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Panic by Lauren Oliver


I like that Lauren Oliver can write such drastically different books. First, she had Before I Fall, where the main character is forced to relive the last day of her life several times. Then, her popular Delirum series, where love is a disease with a cure. And now…Panic.

Panic has it all. Heartbreak, suspense, high stakes….and tigers?

Panic is a game played by the graduating senior class. The game is simple. Outlast everyone else and winner takes the pot. The game has high stakes and everyone is on edge. Who will win?

Oliver paints a depressingly bleak canvas of the city of Carp, the small town where the novel is set. Heather lives in a trailer park with her younger sister Lily and their neglectful mother. The other main character, Dodge doesn’t have it much better. He lives in a deprecated apartment building with his mother and his now handicapped sister.

The book creates a very tense, uneasy feeling as you read this book, and I felt really sorry for Heather. Things take a terrible turn for her when she is forced to go on the run with her sister. I started to enjoy the book more when she gets a job caring for animals, and develops a relationship with Anne. As the challenges of Panic grow, Heather also grows as a person.

My favourite character is her best friend Bishop. They have an easy relationship that gave the story some relief…up to a point. Nothing is as easy as it seems, and almost everyone has something to hide. This book is intense, and will take you through some unforeseen twists.

It’s worth saying that this is one of the few books by Lauren Oliver that doesn’t involve a dystopian or fantastical element. It’s pure, gritty, reality.

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.

Hardcover, 400 pages
Publisher: Harper Collins
Published: March. 2, 2014

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