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3.8 out of 5 stars
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3.8 out of 5 stars
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 18 August 2014
Panic is a wonderfully written and totally addictive novel, following a group of youngsters playing a dangerous game – but at the heart of the story is a coming of age tale, peppered with some terrific characters who’s motives ebb and flow as the game is played, and who will capture your heart in various ways.

The further I got into this tale the more I loved it – starting off with Heather rather impulsively joining in the game when she fully intended to avoid it – we move through a series of events that are at times heart stopping and at times extremely emotional. Heather struggles in her home life, with a drug addicted mother and a sister to look out for – she sees winning Panic as a way out, a chance to leave this life for pastures new. Along with best friends Nat and Bishop and joining up with the enigmatic Dodge, they traverse the waters of the increasingly dangerous challenges, ending up on a path of discovery about themselves and each other, one that could end up with redemption or disaster.

A clever story, one that speaks to the different fears that each and every one of us has – I loved the flow of it, that absolute sense of excitement the challenges invoke, the pure adrenalin rush that can come from the unexpected – but also the best part for me was the interactions, friendships and ever changing attitudes of the people playing. Well drawn and evocative, this captures some of the aspects of growing up perfectly. With an insightful eye, Ms Oliver tells us a tale about facing your fear – and understanding that which drives us.

Overall a beautifully written and compelling story, one that will stay with me for a while.

Highly Recommended.

Happy Reading Folks!

**Source: BookBridgr**

I was lucky enough to meet Lauren Oliver and have a chat to her about Panic while she was over in the UK. The interview can be found on my blog.
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on 9 May 2014
Ah Panic. Your premise was so good - a bunch of teens who try and outlast each other at playing a horrific game of chicken - there are physical challenges, mental challenges and the ultimate test of will and guts.

Told in multiple POVs, Panic centers around three of the teens involved in the annual Panic competition - and the prize of more than $60,000.00 (if I remember correctly), has all the students vying for the top prize. For main character Heather, it's an escape from her deadbeat mother for her and her younger sister and she's determined to do whatever it takes to secure the prize. The other, more minor, POVs are that of her best friend, Nat and Dodge, who has a crush on Nat. There is also Nat and Heather's best friend, Bishop.

What first struck me about the teens is that they ALL have family issues. I suppose it isn't particularly unusual, but it just felt like drama for the sake of drama - Heather has a deadbeat mother, Nat's parents are distant, and Dodge's mother is a struggling single mother who works in the diner they live above. And maybe I'm making more of this than necessary, but it would have been great if one of them had an uncomplicated family - and one that was a little more involved in what was happening.

The second thing was the fact that in such a small town, they all pretty much got away with the whole Panic thing without any attempt at parental or school administration intervention, and the cops only appear briefly to break up one game - although they fear being caught by the police, I found it hard to believe that they could get away with so much.

Back to the characters, and I really struggled to connect with any of them. Heather is the main character, but despite her plans to save her sister from their scary home situation, I didn't really feel much depth to their relationship. It was almost like Heather was going through the motions of what was 'right', rather than being emotionally attached and invested.

And then the ending - it was too fast for me, and pretty unrealistic - there's a huge showdown scene for the final game of Panic and there were parts that just logically didn't make sense - it was definitely a too-good-to-be-true scenario.

Overall, Panic had a lot of potential, but my inability to connect with the characters, and not being convinced by the plot made it hard for me to enjoy.
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I had kind of mixed hopes for this book: I bought it as a gift for my sister because it sounded really interesting, but I was also worried it would be a less dramatic version of The Hunger Games.I think I was kind of right on both counts.
It was an interesting idea, but I think the scope of Panic made it unbelievable. In such a small town, it didn’t feel like such a huge game could really go so undetected by the police.

Then there were the tigers… As soon as that happened, you just know they’re going to pop up later in the games. And it was just so ridiculous. I think I actually rolled my eyes when they appeared.

The similarities to The Hunger Games are quite apparent – strong sisterly relationship, both girls named after plants, hidden feelings for best friends, a dangerous game played by children, etc – even if they are fairly different books. The difference in Panic is that the stakes just don’t feel as high. Sure, some people have been injured and it would be great to have the money, but it’s not really a cut throat game of life and death.

I also felt that the book wasn’t very subtle in places: whenever there was something that could be a bit of a mystery, it all came out really quickly and obviously, which ruined any tension for me.

I didn’t connect too much with Heather, which is odd as her main motivation – getting a better life for her sister – felt like one I should connect with. I did enjoy their relationship, even though it sometimes felt the sister was just there to keep her in the game.

