Panic

Lauren Oliver
From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver comes an extraordinary novel of fear, friendship, courage, and hope.Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of twelve thousand 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.Already optioned by Universal Pictures in a major deal, this gritty, spellbinding novel captures both the raw energy of fear mixed with excitement as well as the aching need to find a place to belong.

Reviews

Reviewed: 2018-09-28
2.5 stars

This just did not work for me at all. Overall, the writing was fine but the story was just a big ole mess.



There are just too many things trying to happen in this book. Essentially 4 main characters, a shitty as hell town, boredom to the point let's risk our lives and try to fucking kill each other (for $67,000), abusive mothers, revenge, a crippled sister, a zoo of saved animals, and really it's was just too much. With all this there was little character building, a lot of whining, and just flat out gaps in the story. I felt like if this story could have focused on a couple of things, built upon those elements alone, I would have been more satisfied.

Oh well...next?
Reviewed: 2018-01-25
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.

Okay, that was unexpected. In fact, I would warn everyone to leave your instincts when you pick up the book because Panic is a wild ride of excitement, dread and (excuse the pun) panic. It was beyond what I imagined it to be and just wow! The game is simple - a high-stakes game of dares carried out by willing participants, from the graduating class. The game isn't too old, so not so much a tradition as something of a distraction for the townsfolk of Carp. But the game is very secretive, with two unknown judges and sudden challenges - challenges that always have a deadly twist in them. The participants are all in for the money (a huge sum) - except for Dodge, who has a whole other motive for getting in.

At the start, the story starts out quite innocuous. The game, though a bit dangerous is a little past-time and entertainment during the summer months. But as the story progresses, the mood shifts darker. The game is deadlier, with challenges that could turn fatal and there are casualties too. The narrative is in dual POV - Heather's and Dodge's - two people who are quite similar to each other. One was planning for it and the other was a spur-of-the-moment participant. They form an alliance to help each other out, but they certainly don't put trust in each other. The secretive nature of the game keeps all the characters second-guessing each others motives and the effects of the game on their personalities and their friendships is actually the main focus of the story. In the plot, the game is the thing that challenges their nature, their principles, their beliefs. The author has constructed the characters such realistically - they aren't idealistic or something, they aren't perfect - they are just doing what they can to escape the things bogging them down. Are they a little bad? Yes, they have shades of gray. The lead characters, especially, come from broken homes, and are trying to find a place among the other seemingly normal and perfect people.

The best thing, though, about the book was that I could never guess the direction the story is taking. The storytelling was quite interesting, with the narrative shifting in a way to keep the atmosphere tense and some events were revealed in a retrospective manner. The mystery kept me anxious and my nails are back to stubs thanks to that. The pace, however, was a bit slow for me and coupled with the level of mystery, it was hard stopping myself from skipping paragraphs to see what happens next. It was a good thriller, with a lot of scary moments, and the ending was particularly heart-stopping. Overall, an extremely good standalone from Oliver, once again.

Received a review copy from Harper Collins through Edelweiss.
Reviewed: 2017-12-07
Initial Impressions 8/18/15: Actual rating 3.5 - 3.75 stars but not quite four. I'll probably round down to three since four stars are ones I'd usually recommend and put in someone's hands and I'm still iffy on this one.
PANIC was interesting but it really wasn't quite what I thought it would be. I enjoyed it for the most part but I thought it was going to be a lot more thriller and less personal. I didn't mind the backstories of each character but I was hoping for more action and a constant string of events instead of spending more time fleshing out the characters in between challenges... But I guess this is Lauren Oliver so I should have expected more of that realistic fiction side to be there!
I liked the action but there were also a lot of things I wasn't too keen on. Not active turn-offs but more like I could take it or leave it (usually leave it).

Review as originally posted HERE on The Book Addict's Guide: It took me a while to finally pick up PANIC and when I did, I actually opted for the audio instead of the physical book that I’d had sitting on my shelves since March. Of last year. It wasn’t even the book so much as that feeling where you find a favorite author and then things start to be… less magical. I absolutely loved DELIRIUM, didn’t feel as strongly about PANDEMONIUM, and felt a little disappointed by REQUIEM. I recently read VANISHING GIRLS and was hoping to find that magic of DELIRIUM again but it still fell a little short for me, (I’m not a middle grade reader so I haven’t read any of her MG works either) so naturally I was a bit on the fence about my enthusiasm for PANIC… and sadly I was right to hesitate.

PANIC wasn’t a bad read for me but it didn’t quite go the way that I had hoped. From the book’s synopsis, I was under the impression that PANIC was mostly a thriller and yes, there were definitely some thrilling and action-packed events throughout the book, but I actually found myself bothered by how much the book delved into the personal lives of each character. I know, I know, that sounds absolutely ridiculous. Who doesn’t want character development? Well, it’s not that I didn’t want it but the issues that each characters had and some of their current life situations ended up shifting the focus to really dig into personal backgrounds and the drama surrounding their current situations felt like it took away from the thrill of the game of Panic. I went into the book expecting so much thriller and less contemporary BUT I should have known that wouldn’t be the case since every other Lauren Oliver book I’ve read digs very deeply into each character and presents the reader with some very serious issues. This was definitely a personal preference/expectation for me.

I did enjoy the concept of Panic. I loved the adventure and suspense that it added to the book overall and how each character really was pushed to their limits (and beyond) because of it. I was, however, a bit skeptical about the whole concept. The town is fairly small and although 12,000 people is still a lot, I feel like the cops should have been able to catch someone in the act of participating in Panic, especially when most of the entire senior class congregated to watch/join in and they visited the same spots from year to year. Some of the challenges also felt extremely intense. I guess that is the whole point of Panic but since I was already questioning things, I began to question those as well.

I was really all over the place character-wise. I didn’t really feel strongly about anyone and was actively turned off by others. I wasn’t a huge fan of Heather and I really didn’t care for Natalie. I just didn’t find myself connecting with them much at all. I started feeling like I was okay with things and then something popped up that really bothered me so I really ended up a bit disappointed overall.

I think I’m just really disappointed that this book still wasn’t the Lauren Oliver magic that I was hoping it would be. I did finish and felt… all right with it but it felt like more of a disappointment than a book I enjoyed. It seems more like one of those cases where several personal preferences come into play because I have seen a lot of excellent reviews for PANIC but this one just didn’t do it for me and I’m starting to feel less of a pull to read Lauren Oliver’s books.
Reviewed: 2016-05-31
This is the first Lauren Oliver book that I really liked. Panic is a game that has been created for senior students about to graduate from high school in the small, rural town of Carp. The challenges are risky, scary and increasingly dangerous, where accidents and death occur. The chapters alternate between Heather and Dodge, two competitors in this year's Panic. Although I usually like alternating points of view, I didn't like how the chapters were told in the third person, and Dodge seemed more like a secondary character than a main protagonist. However, despite some gaps in the plot, "Panic" moved along at a fast pace, with more and more secrets being revealed along the way, which made for a surprisingly entertaining read.
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@goofaloo completed #panic... on 2015-01-25
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@jelaplan completed #panic... on 2015-11-11
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@jelaplan began #panic... on 2015-11-08