Panic {Book Review}


Published Date: March 6, 2014
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd
Pages: 416
Author: Lauren Oliver
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary

This book gets a solid 2 stars. mehhhh.

This was a classic judge-the-book-by-its-cover choice. I picked this book based solely on how cool the cover looked. I thought, “Dude, this book looks like it’s going to be creepy and mysterious and blah blah blah!!” So imagine my surprise when I start to read this book…

Panic is the name of a game created by bored teens in a boring town called Carp, New York. Upon graduating high school, seniors {who are the only ones eligible to play} take a leap off a cliff thus signifying their status as participants in Panic. The winner takes all in a pot that contains a shit ton of money {each student puts up a dollar every day of the school year}…this years pot is $67,000.00. Imagine what you can do with all that money!! That’s exactly what Heather {our main character} and her bff, Natalie do. They imagine a life outside of Carp and Panic is their ticket out, so they decide to jump. But let’s face it, everyone who jumps is imagining the money and the endless possibilities. Money is a powerful motivator. Though once the games begin, Panic isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and they realize fast that it’s not only dangerous but stupid {actually, the last part was me because it’s stupid}. People get hurt, alliances are made {and broken} and friendships are tested.

You know, I was disappointed in this book for a few reasons:

A) The characters. Not one of them tugged at my heart-strings. I never got invested in the characters nor did I care much about their friendships/relationships.

2) It was so predictable. I called it before I reached the halfway mark. I usually can suspend disbelief and allow myself to be surprised but this was way to blatant and poorly executed. What fun is it to read a book when you figure it out half way through? Zero fun, that’s what.

D) The game itself. On what planet do teens participate in a game that consists of breaking and entering, arson, russian roulette and tigers. Not this planet. No way ho zay.

I did like the fact that Lauren Oliver addressed tough subjects such as poverty and neglect and homelessness and struggle. It’s rare to find a YA book these days that sheds light on real subjects in a real way {as opposed to dystopian or paranormal}. It was sad and it made me have feels. Even though that’s where the feels ended. Meh.

Overall, this book was not what I expected {that’s what I get for picking up a book without reading the inside flap or the summary on Goodreads}. I wanted to love it and I wanted to be able to write a gushing review full of wit and funnies and warm fuzzies but instead you get cold pricklies and not a lot of book love. Oh wells.

So, if you’re in the mood for a book about a bunch of teens who battle it out for a small fortune in a sleepy town with nothing better to do, then this is your book.