Monday, April 14, 2014

Panic by Lauren Oliver

"Everything passed; That was partly why it was so beautiful. Things would get difficult again. But that was okay too.
The bravery was in moving forward, no matter what..."

In the rural New York town of Carp, everyone knows about Panic. Each year, the game is played by the graduating seniors. It's a game of escalating dares. Kids get hurt, even killed, all for the prize. The winner gets the pot, thousands of dollars collected from each senior throughout high school. That kind of money can change your life.

Heather was only planning to cheer on her best friend, Nat, but she ends up joining the game. She wants the money to move as far away from Carp as possible. Heather's life isn't great. Her mother takes drugs and drinks, and Heather struggles to protect her younger sister, Lily. One horrible night, their mother goes too far. Heather and Lily leave. They end up sleeping in their car in an alley. Heather needs the money more than ever. 

Dodge joined Panic for a much different reason: revenge. His sister was paralyzed while competing, and Dodge blames the boy who raced against her. Now, that boy's brother will be playing. Dodge wants him to suffer for hurting his sister, by killing his brother.

I found Panic to be a little unbelievable. Everyone knows about it, but the police or other adults can't do anything about it? I am skeptical. Granted, Panic is run under the utmost secrecy. The contests are presided over by secret judges. Anyone who breaks the rules faces swift retribution. I just feel that after so many years of Panic, someone who actually played the game must be in a position where they could make it stop.

Panic was full of sad stories. Sometimes the characters aren't easy to like, but you can sympathize with their situations. The writing was good, and the parts that depicted Panic were sufficiently tense. Still, I must admit that I am happy this ended up being a stand alone book, as I am not sure I would have wanted to read a second book.

I received my copy of Panic from Edelweiss, courtesy of HarperCollins. It's available for purchase now.

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