Title: Panic Author: Lauren Oliver Publisher: March 4th 2014 by HarperCollins Format: Hardcover; Pgs 408 Genre: Young Adult
This book did not hit me as emotionally as it did others who have read it. It was very much a take it or leave it type of book. So much so, that I put it down a couple of times and picked up others.
Like many young adult books, this too takes place in a small middle of nowhere town with where the kids have nothing to do and tend to create their own excitement.
The game is called Panic, comparable to a game of chicken but on a larger scale, and all seniors are encouraged to play the summer after graduation. Throughout the school year, students are forced to contribute to a growing pot of money and when all is said and done, the last surviving senior will walk way with a grand total of $67,000 dollars. This is an astronomical sum for a town where people are barely working and very few get out.
Each senior has the ultimate choice of whether to play or not and those that have the most determination are also the ones that seem to have their own ulterior motives. Panic is made up of both extremely dangerous mental and physical challenges. The police in town know of the game, but until one of the challenges goes terribly wrong, they seem to be a step behind.
Heather, the lead female character, is reminiscent of Katniss of Hunger Games. The only difference is her reason for playing. She wants the money to enable her to take her sister and leave their alcoholic mother. Dodge is there to correct a wrong that happened to his sister in a prior Panic game. Natalie is playing both ends and there is a second guy that I cannot remember his name, which I kept confusing with Dodge, and I cannot remember his back story.
I did not feel the fast pace that everyone else did until the end. That is where the book felt like a race to the finish. The sabotage, the lies, the choices – all came together in one final life or death challenge.
This stand-alone book will appeal to many, but for me, the clichés were redundant and not much stands out as different from any other book in this genre.