REVIEW - PANIC by Lauren Oliver

by Lauren Oliver
Publisher - HarperCollins
Release Date - March 4th 2014
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository

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.
When you read this do you think this is a dystopian novel?! It reminds me of The Hunger Games... Well for me I was kind of put off by the nature that it could be one and that's why I haven't read it sooner. Like all Lauren Oliver books they have been some sort of dystopian and for me, I find that quite a challenging genre for me to contend with. I wasn't a fan of her Delirium series after such a disappointing sequel and finale. Like you all probably know I tend to stray away from hype and/or early reviews of the novel as it again tends to put me off. However I was determined to read this when I saw the word contemporary... yes it sure is, a CONTEMPORARY! From then on I couldn't resist not reading it!

A novel that encompasses fear, bravery, hate, and love in one shows an exceptional plot-line and this certainly does:

 "The Bravery was in moving forward, no matter what. Someday, she might be called on to jump again. And she would do it. She knew, now, that there was always light--beyond the dark, and the dear, out of the depths; there was sun to reach for, and air and space and freedom.

There was always a way up, and out, and no need to be afraid."

Lauren Oliver cleverly captures two sides of one test, one game. We start with Heather, an older sister with a drunken, stoned mother who raising her own sister because of her mothers choices. She has just graduated from high school, it was only a split decision to compete in Panic, not for herself but for the well-being and future of her sister. I really enjoyed seeing her perspective as if it was actually happening to you. She is so real and believable. Her friend Anne who she lived and worked for a while really inspired some confidence in her own life. 

In another perspective, we see Dodge a fearless competitor, nothing or no-one will stand in his way. Panic for him is revenge, he is avenging his sister, who suffered a major accident when it her turn competing in the game. Dodge didn't see love, friendship and trust to come into his game, the game didn't just test his motives but also his feelings. Dodge could be quite a frustrating character to contend with but I think he was one of th easiest to connect with that I've read in a while.

What captured my attention the most was Lauren's writing style, when we progress from Heather's POV to Dodge's, its seamless. There is no repetition of the plot-line between them. Lauren Oliver attacks the social issues of ones life against a stake of money on a game. It's a test on how each individual will go to have the life they each deserve. 

"The rules of Panic are simple. Anyone can enter. But only one person will win."

Rating - 4


  1. I really enjoyed Oliver's contemporary stand-alone - I forget the name - but Delirium didn't completely work for me and I have an odd feeling this one may not be cup of tea either. I'm gad you enjoyed it, Emma, though I forsee having issues with the perspective shifts and prose in general, so I'll be skipping this one. Great review, dear! :)

  2. I haven't read anything by Lauren yet, but this sounds quite interesting. I like that it's contemporary too, as that's my favorite genre. I don't mind dystopia, but I don't read a lot of it.

  3. This was my first Lauren Oliver book, and I can see why so many people love her writing. It's understated but gorgeous at the same time. I'm pretty mixed on everything else - the tension is great, the pacing is perfect, but the game itself got to be a little too messed up toward the end; I really liked Heather (and her romance with Bishop), but Dodge kinda creeped me out.

  4. Hi Emma! It's been way too long since I've visited your lovely blog and I love your design. I really liked Delirum but I've been hesitant to continue with the series despite having them all. Panic sounds really interesting. Glad you liked it :)

    - Sunny @ A Sunny Spot Blog

  5. I'm glad you managed to connect with the characters since this seems to be the key to liking this book. So happy to see another positive review emerge since not so many people seem to like this book. Great review, my friend :)

  6. lots of mixed reviews of this one but I am actually really looking forward to reading this, I love her writing style.

  7. This is a story of hope. It’s proof that a sad start in life doesn’t always determine the ending, that bravery will triumph and that love still has the power to conquer all circumstance.

    Yet another thrilling masterpiece from Lauren Oliver.

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