*includes minor spoilers*
Author: Lauren Oliver
Synopsis: “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.”
It’s decided. Lauren Oliver can write a shopping list and I will still read it.
I met Lauren when I read Delirium, like, four months ago? And it became one of my favourite series so I said “Oh, now it’s time for me to read her other books.”
Panic is a game that is played by seniors in a town called Carp. Its purpose is to basically find who can ignore their fears the most, by playing various games that need a lot of balls to complete. Throughout the whole school year, students collect money and put it in a box (or something like that?) The ones who don’t give any money are beaten or their cars’ windows get smashed down or you know, other stuff that will eventually make them give the amount of money they are supposed to give. The money in the box will be given to the winner and the judges of the game, sometimes, students can raise a crazy amount of money like $50,000 that is enough to cover somebody’s one-year college tuition (Seriously? How do you even manage to raise fifty thousand dollars in one school year?)
Only seniors are allowed to take part in the game and no one, no one, can talk about the game. The game is built on secrecy, there are huge consequences for the people who don’t hold their tongues.
“But that was another thing you learned when playing Panic: people would surprise you. They would knock you on your ass. It was practically the only thingy you could count on.”
Before Panic, I had read two modern classics and my brain was a huge mess so I needed to take a break to clear my mind. The synopsis makes it seem like it’s a dystopian novel, kind of like The Hunger Games or Divergent, which I wasn’t looking forward to at all. However, I realised that the plot wasn’t actually what I thought it was, the book was a young adult contemporary which took place in a -normal- American city. I’m pretty sure many people didn’t pick it up or stopped reading it because of the synopsis.
I loved the characters. I loved how they all had their flaws yet they still could come face to face with them. I think they weren’t those typical young adult protagonists that are “perfect”, that are incredibly generous and kind and blah blah blah. You could see that they were selfish sometimes, you know?
Every participant had his/her own reason to participate in the game. Nat wanted to pursue her dream in becoming an actress, Heather wanted the money to take care of herself and her sister, Dodge simply wanted revenge. In my opinion, this also showed the different priorities and needs of different people, with different perspectives.
“‘Did you ever do something bad for a good reason?’ Bishop blurted out suddenly.
Dodge almost laughed. Instead he simply answered, ‘Yes.’
‘So what does that make us?’ Bishop said. ‘Good, or bad?’
Dodge shrugged. ‘Both, I guess,’ he said. ‘Like everybody else.'”
I didn’t like how the police were so… inactive, throughout the book. What we call “police” is basically the system that is responsible from the safety and peace of the people of the community. People died because of this game, and let’s say that they managed to cover up for the first one or two deaths (which shouldn’t be that easy anyway because, hello, parents, your kid has just died?!) but how..? I mean is it even possible? What were the police doing when the bodies were found or the deaths were being announced?
Nevertheless, I really liked this book. It was fast-moving (I probably needed to state this in the beginning of the book but oops, heheh) and intriguing with characters I could relate to. If you don’t mind the very minor negative parts I talked about above, I think you can, and you should, read this book. :’)
Lauren Oliver was already one of my favorite authors but now my love has been doubled; tripled, even.
“No one had ever told her this basic fact: not everyone got to be loved.”