Wednesday, April 9, 2014

ARC Review: Panic by Lauren Oliver

Author: Lauren Oliver
Publication: HarperCollins (March 4, 2014)

Description: From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver comes an extraordinary novel of fear, friendship, courage, and hope.

Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end 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.

Already optioned by Universal Pictures in a major deal, this gritty, spellbinding novel captures both the raw energy of fear mixed with excitement as well as the aching need to find a place to belong.

My Thoughts: PANIC takes place in Carp, New York - a depressed town with little employment. Panic is a game that the seniors play. It involves secrecy, challenges, and possibly even death. However, the pot this year is $67,000.

Heather Nill wasn't going to play but her boyfriend broke up with her by flaunting his new girl right before the opening event. Dodge Mason was always going to play. He didn't want the money but he wanted revenge. His sister wound up second and paralyzed from the waist down at the conclusion of the game when she was a senior. Dodge wants to get the younger brother of the guy who won and hurt him as his family had been hurt. Heather's friend Nat is playing but her best friend Bishop isn't. In fact, he tries to convince her not to take part.

Events run from jumping from a cliff into the quarry swimming hole, to crossing a plank from one water tower to another, to spending a night in a haunted house, and playing Russian roulette. All of those events are tests for Heather who has enough stress in her life already. She is reconciling herself to the fact that Bishop is going away to college in the Fall. She also has to protect her younger sister from their alcohol and drug-addicted mother.

But one thing Panic does is test everyone to their limits and beyond. Heather and Dodge are going to find out just what they will do to win the game and who they will be when it is over.

I can't say that I enjoyed the story but I was involved in it. I hated the situations that Heather found herself in. I hated that she didn't have supportive parents. I hated that she felt so unhappy and so locked into life in Carp. I hated Dodge's situation too. Living on the idea of revenge isn't the best way to live. His changing relationship with his sister is adding more stress to an already stressful situation. I really disliked Nat for most of the story but could understand what was fueling her bad choices.

This was a powerful story and well-written. I felt a sigh of relief at the hopeful ending.

Favorite Quote:
Dodge felt vaguely disappointed, as he often felt when interacting with other people, when the reality failed to meet his expectations. Or in this case, his fantasies. Some part of him had been hoping she'd come over to confess that she'd fallen madly in love with him. Or maybe she'd skip the words altogether, and strain onto her tiptoes and open her mouth and let him kiss her. Except she probably couldn't stand on her toes with her ankle the way it was, which is on of the 2,037 ways his fantasy was unrealistic.
I got this ARC from Amazon Vine for review. You can buy your copy here.

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