Monday, June 9, 2014

REVIEW: Panic by Lauren Oliver

Title/Series: Panic
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: March 4th 2014
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Format: eBook | Pages: 416
Source: Amazon
★★★✩ (3.5/5) Stars!

Lauren Oliver | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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 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.

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.

This was the second Lauren Oliver book I've read. About a year or so ago I stumbled across Before I Fall and absolutely loved it. So when a friend texted me a few weeks back to ask if I'd ever read a the Delirium series I told her I owned it but had yet to get to it. She mentioned she was curious because she had just read a book, Panic, by the author and loved it so she was looking for more and that I should really check it out. After checking out the summary I just knew I had to read this book.

Overall, I have some very mixed feelings. Mostly though, I will say it was a very enjoyable read and was perfectly paced. I was thoroughly hooked and don't think I put it down once until I was finished. That being said, I felt there were a few holes and things that I took issue with. There were also quite a few, what I can only describe as, juvenile statements and references that, to me, just sort of brought the book level down a bit. For example:

It seemed somehow surprising that Nat Velez, with her thick, perfect hair and slick lip-gloss lips, would speak so frankly about a subject most people avoided. It was like hearing a supermodel fart: surprising and kind of thrilling.


Now it looked like a person whose soul had been sucked out through his asshole...

They paint a picture don't they? 

The setting of Carp was a town I could easily identify with. Maybe not so much presently as it's grown quite a bit, but when I was around the same age as these characters it used to have that same type of small town, everybody knows everybody else and they all know each other's business sort of thing going on. If something happens at 9am, it's safe to say by 11 everybody else knew about it. Heck we even have a place similar to the opening scene, the cliff and lake. So it was really very easy and lots of fun to lose myself in the world that Lauren Oliver has created for us in Panic. It was a very real possibility.

Heather was a great MC. She had flaws and struggles and you can't help but root for her. I think one of my favorite aspects of Panic is Heather's relationship with her sister Lily. It wasn't perfect which made it more realistic, but it felt like no matter what Heather had going on personally/emotionally she never quit trying to do better and be better for Lily and protect her. It was very heart warming.

Sadly, my feelings towards the other MC, Dodge, didn't exactly go the same way. He didn't start off bad for me and I actually, initially thought I was going to like him. He was one of those shy, sort of awkward types in the beginning that I'm sometimes fond of. But some of the signs I started seeing early on quickly turned those feelings around. I felt as though some of the reactions he had to certain situations were taken to an extreme and slightly unreasonable level. Extreme over reactions. He was a very angry person, like he maybe felt the world owed him something. Yeah, okay sure. In a lot of ways he did have some valid reasons for his anger. Really one major one. But I think his dark plans and ideas for revenge went a bit too far.

Still, even with the small issues here and there and being on the fence with a couple of characters, I thought the book and the concept were great! In a way, it sort of made me wish we had some form of Panic back when I was in high school. Well maybe a more fun, less harmful version that is. Because when it says in the book that 'the stakes are high' that's a bit of an understatement. I couldn't believe some of the challenges!! I sat here thinking "Are they really going to make them do that?!" But then I think of the other thing in the summary about 'the payoff being even higher' and I think to myself that I'd almost do just about any of the challenges for that kind of payoff...*whistles*. 

It was a very exciting plot and I feel like it ended just perfectly. Matter of fact had there been any other outcome, this would probably be an entirely different review! I would absolutely suggest giving it a shot.

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