Review: Panic by Lauren Oliver

Panic - Lauren OliverPublisher: Harper Collins (March 4th 2014)
Hardcover: 355 pages
Source: Edelweiss
Add on: Goodreads
Rating: 3 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


So, not sure about you, but when I first discovered this book, I was expecting it to be a sorta Hunger Game-esque feel to it, but good news/bad news everyone, it isn’t like Hunger Games. Turns out Panic is totally a contemporary, and “Panic” is the game. The game usually consist of crazy challenges that obviously causes you to most likely panic, and last person standing wins the pot (of gold – which this year was $65,000). People get hurt, mind you, but don’t die (usually). Friendships are called into questions, betrayals and backstabbing at every turn, and the desire for revenge. dun dun da~ The story follows two main characters, Heather and Dodge, and two companions, Heather’s best friends Bishop and Nat.

The thing with Lauren Oliver is that I always want to like her books because her writing style is super enjoyable for me. The issue however is despite waiting to love Panic, it just ended up in middling ground for me. Not fantastic, but not bad, you know what I mean.

Things I liked:

1. It’s definitely an interesting look at the psychology of teenagers and of being in a small town. The stupids things they’re willing to do for a ton of money; the things that will drive them over edge, the hopelessness and desperation that engulfs them.

2. Two relatively interesting main characters, Heather and Dodge. Each with his and her own agenda for winning. Heather’s trying to take care of her little sister, while saving them from her terrible mother, and Dodge is hell bent on getting revenge for his sister.

3. Also,  it doesn’t follow the typical expected romance of  a two main characters! I appreciate that.

4. It’s a standalone!!

Things I didn’t like:

1. “Whhhhhhhhhhhhhhy1?!?!?! Why must you guys do such stupid things?!!? What’s wrong with you!?” – I thought that a lot throughout the book. Yee gawdds, kids, you annoy me sometimes. Also, terrible parents/adult frustrate me too.

2. The story is a bit on the slow side. It takes a while before we get into the more meaty part of the psychology grittiness. There’s time where I felt like nothing much happened.

3. (Spoilers for who ends up with who!) The romance was a tad draggy for Heather & Bishop – it takes a long time for them to figure it out. And Dodge and Nat, was a bit strange. Dodge seemed to put Nat on a pedestal and I didn’t really understand why Nat liked Dodge. (I mean like Dodge, can see why a girl would like him, but I felt like Nat just took advatange of him, rather then genuinely liking him)

As always I really enjoyed Oliver’s writing and style. Unfortunately Panic just didn’t quite capture my full attention. That being said, I enjoyed the physiological aspect the game (and the book) and it has a bit more gritty darkness compared to most of the YA contemporaries I read. Overall, I ended up enjoying despite not loving it.

{*Thank to Harper Collins & Edelweiss for the ARC in exchange for the an honest review.

Find Lauren Oliver:

Website | Goodreads | Twitter

Purchase the book:
Book Depository | Barnes & Nobles | Chapters Indigo |

Author: Cyn

noun. a bum OT, procrastinator. reader. eater. sleeper. music listen-er. movie go-er. Loves food too much.

0 Replies to “Review: Panic by Lauren Oliver”

  1. Thank everything it’s a standalone because I don’t think I could take another book of that. I was just bored. Really, really, bored. You’d think it would be intense, but I just didn’t get that at all, and most of the trials were really just stupid, and I couldn’t connect to the characters at all (though, I did like Dodge.) I was just expecting so much more, sincei t was my first Lauren Oliver book, but I guess that’s what you get for high expectations. 🙁

  2. The psychology of teenagers and the small town are some of the reason I’ve been curious about Panic, but I’m not so sure about the annoying behaviors and the romance that is sorta bleh. Great review, Cyn. Thanks for out pointing the positive and negatives for Panic. 🙂

  3. Lovely review, I didn’t enjoy this book because of all the stupid things the teens were doing! And how the wool was pulled over the adult’s eyes, I mean isn’t it obvious what they are doing?! I like how you mentioned the psychology of teens in a small town, here I was thinking their actions were unjustified. Just kidding, that doesn’t justify it at all. Anyway, lovely review! 🙂

  4. Great review. I think you are spot on with your analysis, because everyone seems to be feeling the same way. :-/

  5. This one I ended up setting down, and it was partially my own fault..I thought this was a dystopian. LOL, I always wonder why guys are so stupid too!

  6. […] bespricht “Panic” von Lauren Oliver und ihr gefällt der Schreibstil und den Plot, aber es reißt sie nicht so sehr […]

  7. This didn’t work for me either. I really struggled to finish it. All around I had issues with everything. Bummer it didn’t work for you either.

  8. I did love it how the narrators weren’t in love. I actually found it interesting! We didn’t have to double up on what each person was thinking…we go like two different views of different relationships. Hehe, I just found it more interesting then the norm. But I wasn’t so keen on it on the whole…though I did find it exciting while I read it.
    I’m stopping by from YA Romantics linkup! My linked up review!

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