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I Belong


Early Review: Panic by Lauren Oliver

Panic_HC_JKT_des4.inddTitle: Panic

Author: Lauren Oliver

GenreYA Contemporary

SeriesN/A

Publication DateMarch 4, 2014

Format: Hardcover, 416 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062014552 (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062014559 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed byBridget

Synopsis:

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.

Quick & Dirty: Intense story with intriguing characters and unique premises. This was a very enjoyable read and Lauren Oliver fans will be very pleased.

Opening Sentence: THE WATER WAS SO COLD IT TOOK HEATHER’S BREATH away as she fought past the kids crowding the beach and standing in the shallows, waving towels and homemade signs, cheering and calling up to the remaining jumpers.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Panic is a game that was created in the small town of Carp, New York. Only graduating seniors are allowed to compete in the games and participation is completely optional. The judges are completely anonymous and they pick tasks that tend to insight fear in people. Each round there are people eliminated and there is a final showdown where one person is crowned the winner. Not only do they get to say they won Panic they also win the money pot that has been collected since they were freshmen in high school which is usually close to $50,000.

Heather never planned to contend in Panic, she never considered herself fearless or brave, which to win Panic you have to be both. But on the night of the first task fate would have it that she catches her long time boyfriend cheating on her, and she decides that she has nothing to lose by playing the games. Then as things at home get rough she finds that winning all that money might solve a lot of problems for her.

Dodge has always planned on playing Panic, and he has another reason to win the games besides the money. His older sister was paralyzed from the waist down two years ago in the final show down of the games, and Dodge has never forgotten. He is out for revenge and he will stop at nothing to get it.

The story alternates between Heather and Dodge’s POV. First you meet Heather, and to be honest, I really didn’t like her at first. She has a very negative attitude and some serious self esteem issues that got on my nerves a little bit. She grew up with no father and a mother that partied all the time. So her home life was a mess, but she had a couple great friends that got her through all the hard times, and a little sister that made it worth sticking around. At first the games are just to pass the time, but eventually it becomes more important to win. While I didn’t like Heather at first, I loved her by the end. Her character grows so much throughout the pages that it’s hard not to admire her, and respect her determination.

I liked Dodge from the very beginning. He was always sort of a social outcast in school and never very outgoing. But he knew that he would do well at Panic, because he wasn’t afraid of the consequences. He also had more motivation than the others to win. I liked that Dodge was a little awkward and different, it added to his charm. I could easily sympathize with his situation and found him to be a likeable guy.

Panic was an intense read that was very unique. Oliver did a fantastic job keeping the suspense running high throughout the whole book. I will admit that the first hundred pages or so were a little slow, but once you got through the background story it was pretty much non-stop drama and action. I thought that the premises was very unique and different from anything else I have ever read, so I liked that and it made the story more intriguing. The ending was left slightly open ended but I thought that it was a perfect fit for the story. Oliver is just one of those authors that know how to write amazing stories. Her style and form is always so captivating and I will always be a fan of her work. I would highly recommend this to anyone that is looking for a great YA realistic contemporary read, it will not disappoint.

Notable Scene:

Heather fought for breath. Tears were pushing at the back of her eyes. She knew they were being too loud. Too loud. Everything was all wrong. The gun in her hand felt awful, cold but also alive, like some alien creature that might suddenly roar to life.

“What are you doing here?” she finally said. “You were supposed to get proof for us and get out.”

“I heard something,” Dodge fired back. “I thought it might be one of the other players—”

The lights came on.

Jack Donahue was standing in the doorway, eyes wild, chest slick with sweat. Then he was shouting and the barrel of the gun was swinging toward them and there was an explosion of glass, and Heather realized Dodge had just hurled a chair straight through the window. Everything was fracture, roar, blur.

“Go, go, go!” Dodge was shouting, pushing Heather toward the window.

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FTC Advisory: HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Panic. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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