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. (from GoodReads)
I was really excited to read Panic because I love Lauren Oliver and it was marketed as a Hunger Games-esque novel. Though it wasn't science fiction (which I was expecting) I still really enjoyed Panic.
This novel details what the Hunger Games would be like if it was present day and organized by high schoolers. I thought the concept was fascinating and pretty ingenious. The challenges are extremely dangerous and I'd probably never participate, but I can see why teenagers would do it: the prize is $67,000! I thought the tasks were pretty clever if not totally stupid and life-threatening. I still can't believe that the adults/police could never figure out what was going on with Panic, even after participants and bystanders are paralyzed, injured and even killed. If this was the real-world, the police would have figured it out immediately, especially in such a small town. Either way, I was able to suspend my disbelief and still enjoy the story.
I liked the dual perspectives of Heather and Dodge but for some reason couldn't stand reading them in third person point-of-view. Most of the time I don't care about first or third person and couldn't even tell you what I was reading because I don't pay attention to it. But in Panic I did not like the third person - it should have been written in first. I also liked that the romance was unexpected and not clichéd as usual. Heather and Dodge could have benefitted from more character development though. I also thought the last challenge, the Joust, wasn't as exciting as it could have been.
Those are just my nitpickings, but I actually really liked this book and thought the concept was really cool. I can't wait to see what Lauren Oliver writes next.
Rating: 8 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from the library