Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Panic by Lauren Oliver

Panic by Lauren Oliver
Release Date - March 4, 2014
Publisher Website - HarperCollins
Publisher Social Media - Twitter/Facebook/SavvyReader
Pages - 416 pages
My Rating - 3.5/5
**received in exchange for an honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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.
Fear. A small word with big implications. Does it make you seize up, or does it push you forward? Imagine being able to better your life, what risks would you take to make it happen? How far would you push yourself? Panic is a fascinating look the idea of fear, and how we use it or let is control us.

The feeling of dread, and increased panic builds up as the novel goes along. The game escalates in both the level of danger, and increased fear. This is true for both the reader and characters. I, at multiple times, was worried for the characters, and their safety. I found myself pulled into the game effortlessly. This aspect of the novel really worked, and it's because of Lauren Oliver's writing. She captures the mood of a scene, and makes you feel it. She is able to let you experience what the characters are experiencing and it makes her books compulsively readable.

Coming from a small town myself, I could understand the desire these characters had to get out, and better themselves. It made their motivations for playing Panic ring all the more true. It's a game that tests you completely, and sometimes it was hard to see WHY they kept playing. Each of the characters had their motivations for entering the game, but staying in felt more or less just to see it through.

The history of the game, and how it started is addressed, and the background is fully explored. It almost become a character in it's own right. The unspoken rules to maintain it's secrecy were the most intriguing to me. The rules of the game are clear, concrete, and enforced. It added an additional element of urgency to the story.

The characters themselves almost feel inconsequential. I felt like we could have followed any group of teenagers that participated in Panic. The game itself is the focus of the story, and how the characters change within it. It made connecting with them hard, but ultimately. it keeps your focus on the game itself. I would have liked to have the characters resonate more, as a character driven reader, but I could see why this choice was made.

Consequences are something that a novel like this should address. You're playing a game with deadly stakes. I felt that the severity of the 'game' was addressed rather well, but actual consequences resulting for the characters were lacking. I wanted something that matched the intense, panic feeling of the book, but it never quite delivered. In abstract, it was part of the book, but it could have been hammered in just a little bit more. I wanted those consequences to reach the main characters in realistic, and life altering ways. It just didn't deliver in quite the way I was hoping.

A tense, thrilling look at fear, bravery, and those years in which you think you're invincible. As usual, Lauren Oliver's writing spellbound me, but I found myself wanting just a little more in the way of actions and their consequences.

1 comment:

  1. I just started this last night and I find it a little hard to get into. I definitely know what you mean about consequences - there's real opportunities with books like this so it's too bad she missed the mark a bit.


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