Panic, Hardback
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


An utterly gripping thriller from bestselling author Lauren Oliver.

Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a poor 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. In this gritty, spellbinding novel, bestselling author Lauren Oliver delivers a gripping narrative of friendship, courage, survival, and hope.




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Heather and Nat, Dodge and Bishop are high school graduates, with the entire summer stretched out in front of them. Living in Carp, NY, this also means the start of the secret game called Panic, where each participant has to pass a series of testing challenges until only one contestant is left, who leaves with the big pot of cash.Taking place over a few weeks in the summer, the narration alternately follows Heather and Dodge as they navigate each new challenge, how they form friendships and alliances, have arguments and fall out, fall in love and, most importantly, overcome their innermost fears. To the teenagers growing up in Carp, their town is not a place where they want to stay by choice, and winning the jackpot in Panic will enable them to leave and make a fresh start, a chance to fulfil their dreams. The teenagers are all of them very believable characters: fragile, wracked by insecurities and anxieties and not always likeable, and Lauren Oliver depicts their mindset very accurately, so that anyone who’s ever been a teenager will readily identify with them. The novel shows real character progression, it asks pertinent questions and also gives a few answers, and for all of Panic’s terrifying – and often downright dangerous – challenges, this is ultimately an uplifting book. Yet despite some genuinely tense moments, I can’t help feeling that the author has played it too safe as the outcome of the game and the resolution of the personal relationships are never in any doubt. The novel is well written and will almost certainly find a large readership among the young adults, but the lack of real surprises means that it doesn’t stand out enough for me to make it a fantastic read.(This review was originally written as part of Amazon's Vine programme.)

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