4 out of 5 stars ★★★★☆
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.
(On a bit of a contemporary book kick so pardon me for not following our editorial direction for a bit.)
Once I got over the fact that the protagonist had the same name as me, this book was relatable and enjoyable. Heather’s motivations for joining Panic are were mostly because a boy dumped her, but as we continue with the challenges, she comes into her own and is able to figure out what she wants to do with herself. She’s fiercely protective of her young sister and is very resourceful. Of course I wanted to see myself as the character. The town of Carp reminds me of my own hometown, though my home life was not quite so down in the dumps. I understand the motivation to play a game like Panic–there’s literally nothing else to do.
I was more confused about Dodge and Nat, I didn’t like them together. She was using him and by the end I’m not sure what possessed them to stay together after their “fight.” There’s also no reprimand for Dodge rigging the end joust or Bishop sleeping with Vivan. There were too many unresolved subplots. Also, I definitely understood Bishops role early on, but found it amusing that the others didn’t see it coming.
I was reading other reviews and I saw comparisons to Divergent and Hunger Games? Really? The defining piece of those books was how these girls were living in a dystopian society and had no choice in how they acted. Heather and all the players of Panic had a choice whether or not to play. Just because they were doing physical and mental challenges doesn’t mean it deserves to be compared to those franchises. This is a stand alone. She’s not the savior of society, just herself.
I am definitely interested in reading more Lauren Oliver books (Especially Rooms). This one was interesting and kept a fast pace–always important for any book!