Review: Panic by Lauren Oliver

17565845Panic by Lauren Oliver
Published by: Hodder & Stoughton
Genres: , Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery
Format: Paperback
Pages: 408
Rating: 4
Date Read: 25/05/2014

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.

Panic is every parent’s worse nightmare. Teenagers risking their lives for a dangerous game, resulting in danger, death and destruction. From jumping off a high ridge, to starting house fires, blowing up cars, to a pot luck with a loaded gun, the stupidity prevails until the very last pages of the book.

The setting for the book is a small town with a bunch of teenagers, who participate in this game every year. Even after multiple deaths, they still continue to play.

First you’ve got Dodge, the outcast who lives in the slums. Full of revenge and justice, Dodge is in the game to fix his sister’s broken legs and to wreak havoc on the guy who caused the accident. He does make some honourable actions, but many of his thoughts were juvenile.

Heather on the other hand, has a drunken, drug-addicted parent who neglects her 12 year old sister, Lily. She wants the jackpot to carve out a better life for herself and her sister, and even takes to becoming homeless for a period just to get away from her mother.

This is the first book I read by this author. I really enjoyed her writing style. There were a couple of things that were predictable, but most of it had me on the edge of my seat, guessing until the end. The story is told in a linear timeline, so is easy to keep track of.

There of course is some romance and friendship drama woven into the book. However, it does not take centre stage. The book is narrated by the two main characters, Heather and Dodge. Both have their own different reasons for wanting to win.

This isn’t going to be the book for everyone. It’s dark. It’s contemplative. It explores character behaviour outside of the actual game itself. Either you’ll kind of appreciate what the author is trying to do, or you’ll want to throw your book at the wall.

I Really enjoyed this. Great, fast-paced read that keeps you at the edge of your seat. First Lauren Oliver book, but it will not be my last. Her writing flows really good and I loved the characters she created.

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