Book: Panic by Lauren Oliver
Publisher: Harper Collins
Date Published: March 4th, 2014
Source: Purchased Book/ Won in a Giveaway
Date Started: May 31st, 2014
Date Finished: June 9th, 2014
Other Books Reviewed: Pandemonium, Requiem, Vanishing Girls
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.
Hello all! I know recently I’ve been posted a few things about whats happening in the book community and about feelings I have after reading a book. I do have a review for you guys today! Its a book that I’ve been anxiously wanting to read, as I am a huge Lauren Oliver fan. Many of you may have read her other books, The Delirium Series and Before I Fall. I have yet to read Before I Fall, but I was a huge fan of the Delirium series.
One thing I have to say is, that I thought that the Delirium Series was very beautifully written. It was about a world where love was essentially illegal. Feeling human emotions were essentially illegal. Lauren Oliver is very good with creating beautiful prose. So, when I heard that she was coming out with another book called Panic, I was ecstatic. I also have to say that I was very excited because Lauren Oliver sent me some signed Panic promotional merchandise, and I also won a signed copy of Panic. Needless to say, I was PUMPED!
After I read The Fault In Our Stars, I thought that I needed a book that was written well enough that could take me away from the TFIOS world. I thought that Panic would be the perfect choice because I have been anticipating the book for so long. I mention here why that was a big mistake. But when I started Panic, I had some major expectations for the book. I mean, the Delirium series was written so beautifully, it would be normal to expect that kind of intensity of world building and emotion. This book was completely different than the Delirium series. The one lesson that I learned here is that every book and every story is different. Don’t hold authors to ridiculous standards. I don’t hold myself to those kind of standards, and I don’t think its very fair. I learned that I need to take each story individually.
I think this is the problem that many people had with this book. They were expecting another version of Delirium. I saw on many reviews that people simply put the book down. They just couldn’t handle it anymore, it got too boring, and what not. When I first heard of this book, I wasn’t sure that the book was going to be a contemporary or what. Now that I have finished it, it definitely is a contemporary. I was just confused on what the context of the game of Panic was. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.
I’ll admit, this book took me a little longer to read than I thought it would. I was thinking that I would just rush right through this book and finish it within a day or two like I had her other books. I believe that part of it was due to the fact that I was still recovering from TFIOS. I had expected that the story would be a little more intense than it actually was, but once I got over that fact, the story became more readable to me.
So I guess I should mention what this story is about. Panic is, well about a game called Panic. Everyday in high school, each student is required to pay one dollar into a pot. When they became seniors, they had the chance to enter the game and possibly win the enormous pot that amounts to thousands of dollars. As each round passes, people are eliminated. In this story, we follow two characters playing Panic, Heather and Dodge. Their reasons for playing are different, but each needs to win desperately, making the stakes high for them. And money isn’t always the biggest prize.
So one thing I felt while reading this book was the fact that I didn’t feel as connected to the characters as I sometimes do with other books. The characters in this book are kids who come from mostly poor families in one of those small towns where people are always aching to get away from. What I think united these characters is the fact that they were all looking for ways to change their lives. Now was the moment that could set the tone for the rest of their lives. Like Heather, for example, didn’t want to end up like her mother. Or Dodge, who wanted his life to go back to normal, the way that it used to be. You’ll definitely form your opinions of characters early on. I wanted to root for Heather because her family life just wasn’t a happy one, but sometimes she just wanted to give up, and then would change her mind again. But thats what I think is the beauty of this book. People aren’t always headstrong and know what they want from the get go. Heather is like a lot of people, who know what they want in life, but they just don’t know how to get there.
This book is hauntingly realistic, and to be quite honest, I felt a dismal mood after reading a few chapters. Its kind of nice for a change. As humans, we’re always looking for a satisfying ending. This ending was satisfying enough, but I think it was as satisfying as you could expect in such a morose setting. I was hoping for a more dramatic ending, and things did get a little bit climactic, but it wasn’t as big of a bang that I was thinking it would be. Once again, I had expectations from reading the Delirium series, which I felt had a major climactic ending.
One issue I had with the storyline, was the fact that there was no real background to what Panic was. Who started the game? Why are the stakes so high? I mean I know its one of those things that become tradition for seniors, like Senior ditch day or something, but I would have liked to have known why it existed in the first place. I got a sense that it was related to the fact that so many people were desperate for it, but why did someone choose to make a game out of it? I also wanted a little bit more backstory to who the characters were. This story was more like a snapshot, where all you get to see is a short amount of time with no outside context. There was some background to the story, like Heather’s father, previous Panic games and such, but I was desperately wanting to really know who the characters were. But then again, this may have been the point of the book. When you’ve had so many bad things to you, you become guarded and tend to not let people in. Maybe thats just who these people were. They didn’t want to relive the past.
So all in all, I think in order to read this book, you need to go in with a clear slate of expectations. Im always a person who has to see a book through to the end, and I know many of you do not carry this sort of sentiment. I cannot say that I thoroughly enjoyed it as I did some other books, but its realism was a nice change. Also, I do not think this book would be part of a series, and should be considered as a standalone. I felt that the story was fairly concluded at the end, and should stay as such.