Monday, March 10, 2014

REVIEW: Panic by Lauren Oliver

Panic  by Lauren Oliver
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins
Buy it at: Amazon / Barnes and Noble

*This book was received from the publisher, but it did not influence this review in any way *

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads):

Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town on 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.

Dogge 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. 

You know that feeling you get when you're reading the last paragraph of a book that you just realized was great. Then, somewhere along the lines, with out you realizing when, a smile spreads across you're face  leaving you with this happy feeling. That's what Panic was for me. At first, when beginning this book, I wasn't all that impressed with the writing, But a few chapters in and I was hooked! Then it became impossible to put the book down. I hadn't realized it at the time, but Panic reeled me in and took a hold of me when I wasn't looking. Sneaky, sneaky.

We begin our journey with Heather. We see right away that's she has a bit of a tough life. But she also has a pair of great best friends that help her along the way. Probably more than we could ever realize until the bittersweet end. She's a lucky girl to be blessed with great friends and great people that care about her. And I love seeing her transition from timid to brave. She's a strong character for herself, her friends, Nathalie and Bishop, and her sister, Lily.

Then we meet Dodge and he seems fine at first. Really shy but also really sweet. But when the truth about his reasons for joining Panic are revealed we see some of his "shady" side come out and some pretty nasty schemes on his part. Not cool Dodge, not cool! But aside from his negative motives regarding Panic, we see him change in some pretty good ways. He's a good guy, just too focused on certain feelings that he should just let go. But I feel his pain and probably would have done a lot of the same a point! His relationship with Nathalie is sweet to see growing. Of course, she has her own shady moments when it comes to Dodge, but throughout all the lies and sneaking around, a relationship still blooms between the two of them and that's great to watch.

So after everything that happened it's nice to see how things ended for the foursome and progressed with their characters and relationships. Seeing them happy and alive and together is what took me to that happy feeling at the end. The huge smile was plastered on my face before I even realized that I was smiling.

Panic, as a game, seemed a bit silly to me in the beginning and I thought it sounded similar to a Hunger Games type of game. But it was actually totally different. Panic was brought on by a bored town of people and kept up  for the glory of winning, nothing to do with war and punishment. Mostly to keep yourself entertained and win the pot of Money at the end. So NOT The Hunger Games! Still, a great game though. I might have even considered it myself in a different time.

So overall, I'm so happy that my original thoughts on this book were different than what it actually was. Surprise stories are the best kind of story! And the ending will leave you a word...HAPPY!! 

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