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Panic by Lauren Oliver Review

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.

Pages: 416
Source: Edelweiss 

I'm a huge fan of Lauren Oliver's, so as soon as I heard that I would have the chance to read and review her newest book, I was ecstatic. Just picture me jumping up and down for joy and you've got the right reaction. I think it's really difficult to read books by authors you already love, though, because you automatically have such high expectations for the book. And I think that was my main problem with Panic. I liked it and if it would have been written by an author I had never read before, I probably would be even more excited about it. However, I adore Lauren Oliver's writing and honestly? This one just did not measure up to the high standards I've placed on her books. That certainly does not mean it's not a good book, just not my favorite compared to her other novels. 

     The best thing about Panic is the game called Panic. I hope my town never decides to initiate a competition such as this because, guys, it was extremely dangerous. But that sets you up for a really heart-pounding, palms sweating type of read. And in that category, this book definitely excelled. I finished this book within two days and I probably could have read faster if it were not for, you know, that whole school thing. (Who wants to go to school anyway?)  I flew through the pages because each challenge of this dangerous game was more exciting than the next. This book catches your attention right from the start with the interesting premise and it holds it through the duration of the action.  For me, everything else in this book really took a backseat compared to the game. I liked the romance (I'm a sucker for long time childhood friends!) but most of the time I was like, oh, that's get back to the game! I can appreciate books that always have you at the edge of your seat. I think that kind of tension is difficult to create and even more challenging to sustain throughout the entire novel. So well done there, Lauren Oliver. 

     Here's where I had problems. There's a major plot twist that happens towards the end of the book that really shakes up the entire game. But I saw it coming from almost the first few chapters. I'm not sure if I'm just incredibly smart (highly likely) or if the author was trying to deliberately reveal this shocker before the characters figure it out, but either way, I found it a little bit distracting. l love to be surprised and I'm not the kind of person who can enjoy a surprise even when they've known it's been coming for awhile. I just can't fake it. And so when I had that figured out so early on, it made any of the drama with the big reveal just seem very silly. I was like, how did you not see that coming? I've never even been to your town and I had that figured out within seconds. So I don't know if everybody else will pick up on this as early as I did or if it will even bother you, but this book lost points for making something so serious, so obvious.  

    Another thing I was a little confused about was I honestly felt like Lauren Oliver skipped some scenes she should have included in the novel. Authors can't write every single little detail of what happens to a person during the day because that would be a ridiculously long novel and well, it would be incredibly boring. So the author skips over the main characters trip to the restroom, because we just don't need to know that. I feel like Lauren Oliver was using that same technique, but with scenes I really wanted to see play out! I was like, wait what? When did that happen? I sometimes felt like I had missed something really important. I'm beginning to suspect this was a problem with the e-copy I received rather than the actual book because what was on my Nook was not nearly as long as Goodreads says the book is supposed to be. So I don't know, perhaps this is not a problem anyway, but I'll just have to buy the physical book and see if there are any differences. 

     While this book really wasn't one of my favorites of Lauren Oliver's, I cannot say even a little bit that it was a bad book. It's not. And I'm pretty sure that most people will at least find it an exciting, quick read. It's got a lot of good elements there, it just needed something a little more in my opinion to make me really fall in love. 

But who knows? Maybe this will be the perfect book for you? 

Oh hello there! My name is Emily, though some of you may know me as the Bookie Monster. As the name would suggest, I devour books like the Cookie Monster devours cookies. In my spare time, I like to bake cookies (and devour those as well) and dream about taking over the world. As if my book obsession wasn't life consuming enough,

I work in the children's room at my local library and I am currently a sophomore in college majoring in English. It's safe to say I'm a bit of a book fanatic. I discreetly shed a few tears on my eleventh birthday when I did not receive my Hogwarts acceptance letter and I waited seven hours outside in the rain just to get a good seat at the Hunger Games midnight premiere. I'm terrified of blood and Disney movies make me cry (in a good way). My passions include hippos, hugs, and Hans Zimmer…and uh,long walks on the beach. I'm just a normal girl w
ith a slightly abnormal and frightfully expensive obsession. Nice to meet you!


  1. It's weird because for the longest time, I thought PANIC was dystopian. I think the marketing made it seem dystopian... the cover maybe? The description? I don't know. I think I'll give this one a shot because I really have no idea what to expect... It's been so long since I've read something contemporary from Oliver though, so I'm looking forward to it!

  2. I'm happy you liked this book because so many people are giving it bad ratings! But I def want to read it

  3. I liked it, too. Yeah, I had some issues with it but overall, it was a kind of entrancing read. That game is SCARY!!

  4. I've seen some pretty negative ratings for this one, so I think I'm kind of afraid to read it! I love love love Lauren Oliver's books, even Requiem, which so many people didn't like, so I'm hoping I'll be like you! I think Panic the game sounds so interesting... And I hope it was just your ecopy that was messed up! :)

    Rachel @ Paper Cuts

  5. I felt the same way about this one, it wasn't bad just not at all what I was expecting.

    Great honest review!

  6. I haven't read anything by Oliver yet. After reading a few reviews, I think i would be best not to start with this one. Then again, maybe i would be a good idea since I have nothing to compare to. Hmmm ... now I need to rethink this. :D

  7. I'm wary of this book. Oliver has disappointed me in the past, and this sounds suspiciously like Hunger Games. I'll probably would have to give it more thought before I decide to buy this.

    Thanks for the review!

  8. I don't know if I'm going to read this one. Oliver really upset me with the last book in the Delirium series and so I don't know if I'll read more of her work. She seems to preach a lot in her books about whatever soap box she is on and I don't think authors should preach values through their characters. Let stories happen naturally and if that is the opinion of the character that is fine but don't force it.

    Thanks for the great review!

  9. I'm glad you enjoyed this book, because I unfortunately didn't.. I think it's mainly because of the two problems you described. I felt I was missing out on important things and I wasn't very surprised with the way the story went. But at least you could find some parts of the books you liked, so that's great :D

  10. It's too bad this one didn't quite live up to your high expectations. I'm a bit on the fence about reading this one.

  11. I loved almost all Lauren's books and I'm really excited for this one, but with recent reviews I'm getting a bit scared. I think I expect too much and I need to find a way to lover my expectations. I'm really glad you enjoyed it. Great review :)


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