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.
Beth says 4.5 Stars...
I didn't actually know what this book was about when I borrowed it, but figured that the new Lauren Oliver would have to be pretty good. It was so far from my expectations since it contained no overt supernatural elements. However, I found the novel compulsively readable. I just couldn't put it down and kept finding excuses to read a couple more pages. Objectively, the book isn't that fantastic and has some obvious issues. The plot moves really fast making it a serious page-turner, but there are some major holes. There's no way that something like Panic could actually exist in real life; someone would put a stop to it. However, Oliver writes the atmosphere of a dead-end small town perfectly. Having grown up in the middle of nowhere, I completely understand the cycle that keeps people locked into a place like that. Many of the descriptions were spot on and really drew me in.
The characters felt like real people and behaved like teens stuck in a small town with nothing to do. Heather and Dodge both were interesting, but didn't grow terribly much over the course of the novel. I'm actually okay with that because the focus was primarily on the plot rather than internal character conflict. Although there certainly were places for growth, Oliver didn't take advantage of them. The secondary characters were quite nice and had unexpected subtleties. I did like the alternating focus of the chapters that gave glimpses into the lives of both Dodge and Heather.
This book is perfect for a late night binge-reading session. It's one that I loved unreasonably and thought was a ton of fun. Grab this if you're waiting for summer, feeling the small town blues, or just want a book that explores fear without being too deep.
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