Thursday, January 23, 2014

Panic by Lauren Oliver

Genre:  YA Contemporary
Expected publication date:  March 4, 2014

Description (taken from Lauren Oliver's website):
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.

It all starts with a game: a game that tests your fears and causes some to panic.  The payoff is great and the winner becomes a legend in the town.  But the risks are high.  Would you play the game?  I had to pick up this novel after reading the Delirium series.  And while I absolutely loved (for the most part) the Delirium series, I'm not so sure I loved this one.

This book is from two point of views:  Heather and Dodge.  Heather lives with her sister, alcoholic mother, and the mother's sometimes-boyfriend.  After graduating high school, Heather has the same dream as every other teen in Carp: get out of town.  After dealing with a terrible breakup, Heather decides to enter the game called Panic.  There's a whole pot of money that will go out to the winner, and this may be her chance to get herself and Lily out of Carp.

Dodge, the city's newcomer that no one cares to know enough about.  After dealing with his sister's accident in a previous game of Panic, Dodge only has one goal: to win Panic.  But in the process of the game, he interacts with Nan, Heather's best friend.  Alliances begin to form, and Dodge begins to question his original motivations for the game.  In this deadly game, people will be tested, hearts will break, and others will panic.

I honestly don't know what to think about this book.  Some might say it's a thriller contemporary, but I found no thrill in the story at all.  Instead, I got to hear people's stories, where they were coming from, what motivated them.  But looking strictly at the plotline, I found that uber predictable.  The only surprising things in this story were how far people were willing to go to finish their endgame.  Kind of like the real world.  But I'm not sure I truly understood the point of this story.  Maybe, at the end of the day, we're still living a life and need to make the most of it.  Who knows?

Coming from Delirium, I wasn't expecting a pure contemporary read with this.  I guess after reading this, it proves I am not a major fan of contemporary, and I do not have a new favorite author to pin up.  But don't let me get you down, this book might fit you better than it fit me.  I'd recommend checking out other reviews by people with your own tastes in books.

Thanks goes to Around the World ARC Tours for providing me a copy.

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