Book Review: Panic (Lauren Oliver)

Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 408
Release Date: March 4th 2014

 

Summary (From Goodreads):

 
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:

 

I had kind of mixed hopes for this book: I bought it as a gift for my sister because it sounded really interesting, but I was also worried it would be a less dramatic version of The Hunger Games.I think I was kind of right on both counts.It was an interesting idea, but I think the scope of Panic made it unbelievable. In such a small town, it didn’t feel like such a huge game could really go so undetected by the police. 

Then there were the tigers… As soon as that happened, you just know they’re going to pop up later in the games. And it was just so ridiculous. I think I actually rolled my eyes when they appeared.

The similarities to The Hunger Games are quite apparent – strong sisterly relationship, both girls named after plants, hidden feelings for best friends, a dangerous game played by children, etc – even if they are fairly different books. The difference in Panic is that the stakes just don’t feel as high. Sure, some people have been injured and it would be great to have the money, but it’s not really a cut throat game of life and death.

I also felt that the book wasn’t very subtle in places: whenever there was something that could be a bit of a mystery, it all came out really quickly and obviously, which ruined any tension for me.

I didn’t connect too much with Heather, which is odd as her main motivation – getting a better life for her sister – felt like one I should connect with. I did enjoy their relationship, even though it sometimes felt the sister was just there to keep her in the game.

This was an okay read but not one that I would really bother with again. While the idea was interesting, the scope was too big and the events to unbelievable to really connect with.

My Verdict:
 
 
 3