Monday, 18 August 2014

Review: Panic - Lauren Oliver

Panic by Lauren Oliver, published by Hodder on 14th August 2014

Goodreads synopsis:
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.

'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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