Published by Harper
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Source: Personal Collection
Add to: Goodreads
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. - via GoodReads
Panic by Lauren Oliver grabbed my attention with its blurb. Small town wracked by near poverty when the local factory closed? God can I relate to that! The area that I live in lost 3000 jobs alone when one of the major factories closed its doors and moved production to Mexico. The smaller factories didn’t take too long to follow. 10 to 15% of the population jobless in one day. Instantly as a reader, I could connect to the setting.
Panic is told from both Heather and Dodge’s perspectives. There was a clear distinction in their voices. Heather had decided against entering Panic and would just cheer on her friend Natalie. Then before she knows it she’s scaling the rock face and accepting the first challenge in Panic. It isn’t all bad though. The pot for Panic could set her up and maybe she can provide the kind of life her sister deserves. The kind of life her mother isn’t interested in even attempting to provide.
Dodge wants revenge the only way he knows how to get it. It is vital that he make it to the end of Panic. He even helps out other Panic participants to ensure he gets what he wants. Dodge is an interesting character. I’m not sure what exactly made me like him. I mean the kid’s shifty as hell but I still felt like he had a lot to share and he didn’t disappoint.
Can we talk a minute about the pot for Panic? When it was explained in the book, each student in the high school puts in $1.00 per student per school year but the pot at the end of Panic is five digits; a hefty sum for a poor kid from a small town. For the pot to be that much, it has to be $1.00 per day per kid. These kids are poor. Their parents are scratching out a living. How are these kids coming up with that money? It’s a small thing but sharing the same kind of background, it seems too convenient. Particularly since it’s not option to pay.
Other than that one issue I really enjoyed Panic. It was fast paced and easy to keep up with. I’m grateful it’s a stand alone. In a genre filled with more and more series, it’s refreshing to be able to read a book and be done when you turn the last page.