This was an okay read but not one that I would really bother with again. While the idea was interesting, the scope was too big and the events to unbelievable to really connect with.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
After the spangles and wonderment of Before I Fall, I was so disappointed with Panic. I really wanted to love it and be drawn into it in the same way I was with Before I Fall but it just didn't happen. I am not a teenager, the target audience, but I have read dozens of teenage and young adult books to know what to expect and what a good one is.

Initially I found the characters difficult to keep track of with weird names - Dodge, Diggin, Zev (surely you would only name a dog something like that, not your own baby !) and the only Delaney I've ever heard of was in a song and he had a donkey ! Names aside, I couldn't really engage with any of them, even Heather who we were supposed to like. They were all self obsessed, thoughtless kids and even more stupid for playing the devastatingly dangerous game of Panic.

We basically follow four teenagers, Heather, Dodge, Diggin and Nat, through the school summer holidays who take part or are involved in the game known as Panic. Each round eliminates several failures, either because they don't complete the set task or are too slow, and by the end of the summer the two finalists are head to head with Joust - each drives a car at full pelt head on towards each other without veering away. The winner gets the pot of money earned from the entrance fee.

The writing style is alright, is heavily American with many words and phrases that I didn't quite understand - riding bitch is a new one to me. At times the story was mundane and even dreary with lots of depressing undertones. It's not a great piece of literature but I suppose it was never meant to be. The over the top dangerous games I found too incredible and those games attempted by troubled kids with weaknesses I found unbelievable.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 14 December 2015
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I was expecting a fast-moving, high octane thriller. It is written from two viewpoints which slows down the pace.There is quite a big chunk of somewhat predictable social commentary here which would, for me slowed the pace considerably. This is the sort of book where you need to employ a willing suspension of disbelief because the premise is somewhat far-fetched. The premise being that graduates elect to undertake a series of not especially imaginative trials in order to win a jackpot. I expected the first chapter to give me a taste of what was to come. It read okay but it was solely exposition which didn't really give me the impetus to turn the page to chapter 2. The next chapter then goes into backstory.
There are some tense moments but I didn't find the writing sufficiently sharp enough to carry me through the exposition of backstory. Also, in a thriller I like to get inside the head of the characters a little more.

I can't say I felt 'thrilled'– everything felt a bit distanced.
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on 8 September 2014
After a flurry of dystopian novels in the YA genre where teenagers are put in perilous situations in which they have to fight each other, Lauren Oliver (who is probably best known for her own dystopian series, Delirium) has flipped the idea and adapted it for a contemporary setting. She still put the characters in mortal danger, but without the complex political background, which usually elevates these otherwise seemingly pointless battles to much more carefully crafted master plans. However, it does mean that this time around the story is perfectly suited to be told within a single novel and the reader isn't forced to commit to a trilogy or longer series.

In Carp the kids have a lethal tradition: during the summer holidays those who have graduated from the local high school play a game called Panic. The winner will walk away with enough money to leave the deadbeat town and start over. And the losers? They're lucky if they come out of it without broken bones. Despite the game being played for many years now, no one really knows where it originated from and the participants keep each other and the individual tasks a secret so the parents and authorities don't get on to them.

At this year's game Heather joins her best friend Natalie at the very last minute, while the man making up one third of their friendship, Bishop, doesn't enter himself but does keep an eye on the two girls like a protective older brother. Over the summer the three make allies and enemies as the finale draws closer and they discover that there are many secrets hiding in the town and what they thought they knew about each other and the game may not be the (entire) truth.

When I read the blurb for Panic I was instantly intrigued and having already read both Before I Fall and the Delirium series by Lauren Oliver I knew that the interesting concept had a lot of promise in this author's hands. I love her writing style and her storytelling is both compelling and well-thought out, making her books addictive and engrossing.

This was a very quick read and the style and tone felt reminiscent of the Point Horror novels from the early 2000s, though not quite as gory and scary, which is not necessarily a bad thing as I remember many sleepless nights as a teenager where I ended up foolishly reading a Point Horror just before going to bed and nowadays I cherish my beauty sleep too much to miss another night.

I did feel that the novel was a bit predictable and there unfortunately was not enough excitement for the proposed premise; it played it too safe and delved too much into romance territory which took away from the game itself. Furthermore I felt that the background to the game of Panic was lacking, making it less believable that it has been going on for so many years without the authorities stepping in.

