Panic by 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.
In this gritty, spellbinding novel, bestselling author Lauren Oliver delivers a gripping narrative of friendship, courage, survival, and hope.
-Spoiler free review-
As my first Lauren Oliver novel, I had fairly high expectations, as she has been held in high regard within the booklr/booktube community for quite some time. And I must say- she did not disappoint!
I adored her writing style in Panic. Oliver has captured the essence of being a teen around other teens- particularly in ‘rough’ areas. The characters swear excessively, and I can see people complaining, but honestly that’s how a lot of teenagers converse. It gave it a very modern and down-to-earth feel. The premise is really interesting. If you’ve been seeing the ‘Nerve’ trailers around, it’s a lot like that- teenagers compete in dangerous activities for money. And it’s very illegal.
The book generally had a good sense of pace, however due to the dual POV, not every page was overly exciting, as I mostly liked 1 character over the other. But the character interaction was accurate, as I mentioned before, and the characterisation felt consistent throughout- though I suppose it’s easier to keep track of as it’s a standalone.
Oliver also has a talent for creating tension easily, although it wasn’t always carried through to the extent I would’ve liked. As well as this, some of the heavier, more ‘mature’ content wasn’t very well executed, and I felt like more should’ve been done with it, or it should’ve been dropped. The romance aspect also ended up becoming a little drawn out and irritating. There was way too much teen angst for 1 book. Ew.
Overall though, Panic is very good for a standalone. A good choice for a quick read, but I wouldn’t read a sequel if there was one.