Friday, March 28, 2014

Review ~ Panic by Lauren Oliver

Series: standalone
Genre: YA contemporary/thriller
Pages: 416
Publication date: March 4th, 2014
Publisher: HarperCollins
Goodreads Description: 
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. 
Source: I received an e-arc of this book from the publisher through Edelweiss in return for an honest review. 

Panic was a thrilling and tense book filled with high stakes and danger. It was a bit like Fear Factor, but with life-or-death tasks and much more at stake than just money. 


Desperation, greed, and courage were what the biggest themes revolved around. In order to play Panic, the characters had to dig deep for every bit of courage they could spare--they needed it to not just get through the challenges but to forward in life. In the meantime, they all had to deal with the greed they felt for the prize for winning the game (money, a better future, etc.). They all did things out of desperation to win the game or get further in life. There were many other focuses and themes in Panic, but those were the ones that stood out the most to me.


I simply loved the game! I've never seen one like it. At first, I was puzzled over what the point of it was and how it worked, but once I figured it out, the game proved to be very dangerous and exciting. It kept me on my toes--the challenges the characters felt were pretty scary, so I was constantly worried over what would happen to them. The game and its progression from one dangerous task the next, even more dangerous one was the best part of the book for me. It added a lot of excitement to the story, as well as some different twists than I was expecting.


She definitely changed over the course of the story, and since character growth is one of my favorite things to see in a book, that stood out to me. Through pushing determinedly through the high risk tasks, she had to muster up much more courage than she ever had. She had to strip away her weakness and start seeing things in a new light in order to win Panic. The main reason for her competing in the game was to give her chance to grow. I loved how the game helped her do that.


The minute I discovered this book, I knew it would be a good read for me. And I was right. Panic was my type of book. It was a contemporary/thriller with great themes, exciting events, and character growth--some of my favorite things. The game, too, was something that I absolutely love to find in books: a level of freshness. The tasks each player were given made the book feel quite different. Panic was a great read that I already know that I want to reread sometime. 

If you are looking for an exciting contemporary and haven't given this one a try yet, I suggest doing so. You may enjoy it as much as I did!

Panic has been shelved as dystopia and science fiction by a lot of members on Goodreads, though it is actually a contemporary thriller without a single supernatural/futuristic element. That said, here are my questions for you:

Why do you think Panic has been shelved that way?
How much do you think the expectation for Panic to be a dystopia/science affects the enjoyment level of a reader that wasn't expecting to read a contemporary?


  1. I think Panic has been shelved as a dystopia because of her previous series that she wrote. Also reading the blurb, it makes reference to a "dead end town" which may be why. I was actually quite surprised to discover it wasn't a dystopia, but it still didn't make me enjoy the story. I'm glad it was the thrill ride that you enjoyed though!

    1. I have to admit I thought it was dystopia until I saw someone on Twitter saying it was actually contemporary. I'm glad I enjoyed it too! I feel like most people didn't like the story very much.

  2. I haven't read Lauren Oliver yet but am hoping to start with this one! This sounds like my type of book too. I love contemporary thrillers! Thanks for sharing!

    1. I hope you enjoy it! Contemporary thrillers are exciting, and I'm glad you love them too. You're welcome!


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