Saturday, February 22, 2014

ARC Review: Panic

by Lauren Oliver
3/5 stars
Harper, 2014
416 pages
YA Contemporary Suspense
Scheduled to release March 4

Source: Received an e-ARC from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Another tricky review to write. This was a flowing read that kept me engaged but didn't demand my attention when I had to put it down. I think I spent one whole day not reading it and didn't mind. So that gives you some insight into how I felt. When I love a book, I can barely put it down and I push other things in my life aside just to luxuriate in the world a little bit longer. And that was just not the case here.

In this book, we have the alternating perspectives of Heather and Dodge, two recent high school graduates in the town of Carp who embark on the game Panic, a tradition for the summer after high school. The high stakes jackpot draws the attention of all but the increasing danger also attracts adult attention to prevent the tragedies of previous years. Still determined youngsters with few prospects are dogged and will see the game through to the bitter end.

I guess there were several problems for me with this book, which can be summed up simply: characters, plot, and the end. These are all pretty big problems to have with a book so I think you can see why I was less than impressed.

First are the characters. Heather and Dodge are not particularly close but as participants in Panic (and with him having a crush on her best friend Natalie), their paths soon cross. I didn't have any specific problems with either but we never clicked. I always felt very distanced even though both have reasons for me to feel sympathetic toward them. Even now as I write, I have no strong opinions about them. They're practically ciphers to me. If you've read my blog for a while, you may know that I tend to have a very strong reaction to depictions of the relationship between sisters. So when I tell you that Heather is a protective older sister and it still didn't register with me may give you some insight into how little I cared for these characters.

The second element is the plot. I have no problem with this game of Panic overtaking the young people of this small town. But I do wonder about the adults that so many didn't seem to care what was going on despite tragedies in previous years and the fact that knowledge about it seemed to be disseminated pretty easily. I feel like more adults could have stepped in to stop the game.

Now don't worry, I'm not going to spoil the end, or at least I hope not. I thought the book was building to a big explosive finish but I thought it ended more with a whimper. Am I glad there was some optimism to end since there are many down moments in the book? Yes but it wasn't very exciting nor was it quite what I was expecting.

So that's how I feel about Panic-what about you? Have you read this yet? Are you looking forward to the newest release from Oliver (keep in mind I did not like her Delirium trilogy so this might still please fans of that series.)


  1. Great review. <3 I read about 80/100 pages of this before I quit. I won't ever try reading it again, sigh :p It just wasn't what I was expecting either. (Waaaay too boring for me) I'm glad you managed to enjoy it, though :) Thank you for sharing. <3

    1. I'm not really sure how I managed to finish it because it was just not working for me. I am looking forward to seeing more reviews.

  2. Delirium is one of my favourite books ever, but I've seen a lot of mixed reviews for Panic. At first, I was so sure that I was going to pre-order this one, but once the reviews started coming in, I decided not to. I'll probably be picking this one up when it comes available in the library. Great review!

    1. I think this is more of a library book-if you like it, then you can always go buy it!

  3. Oh, this is weird. I remember I gave it 5 stars when I read it (as soon as I got it last year), but now that I read your review I have to agree. The thing is... I don't remember much about this book, and I remember everything about those books I loved. I do remember that the ending was a little disappointing, I was expecting something tragic and mind-blowing but this wasn't the case. I think I have to re-read it again to see if I have to change my rating.
    Great review!
    Lis @ The reader lines

  4. I enjoyed the story more, but I understand everything you're saying. Especially the whole Panic / adult situation, it's surprising no one would make more of an effort to shut it down.

    Nice review :)

  5. I didn't request this because it just didn't sound like it was for me...
    Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen @ YA Romantics


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