covers! Single-word title. Hair everywhere… Do you blame me?
Naturally, I went into Panic assuming it was a dystopian or sci-fi concoction. It’s most definitely not. Panic is a contemporary, set in a poor small town, with a bunch of brainless teenagers risking death for money. (It’s very intriguing. But definitely not dystopian.)
Did I like it? In the short answer, yes. In the longer answer, well, no actually. It was entertaining and interesting and I liked the characters. But I just didn’t click with it on an OHMYGOSH level. I felt very blasé about the whole thing.
The beginning hugely confused me. I spent the first 5 chapters thinking, “What the heck is going on with Heather?!” She got dumped by her boyfriend…but?? I didn’t (still don’t really) understand why she wasn’t playing Panic and then suddenly decided to. And why did Heather’s decision to play offend her friend, Nat? What kind of friend IS Nat?!
After that, I got into the swing of the book and attached myself to the characters (mostly Lily, the little sister, and the caged tigers…because awww: freaky tigers. Love it).
It’s split narrated between Heather and Dodge. I’m not overly fond of duel narrations, but this was great. Their voices were really different! I loved Heather’s toughness and motherly-ness (yeah, that’s not a word, but whatever), but also how she was a bit hung up over her self-worth. She felt relatable and normal. Dodge on the other hand? He was cool, but I didn’t understand why he was so sour. He really was a bit of a blockhead in the book (foot in mouth? yes). I have no friends (sob), the girl I like doesn’t know my name (wah, wah), my sister who I’m trying to make happy has a new friend so now I’m jealous (boo). He seemed petty.
I routed for Heather.
Plot? “Panic” is the game a bunch of teens have invented. The play it every year between the seniors who’ve just finished school. We get to read the brainless idiotic and sadistic challenges they set themselves. Jump from a high ledge. Walk across the highway blindfolded. I won’t spoil it by telling you more, but all are STUPID.
Throw in a few drunken parties that get broken up by cops and some relationships that are obvious but don’t work out….THERE IS THE PLOT. I’m not particularly impressed.
Plus, I guessed one of the massive plot twists…sooo…
Honestly, it was a good book, it just wasn’t great. I was weirded out by how brainless the teenagers were (come on! They’re not helping teens’ images in society as mature and thoughtful humans). But I was simultaneously involved with the characters and hoping someone would get a sweet happily ever after. Or at least a happily ever milkshake? Or something? I think most of the characters (Heather and Lily, particularly) could use a hug and a chocolate milkshake.