Published by HarperCollins on March 4th 2014
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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.
In the small town of Carp, nothing every happens. It’s a forgettable city. Kids grow up. People move on. For friends Heather, Nat, Dodge, and Bishop, the summer after graduation is their defining moment. Their last chance to make a name for themselves. Their only chance to play Panic. Be it money, a chance at a new beginning, or the chance at revenge, they each have their own reasons for playing. But there will only be one winner… no matter the cost.
Going into Panic, I could not for the life of me remember what this book was suppose to be about. Was it dystopian? Science fiction? I had no clue. So as I started my journey into Panic, I was a little saddened to see a normal town, with normal characters… doing the normal-ish crazy things kids do. It wasn’t until Panic (the game) started going full swing that I was certain that I was in for something different… something exciting!
Panic is the type of read that makes you want to scream to everyone: Read it. Read it now! It makes me want to shout its wonderfulness from the rooftops. I have been a fan of Lauren Oliver’s since the very beginning. Each tale something a little different from the last. Each great. But Panic just might be her best yet.
It is more than just about the game. A big junk of Panic is well about Panic. The take no prisoners game of battling your fears. However, it is also about changing. That strange summer of transition between still sort of being a kid and knowing that starting the day after graduation nothing will ever be the same again. You are now on the path to being an adult. Having responsibilities you have never faced before.
It was amazing to watch these characters navigate these changes. Heather coming to terms with herself. Her home life. Wanting to make it all better for her younger sister. Dodge finally understanding that his sister accepts what life threw her way. That she is her own person and while sweet, does not need her little brother to fight her battles. Bishop and Nat have their own changes. Not has drastic as Heather and Dodge, but still wonderful in its own way. Panic is about change, but also friendship.
There are plenty of layers to Panic. There is the action of the game: sometimes scary, sometimes pure excitement. The sweetness of first love. The ups and downs of friendships. I never expected for Panic to be so emotional for me. I was completely invested in Panic till the very end. Highly recommended.