Panic by Lauren Oliver #BookReview

Title: Panic
Author: Lauren Oliver
Series: Stand alone
Published: March 4th 2014 by HarperCollins
Genres:  YA, Contemporary
Source: eArc

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.

This book actually reminded me quite a bit of Ready Player One. Not the story as much as the concept of the game.Kids from not so great lives trying to find a way out and make things better for themselves. There is something about Lauren Oliver writing as far as contemporary fiction goes that I absolutely love and sucks me in. It’s got a poetic sense about it.

Panic really deals with the theme of fear and how far are you willing to go. Kids playing this crazy ass game that can be competitive and close to deadly at times. It’s kind of one big crazy adrenaline rush and last man standing gets all the marbles. Which is pretty much a ticket out of the craptacular town they live in.

We have some main characters that we follow along. Even though the book is told in the perspective of Heather and Dodge, it’s just as much Natalie and Bishop’s story as well. I thought the way the characters came together and broke apart was really intriguing and reflective of relationships in real life. Although these kids just graduated from high school and some of them are technically adults they are still kids. I like how they seem to question themselves and their loyalty to each other. How much does someone mean to you, what would you do to protect them. Does self preservation conquer all.

I really liked Heather because you see her blossoming in the book. She seems like more of the hide out in my best friend’s shadow type when we start things. I think the game really brings out a different side of her. A stronger side of her, and I found myself rooting for her early one. I also like her relationships with Natalie and Bishop. She’s caring and yet not pushy. She’s reserved but also takes a couple chances. She doesn’t get what anyone says to her stop her from playing the game. She’s got a really good reason for wanting to win but she still manages to keep her good soul through it all.

Dodge was a little sketchy to me. There were times when I was like oh come get over yourself Dodge. Although I kind of liked him too. I thought his reason for entering the game was a bit on the insane side but I also found him to be pretty clever. As his home life changes we see him almost clinging to old. Like this is what I know, this is what was giving me purpose what are you doing changing tha tnow. He’s another complex character.

Oh Natalie and Bishop. I really wanted to hug Natalie at times and say what are you thinking. She makes no apologiies for herself and can be dramatic. Bishop is the steady and loyal friend.

My favorite thing about this book is how the characters change and develop. I think Lauren Oliver really has a knack for that and it makes her stories even more enjoyable. The book is well plotted and interesting all the way through. I say go forth and read!