Panic was perhaps a bit simplistic and lighthearted for its subject matter, but I did like the premise for the game. And there were some unexpected twists along the way, which ensured that I was gripped until the final page.
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on 20 August 2014
'Panic' is the best of Lauren Oliver's books that I've read so far. A contemporary YA with a darkly dangerous undercurrent, I thoroughly enjoyed discovering the secrets of the small town of Carp.

Carp is a town where everyone longs to escape and Panic is their way out. All graduating seniors are eligible to take part, but not everyone is prepared to confront the danger that Panic represents, even with the incentive of a large monetary prize.

The book alternates between the points of view of Heather and Dodge, two participants in the legendary game of Panic. They both want to win but they have very different motivations for taking part. Not only did I enjoy the twists and turns of the game and the challenges that the participants faced, but I also liked seeing how the game influenced each of the characters and made them do things which they might not have believed themselves capable of.

Heather's best friends Bishop and Natalie are also interwoven into the book. I really liked the easy friendship between Heather and Bishop, although it is touched with an undercurrent of something more, as their relationship begins to dip it's toe into the waters of a potential romance. I found Bishop quite enigmatic at times but I loved the way that he was always there for Heather as a shoulder which she could lean on and I was rooting for them to end up together.

This book was a fast-paced read which I couldn't put down. I was desperate to find out who was going to win Panic and who was going to be eliminated and I couldn't believe some of the challenges which they were all made to complete. This is a game for which you have to be made of stern stuff to take part. It was incredibly tense throughout as they all have to face their greatest fears to remain in with a chance of winning the prize.

Lauren Oliver has surprised me yet again with this gripping read which I would definitely recommend you starting with if you haven't read anything by this author before.
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I've been a fan of Lauren Oliver for a few years now, first with Before I Fall and then with Delirium series and when I heard about Panic I was pretty excited. Sure the cover though beautiful doesn't give much away, sure its suppose to be a dystopian book but there's absolutely nothing futuristic about it, but it was still a good book. I heard one person compare it to The Hunger Games , I'm not exactly sure why they think thank as its nothing like it, if anything it reminds me strongly of The Scorpio Races which seen as I loved that book (and massively wish it was a series) it is nothing but a good thing.

The book is set from two peoples point of views, Heather a strong minded girl who's had a hard life with a great group of friends and Dodge, a loner with a hard life of his own. Both have their own reason's for entering Panic, both desperate to win to make a better life for their sisters. Heather is a very timid girl at first, but with the help of Panic and determination she really comes out of her shell and we see that she isn't as scared as we and she thinks. Dodge is a stranger character, at first he comes across as shy from his obviously lack of social interaction, but then when we get further into the book it becomes apparent that his intentions might not be as innocent as we once thought.

We also have two other sub characters who are just as important. Natalie and Bishop, Heathers best friends. Natalie is also in Panic, for nothing other than the money. she seems pretty hell bent on being famous and escaping Carp. Bishop is always there for Heather, and is pretty much one of my favourite characters. All of them, no matter how big or small, together or a mess are brilliant. The thing I love about Lauren Oliver is that she puts so much effort into building up her characters from the ones who are just in it for a chapter to the main ones.

The more the story goes on, the harder the game gets. Sometimes through it my heart was in my throat or I was very on edge, sometimes it dragged (very little) but I loved the development of the characters and the relationships, I love how for the most of it I never knew what was going to happen.

I loved the originality of the idea. I really just liked the book in general. It had its ups and downs, like every book, but overall it was a really good book and I'm glad I read it :)
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on 14 August 2014
Panic is the name of a game played by high school students every Summer in Carp, a small town where nothing interesting ever happens. To win large amounts of money, graduating seniors are literally risking life and limb, but each character has a different reason as to why they are taking part in the game.

Panic was enjoyable to read and was a nice little book to entertain me. I would mostly say Panic was a good book, I enjoyed the storyline and whilst some parts were predictable, some parts pleasantly surprised me. The characters weren't overly loveable and even the two love interests didn't capture my attention too much. Overall, the characters fulfilled their role in the story but I wouldn't want to read any more about them, especially one character in particular: Natalie. For some reason, I really disliked Natalie in this book, she was manipulative, selfish and just a really bad friend. I liked the way Lauren Oliver writes - it's easy and enjoyable to read and I will definitely be reading more books by her.
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on 25 April 2014
Lauren Oliver has a way of telling a story with teenage characters that are not just for teenagers. There's an underlying darkness throughout, and the end is not a given.
Not as good as Before I Fall but still an excellent read
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