Thursday, March 13, 2014

Megan Rambles About Panic

Panic by Lauren Oliver
From GoodreadsPanic 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.

I'm just going to start this review by saying that I had ridiculously high expectations because I'm such a huge Lauren Oliver fan. The Delirium trilogy is still one of my favorite trilogies and I absolutely loved Before I Fall. Basically, Lauren Oliver is one of my writing idols. When I heard that she was writing another book I knew that I absolutely needed to read it and also that it needed to be AWESOME.

Panic did not disappoint at all. It had all of the beautiful, descriptive writing that I've come to expect from Lauren Oliver and so much more. Panic is a lot different from Delirium because it takes place in modern society, in a small town called Carp. In typically Lauren Oliver fashion though, Carp is a small town with a huge twist. Every summer the newly graduated senior class participate in a game called Panic where not only are the odds slim that you'll win, there's a pretty high chance that you could die.

The book is told in alternating perspectives between Heather and Dodge and I liked both of them a lot. Throughout the book Heather goes through a big character change. She starts out being insecure and uncomfortable in her own skin, not having nearly enough confidence to participate in something as crazy as Panic. Yet, Heather wants out of Carp with a kind of desperation that only someone who has grown up trapped in a tiny town can truly understand. I absolutely loved watching Heather change from the girl that had no idea why she decided to participate in Panic spur of the moment to a girl who was not only confident in herself, but brave enough to do what needed to be done.

Dodge was another awesome character and I enjoyed reading from his point of view just as much as Heather's. He's a troubled guy, but Dodge isn't a bad person. Above everything he cares about his sister and is fiercely protective of her. Reading from Dodge's point of view allowed me to not only understand why he behaved the way he did, but it also showed that not everyone in Panic is playing for the same reasons. 

The most interesting part about Panic is the characters and the people that play the game. Each one of the players has different goals, different hopes and dreams reliant on winning the giant pot of money that the last person standing earns at the end of the game. Heather and Dodge are connected by the game and their desire to win. I immediately expected the two of them to develop a romance, but I was really happy to see their relationship stay platonic. There aren't very many instances of two main characters who don't get together in a YA book and it was a refreshing change.

The other unexpected part of Panic was the effect that it had on me while I was reading. The entire goal behind the game is to be fearless and the players are subjected to outlandish tasks that are quite possibly deadly. There were multiple times where I was almost physically shaking because I was so nervous for the characters. The descriptions of what Heather and Dodge where feeling when they had to walk across a board between two water towers made me so scared my palms where getting sweaty. As someone who is terribly afraid of heights, just imagining having to go through that was making me a nervous wreck. 

The beautiful part of Panic wasn't a romance, it was about the friendships formed when you least expect it, facing your fears, taking risks, and figuring out what to do with your life after high school. The ending of this book left just enough hope and possibility for the characters without giving everything away, which is my favorite kind of ending. 

Lauren Oliver once again proved that she is a fantastic writer while also showing that she can write something different than she's written before. I loved the change of pace and Panic is definitely a book that you don't want to miss out on. It's a psychological thriller and will leave you thinking about it for a long time after you finish it. So what are you waiting for? Run out and pick up a copy of Panic today!

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