Panic is written by Lauren Oliver. It was published in 2014 by Harper.
“Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a poor 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.”
What I Liked:
There were two things I disliked about this book. The first was that I found the premise to be completely unbelievable. Panic is some sort of secret, Hunger Games-type danger game that made absolutely no sense. At least Oliver doesn’t glorify the absolutely idiotic things the kids did (like Russian Roulette. Do these people have no brains at all?) I find it hard to believe that a game like that went on for so long. I also found the lack of adults in the book to be unrealistic, but maybe Carp is supposed to be this town where only dysfunctional families live, which moves me to my next point.
The second thing I disliked about the book was the dysfunction of every single person. Yes, I get it, the appeal right now in YA is to those readers from dysfunctional or unstable families who have terrible things happen to them. But every single person in the book, except possibly Bishop but even that’s stretching it, had some trauma or dysfunction attached to them. Even Natalie, who could have been the stable one, had OCD. Yes, I get it, it’s empowering to have hopeful endings for people who suffer these situations or whatever the current argument states for why every single protagonist needs to suffer in some form. But it’s also horribly depressing to read about. Can we please have some stability to balance out the instability, please?
I also found the tigers to be a ridiculously cheesy addition. Okay, it certainly sounds cool to have the main protagonist walk up to a tiger and put her hand on its head and be all victorious, but in all honesty, that tiger should have realistically torn her hand on off. There’s no way a scared predator like that would not attack.
I mentioned in my reviews of Oliver’s previous books that I really liked her writing, but sadly I didn’t notice it this time. I’m not sure whether or not it was because I disliked the premise so much from the start.
Recommended Age Range: 16+
Warnings: Swearing, kissing, sexual situations, and young adults purposefully putting their life in danger.
Genre: Realistic, Young Adult
Heather forced herself away from the tank and inched forward onto the wooden plank, which had been barely secured to the ledge by means of several twisted screws. She had a sudden image of wood snapping under her weight, a wild hurtle through space. But the wood held.
She raised her arms unconsciously for balance, no longer thinking of Matt or Delaney or Bishop staring up at her, or anything other than all that thin air, the horrible prickling in her feet and legs, an itch to jump.
I couldn’t get into Panic from the start, due to what I found to be an incredibly hard to swallow premise and incredibly stupid stunts done by teenagers who apparently were not thinking at all through the entire book. I also found everyone’s dysfunction depressing and the tiger thing was unrealistic.
You can buy this here: Panic