Book Review: Panic by Lauren Oliver

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Young Adult > Contemporary

Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of twelve thousand 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.

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Without a doubt, Lauren Oliver is a great writer. But I think she should stick with romance, and stay out of any plot involving action, suspense, and pretty much anything that would suggest there could be an adventure in her book.

Because her weakness is poor execution.

Add to that the characters she wrote here are unlikeable, unrelatable, bordering on despicable. Always a pity-party for Heather, playing both sides for Nat, all puppy-dog eyes for Bishop, and nothing but angst (and endless infatuation) for Dodge.

Heather, Nat, and Dodge have different reasons in joining Panic. Heather’s? Dumb. Nat’s? Money. Dodge’s? Revenge. Heather’s reason was really, really dumb.

The mechanics of the game Panic was absurd. It was being portrayed as something other than what it really was: teenagers who really just had nothing to do, doing stunts, risking their lives for $67,000. And it has been going on for so long, and yet, when the police started interrupting, the game instantly went to a standstill. The structure of the game should be sturdier than that, right? Pathetic.

Terrible characters. Even terrible story plot and execution.

I love Lauren Oliver for Delirium and Before I Fall. It ends there.

Thank you Edelweiss and HarperCollins/HarperTeen for granting my galley request.

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PANIC by Lauren Oliver

Kindle Edition, 416 pages

Published March 4th 2014 by HarperCollins
2/5 stars

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