By Sunday, February 23, 2014 , , , , , , ,

Panic by Lauren Oliver

Genre: Contemporary
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: /
Format: eARC (via Netgalley)
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins

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.

I have read most of Lauren Oliver's books. And Panic is probably my favorite. Her books are long, but engaging. The plots of Lauren Oliver's books are intricate. Her characters are believable. You can tell them apart easily. Once again, she slay in Panic. The characters in this book are realistic and perfectly imperfect. Panic is a fast read. The chapters are both thrilling and exciting. 

Panic, he knew, was one big magic trick. The judges were the magicians the rest of them were just dumb gaping audience.

Panic has been around Carp for years. No one knows when it started or who started it. But it is there because there is nothing to do. The game lasts all summer. The judges are the people who creates the challenges, but no one knows who they are.

Everyone in Carp High pays a dollar every school day, from September to June. If they don't, they'll receive reminders or worst. The money collected is the jackpot money for whoever wins Panic. Only one wins, and takes $67,000.

For most of them, Panic is the golden ticket they need to get out of Carp. Or a temporary escape from reality. Everyone who joins Panic wants to win, but not everyone wants it just for the money.

There was always a twist. The game was never easy.

Carp is a poor town in New York with a population of twelve thousand. Everyone wants to escape the town, but being poor hinders them from doing so.

Panic is told in the point of views of Heather and Dodge. The plot builds slowly. It gets intense when a tragedy happens that almost ends Panic. Panic is not dystopia. I don't even know where to put Panic. Maybe contemporary?

Now that I've read the book, it's nothing like The Hunger Games. The plots are different. The theme of the books are different. The Hunger Games has a political message, and focuses on it. Panic's plot is more about how people can be manipulative; to win, to revenge, to escape. It deals with the psychology and social psychology of a person. Panic reminds me of Liar Game, a Japanese live action series I watched last year. The game is called Liar Game, it involves money too and being able to manipulate. Although, Panic and Liar Game has different rules and the stories have different plots, the effects of the games to an individual are similar. So if you want a more psychological story like Panic, try Liar Game. It's really thrilling.

But that was another thing you learned when playing Panic: people would surprise you. They would knock you on your ass. It was practically the only thing you could count on.

There are 2 main characters, Dodge and Heather. And 2 lead characters, Nat and Bishop.

Heather wasn't fooled, though. That's how predators were. They sat back and waited, lured you into feeling safe, and then they pounce.

Heather. She never intends to join Panic. But during the Jump, she sees Matt, her ex-boyfriend, with another girl. During that time Heather is still not over him. She feels that when things with Matt ended, her whole world had ended too. Her life is shitty. She doesn't have her father anymore. Her mother's always away or drunk. So when she joins Panic, she wants to turn her life over. If she wins Panic, it would be the first time she wins something and it would be the first non-crappy thing that happens to her.
Heather is brave, she needs to be. She depends on Bishop, her best friend, most of the time. Her thoughts randomly wanders to Bishop. I WISH BISHOP WAS HERE. But I'm so glad she changes along the story.
Heather has a sister named Lily. She wasn't initially close to her sister. But a situation makes them closer, and their bond becomes stronger. Her reason for joining Panic changes after that. Now, she's desperate to win the money.
Heather acts on impulse, like almost every time. Her strength is that she acts forward, and never cowers in challenges . C'est la vie. But she is so negative. She always thinks life is against her. She fails to see the good side of life because of that. 

"Why did you play?" he asked.
Revenge, Dodge thought, and Because I have nothing else. But out loud he said, "Money. Why else?"

Dodge. All he wants from Panic is revenge. Revenge for her sister who can't walk because of what happened when she joined Panic. An old saying says, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. But Dodge doesn't want a piece. He wants to take them all. And he has nothing to lose.
Dodge is fueled by his anger and his determination to take revenge. His anger also blinded him from seeing the changes at his house. Up to the point where he doesn't seem happy for his sister, when his sister started dating Ricky.
Before Panic Dodge is a nobody. But now he has friends...allies. He spends time with Nat, his long time crush, and with Nat's best friends, Heather and Bishop. Dodge is kind, but kinda stupid. He doesn't even get suspicious about Nat being so sweet to him. Nat's in the game too remember? And he is so observant. He notices what Nat wears. Obsessive much?
Although, I love Dodge's determination for revenge, I also think it's his weakness. That he focuses on a goal, but fails to realize the consequences of his actions. 

Heather still couldn't understand why she'd even chosen to play. Nat was afraid of everything. 

Nat . She joins Panic because of the money. When she wins, she'll get the hell out of Carp and live in Hollywood. Be an actress and a model, like what she's ever wanted.
Nat is Heather's best friend. But she's so desperate to win that she even betrays Heather at one point. She's manipulative. She's not afraid to use her beauty and charms to get what she wants. Like Dodge, she is so focused with her goal that she ends up hurting people. In the end, Nat still chooses her friendship with them.

He'd always thought Bishop was nice enough, and book smart for sure, but just like a big dumb sheepdog of a person who followed Heather everywhere.

Bishop. He hates Panic and doesn't join the game. But he is always with Heather, Nat and Dodge to support them. Unlike the three, Bishop's future is secured. He is smart and will go to college after summer. So he doesn't really need Panic.
Bishop is a really good friend to Heather. He treats her like a spoiled sister. He doesn't want Heather to join Panic because it's too dangerous.

All of the characters have their flaws. At one time, they even let out their beasts. And slashes others with their words. It's realistic though, especially best friends fighting. The sky isn't always blue. Friends will fight, and give each other cold shoulders. But they will always go back to each other and say they're sorry, no matter what.

Romance slowly blooms . And I love that it's immature at times. Like the I SAW WHAT I SAW YOU DON'T HAVE TO EXPLAIN moment. It was light and very YA. Hormones play its parts. But it didn't take over. Yes, thank God.

He reached out and took her hand; she was startled by the softness of his touch, by the slow warmth that radiated from his fingers through her body. "I'll stay with you."
I love you. She thought the words suddenly;  this urge, like the earlier urge to cry, she had to will down.

It's unexpected but expected at the same time. When you read the synopsis, there's a hint of romance but between which characters?

I LOVE PANIC. Wonderfully written book. Thank you Lauren Oliver for another awesome book! It's hard not to get emotionally attached to this book

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