Book recommendation: Panic, by Lauren Oliver


Panic, by Lauren Oliver, is one of those books I kept meaning to get to. It had been sitting on one of my bookshelves for months before I did, and not for any fault of its own. I just never seemed to be in quite the right mood to read it.

Finally, about a month or so ago, the right mood struck me. I wanted something in the young adult category, something tense but not terrifying. Something I’d have a hard time putting down.

Boy, did Panic ever fit the bill.

Heather never meant to enter Panic. She never meant to put her friendships, never mind her life, in danger. But the chance to win the prize money and a new life was something she just couldn’t let pass by.

Panic had me curious from the beginning. So many questions kept running through my mind, in the best possible way. Who’s going to win? What will the challenges be? Why is Dodge competing?

My questions were all answered eventually, though not necessarily in ways I was expecting. The ending, in particular, went in a direction I hadn’t quite guessed, but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. I liked how it turned out, and I enjoyed the path it took to get there.

Goodreads summary

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.

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