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.
I first heard of Panic last year, right before the start of my blogging hiatus, I guess I had no idea what to expect - I never got the memo that this is a contemporary for one. I guess because of how much I loved Delirium and Before I Fall I was expecting something similar and in a weird way it is. Lauren Oliver has this undeniable talent for taking contemporary setting and adding this extra to it. In Panic that little extra was the thrill.
Now, I did definitely really enjoy this book, there is no doubt about it, and I really can't fault it since it is in essence the book that brought me out of a year long reading slump. That being said, there were things that I have to bring up. Panic seriously didn't grip me until about two-thirds the way through it. I was enjoying it, in a chilled out, getting-to-know-the-characters way, but the thrill that this book promises didn't really come until quite late in the book and even then it didn't completely reach my expectations. I did enjoy it, my heart was in my chest near the end, and I read the whole thing in the duration of one bath, but I can't help but feel like there could have been a lot more delivery a lot sooner in the book.
That being said, the thing that did keep me reading the whole way through was the characters. At first, Heather is a difficult character to feel anything for - she's weak yet strong, she's the tough girl to her best friend Nat's ditz. I soon began to support her though as she grows. I loved Dodge the whole way through though, and I was praying for a romantic story between him and Heather (at the start), before I realised that in a way he's an antihero. He plays the game for himself and nobody else. Bishop was just a support character at the start but later in the book you realise that his role is a whole lot bigger, and I loved that little curveball. I did love how that whole thing escalated - the Bishop and Heather thing - though romance is definitely not the key part of this book.
I guess in conclusion I could say that Panic was a pretty average book - and I should probably be scoring it slightly lower than I am - but I can't because there is something about Oliver's writing that keeps me hanging on even if I'm not 100% commited to a book and that is a big part of the reason why Panic is getting a pretty high grade.
Overall Rating: B
Book released March 6th 2014 by Hodder and Stoughton
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review