Review: Panic by Lauren Oliver

March 6, 2014 Review 15

PanicPages: 416
Publication Date: March 4th 2014 by HarperCollins 
Series: N/A – Stand Alone
Source: HarperCollins via Edelweiss

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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.

 My Thoughts & Review
I was so excited to get an eARC of Panic; Lauren Oliver is by far one of my favorite authors and after Requiem being my most anticipated book of 2013, I was itching to get wrapped up in another one of her stories.

My first impression of Panic was surprise honestly. I have no idea why I thought this, but I was shocked that this was a contemporary! For some reason I thought it was another dystopian so I was actually pleasantly surprised to find out it was a contemporary!

Panic is a game that seniors play the summer after they graduate. It’s risky, scary and basically all about what it says … Panic. The story is told in dual point of views, Heather’s and Dodge’s. They are both competing in Panic and both for very different reasons.

I had a very, very hard time with these characters. It took me a long time to warm up to Heather, I didn’t find her unlikable exactly but I found her bland and boring. I eventually did start to like her and her relationship with her younger sister was endearing and lovely. Her decision-making  was completely askew although I supposed that could be accounted for her terrible home life. Dodge, I didn’t like, and I didn’t ever end up liking him. He was completely warped. Because he was so messed up, even when he did somewhat nice things, I couldn’t warm up to him at all. Natalie, Heather’s best friend was selfish and Bishop, her other best friend was probably the most likeable character of all. He wasn’t a favorite of mine, and I will most likely forget I liked him in the future but while I was reading I did enjoy him. I think one of the most difficult things about these characters is that they all had an incredibly poor moral compass. Every single one of them had such poor judgement, the decisions and situations they were in unbelievable. I won’t go into detail because a lot of it had to do with Panic but honestly, I found it extremely hard to believe that you would put yourself into some of these life threatening situations for money.

The story itself however drew me in immediately. I can’t even pinpoint what it was other than pure curiosity to see how the story would end. I was entirely into this story until the very last page, the game Panic, while absolutely ridiculous was also equally thrilling. On of my main dislikes about the book though was the predictability. I could see where the story was going before it got there, and only the final few pages had me unsure of what would happen.

Another aspect that turned me off from loving this book, and this is upon reflection the following days, is the memorability. Unfortunatly for me Panic, and the thrill that I felt when reading it, especially in the last few chapters… went away. It is almost forgettable. I actually could not remember if there were two POV’s or three POV’s, I had to go back to my Kindle to doublecheck! When I finished Panic, I knew this was going to be one that I would have to mull over before writing my review or rating it and ultimately, after my excitement died down, I didn’t love it as much as I expected to. I find this is a trend for Lauren Oliver books with me: I get so entirely swept up with her writing, her prose and her stories that when I finish, it’s like I’m mixed up. I thought I hated Delirium when I finished it, then after a bit of reflection, I realized I was in LOVE with it… that’s how strong the emotion was. Before I Fall, I finished and was an emotional wreck but thought I loved it… and then days later I found a lot of things I didn’t love. Now obviously this practice didn’t go entirely in Panic’s favor however it does attest to Oliver’s writing. She’s a beautiful writer and her stories are captivating when your reading them.

Despite my issues with Panic, it was a really good story. It was thrilling when it needed to be, had an interesting and unique concept and had me clinging onto the story until the very last word.

3 Stars


15 Responses to “Review: Panic by Lauren Oliver”

    • Lauren

      Don’t be influenced 🙂 You might end up loving it and then what an awesome surprise it would be! I did enjoy it though it’s just a few things disappointed me 🙁

  1. Rebecca @ The Library Canary

    I had the same issues with this one. The characters just killed it for me. I didn’t like any of them and didn’t understand why anyone would do what they were doing just for money. And also, let’s be honest, how could the pot get that big? They said they went to a tiny school. I didn’t believe it. Lauren Oliver does write beautifully though and that alone had me sucked into the story while reading. I hope her next book is better because I loved her Delirium series (minus Requiem).
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    • Lauren

      YES! I know they said a dollar a day for every day of senior year for every senior, but STILL! Shouldn’t it have been like 20000 or something?! So weird! YES! I hope her next book is better! It’s an adult fiction so I have high hopes for it 😀

  2. Kelly

    I had no idea this was a contemporary – the blurb and the cover would both suggest dystopian!

    Especially where it’s a contemporary, bland, unlikable characters is an issue for me. I don’t know that the thrill of the game would be enough to keep me reading, especially with its predictability.
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    • Lauren

      YES! Totally dystopian right?!

      I think it’s really hit or miss, but if characters are a big selling point for you then you might not find it as thrilling, agreed. I do normally want a lot of great characters in contemporary but because this one had a good plot I was ok with it.

  3. Amber @ Books of Amber

    Quite a few people thought that this was another dystopian! I agree that Dodge was a terrible character, I wasn’t able to connect with him at all. I wasn’t a fan of Natalie, although I did really like Bishop for the most part. And yes, it’s completely forgettable. I only remember the bits with the tigers and the challenges!
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    • Lauren

      Gosh, I’m glad I wasn’t the only one that felt it was forgettable, I felt terrible! I was a bit embarrassed that I had to recheck how many POV’s there were because I had only finished it a few days beforehand! Dodge… ugh, what an awful person … I did love Lily’s sister though, I forgot to mention that 😛

    • Lauren

      I know, I have seen the mixed reviews sadly 🙁 I’m glad I did ultimately enjoy it though because I ADORE Lauren Oliver and I have high expectations for her books always!

  4. Reviews From A Bookworm

    I have an ARC of this but have kind of put off reading it. I just feel nervous about going into it, like I won’t love it/like it all that much. I hate characters with no moral compass, where I spend most of the book questioning every decision they make. It sounds interesting though and I will definitely read it, but I will keep my expectations low. Thanks for the honest review, I feel more prepared for this one now 🙂
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    • Lauren

      Your welcome 🙂 I hope you do enjoy it though! Ultimately I did like it, because while your reading it it’s SO attention grabbing. I was a bit apprehensive going in as well though!

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