Panic is an annual, and somewhat deadly, competition played by the graduating teenage residents of Carp. The prize is enough money to get them out of this dead end town and most of them will do anything to try and get it.
The story revolves around several of the players, each one with their own specific, and varying, motives for taking part in such a dangerous game. Throughout the book we get to know Heather, Dodge, Nat and Bishop as we learn more about their personal struggles and follow them through the challenges of Panic.
With such a unique and intriguing concept I was really looking forward to reading Panic and when it drew me in at the beginning I had high hopes. Sadly as I read on I felt that it perhaps didn’t quite live up to the premise as amongst the great moments there were several that I just found too ridiculous. I wanted to be able to immerse myself in the way of life of this intriguing small town and try to understand why the teens would risk their lives playing the game, however more extreme moments would pop up every so often and draw me right back out of the story. I also felt that I wasn’t able to fully buy into the idea itself after being left with quite a few unanswered questions due to a lack of world-building.
Without going too far into ‘spoilerland’ I was disappointed with the unrealistic way that there didn’t seem to be much in the way of consequences for the actions of those participating in such a dangerous and extreme game as Panic. As I read the story I felt that the idea behind it could have been to share a meaningful message however the anticlimactic way the story ended left me feeling disappointed not to have found what I was looking for.
Unfortunately my high expectations of a book I wanted to love were not met, but at the same time I genuinely did enjoy parts of the story as well as the clever initial concept. As usual Lauren Oliver’s writing style was poetic and enjoyable to read and her exploration of the teens friendships and family lives was certainly interesting.
Panic isn’t a bad read, in fact at times it’s a pretty exciting one but with several elements I found it difficult to get on board with, I can’t say I wasn’t disappointed. I wish I could say I loved Panic but instead I’m still torn, so for me it was a tricky one to rate and in the end I plumped for a straight down the middle 3/5.
This post was written by regular reviewer Erin, get to know her here