Author: Lauren Oliver
Release Date: March 4th 2014
Summary: 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.
First, to clear the air: This is not like Hunger Games. Not one tiny bit.
Okay! In the small town of Crap-I mean Carp, New York, a game is played every summer called Panic. No one knows who started it, but as tradition goes, it goes on. Many of the graduated seniors play it; only, but not all. Everyone in the town kind of knows it's going on, and even though the police try to prevent it at every corner, there's always around. When I first picked it up, I thought Panic was some sort of sci-fi or dystopian, at least futuristic small town. But Heather immediately says "New York" and "some legos" (not meaning some ancient thing) and I thought wait a second, this is completely contemporary. Cool!
And as far as how the actual game works, it's explained very well and pretty early in the story, so I won't bother trying to sum it up.
Does anyone remember what a standalone book is? No? Well you see it usually doesn't have a stupid love triangle, the plot actually finishes in 400 pages or so, AND you don't have to wait for three years to see how the characters you struggle to remember, end up. Panic is a standalone, and quite a good one at that. I found the beginning sort of choppy and disorienting with all the new characters suddenly being introduced, because you're kind of jumping in to the story…pun intended.
A surprise. The book is told in dual POV between Heather ad Dodge, but even though they are the two narrators, they are not the main couple. So that stands out. And I want to mention that Heather is described to be very tall, broad shouldered, and has an ass. Dodge has dark skin. Let's have a round for not cookie-cutter protags, shall we? Thank you Lauren Oliver.
I've read The Delirium trilogy, and Before I Fall, but I'm not sure how to rank which one is best, or even if this new one is her best. It's definitely a great story and shows some extremely real people and problems, (great, great character development.) And in that way, it's more like Before I Fall, but I don't think it should be compared to her others, because it's different. Don't try to compare. I think Oliver's signature writing style is there though, and I can't wait to see what she comes up with next.