Info: HarperCollins, copyright 2014, 408 pages
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.
So I listened to this one in the car on the way home from YALLfest. I was tired, achy, and just ready to be home. Panic made twelve hours seem like, well, ten :) And I mean that in a good way. There's nothing quite like getting super tense while you're trying to keep yourself awake driving through the mountains. And audiobooks are fun to listen to with a friend. Julia (Stylish in the Stacks) and I would theorize, discuss, and cringe together all the way home.
So Panic is a messed up, deadly game of dares. You complete a dare, you're one step closer to taking home a very large pot of money. Heather hadn't planned on entering the contest, but when she saw her ex-boyfriend with another girl, it just kind of happened. Dodge, on the other hand, had been planning his strategy for a very long time. He was playing for revenge, and there wasn't anything he wouldn't do to make it to the end.
This was my first Lauren Oliver book, and it felt right having just met her in Charleston (she's a super cool lady by the way :). I had tried Delirium a couple of times, but I kind of needed a break from dystopias. As teen stories go, this one was pretty intense. The designers of Panic mean business and are willing to put the contestants into some truly dangerous and demented situations. Tack on some serious family issues, the boy next door, and a best friend who you often times want to punch in the face, and you've got a pretty well-rounded story.
The story was a bit unbelievable, mixed with predictable moments, but a thrill-ride nonetheless. And if you haven't read a Lauren Oliver, this is definitely a good place to start. The covers a little lame which is unfortunate. This is a great read for both boys and girls, but the cover sways it a little to far in the girly category. Oh well, I'll just have to do some fancy book talking.