Panic by Lauren Oliver
By: Lauren Oliver
Release Date: March 4, 2014
Rating: 2 stars
|Summary: 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.
Review: Disappointing. This book lacked something that “Before I Fall” and the “Delirium” series did such a great job of creating – that sense of desperation. Without it, Panic was just a stupid game. And I would have been fine accepting it as such, but I felt Oliver threw in too many sob stories that failed to pull at my emotional strings, leaving me calloused and disconnected from the characters.
(Warning: Hidden parts contain major spoilers, so don’t click them!)
I was very confused for the first few chapters because I didn’t understand what was going on. Why were these kids jumping off a cliff? To celebrate their senior year? For the adrenaline rush? Once I began to understand, I was eager to find out each kid’s story and the motive that is driving him/her to stay in the game. However, I still had a lot of issues with it. (View spoiler on Goodreads.)
And I thought the book was leading up to some huge final challenge at the end, but I felt the end was rather anticlimactic.Don’t’ get me wrong, it’s still a scary enough showdown, but I just felt the previous challenges were more intriguing or heart-stopping. I’m not sure if it’s the way it was written or if it was the way the scene played out, but I was just left thinking, “What? That’s it?”
Now going back to being eager about finding out each kid’s story and the motives driving his/her decision to stay in the game….
Heather – I could NOT connect with this girl, at all! First of all, she joined Panic for the wrong reason, and I get that, but thenOliver tries to play it off by giving her a much deeper reason to play the game. And that’s what I didn’t buy. (View spoiler on Goodreads.)
It didn’t help that I didn’t like Heather from the start, and she never grew on me either. I get that having your heart broken changes your views on things, and you can’t help but feel inferior, which makes you feel sorry for yourself. But it got to be too much to me. On top of that, she was a witch to her mother (understandably so), so to her friends (not so understandably so). It’s as if she’s met with the first sign that something is not going her way, she shuts down and get angry and lashes out. Even when she’s being good, I just felt like she was a ticking time bomb.
Nat – She was the biggest character disappointment in this book. Since the beginning, she was a mystery to me. Why did she want to join Panic? I mean, I knew, but the way she acted, I kept waiting for Oliver to blow us away with her motives. She seemed like such a complex character with hidden issues that we were bound to find out more about. I couldn’t decide if my dislike for her was premature or whether I could trust her, and I was so sure, something was bound to happen. Never did.
Bishop – Too predictable.
Dodge – Now here was a complex character that Oliver did a better job at portraying. However, I couldn’t like him because he was too blinded by his motive that he did too many stupid things. In a way, I have to give Oliver props for writing his character successfully, but I can’t say I liked him. LOL. Half of the time, I just wanted to smack him around. I think I would have appreciated his character more had the others shown as much character development.
In conclusion, it wasn’t a bad story. I think I would have given it three stars for liking it enough, but I had issues with it too. All in all, it was just okay.
I think 1) this could have been a really exciting game, full of heart-stopping action or twists and turns that could have had me on edge as I’m flipping through the pages. But it didn’t do that. Or 2) it could have been a stupid game that I didn’t really take too seriously, even though the danger would have made it a pretty good thriller. But there were too many emotionally strong situations (that failed to move me), so I couldn’t write it off as tragically stupid.
It’s just after reading “Before I Fall” – where Oliver turned a silly mean girl into someone you can connect and sympathize with as she tries to make things right – or the “Delirium” series – where your heart squeezed, jumped out of your chest on a number of occasions and flopped around a bit – “Panic” just ended up being such a letdown after such great masterpieces.