Panic by Lauren Oliver


This adrenaline-charged, contemporary thriller is my second Lauren Oliver read. The story is told by the alternating perspectives of Heather and Dodge, both desperately competing in the game (Panic) for their own reasons. Panic, is a dangerous high stakes competition of high school seniors to win thousands of dollars; enough money to vastly impact their life and escape their stink hole of a town.

I found the character traits of the main four characters (Heather, Dodge, Natalie and Bishop) really frustrating. For most of the book (likely due to their hopeless situations), they demonstrate really poor judgement. Their family backgrounds include: addiction, poverty, and homelessness. Within the four, there is romance, but the story mostly focuses on the games.

The game itself does require the reader to suspend their belief. Panic has been played for several years, yet teachers, parents, and even police have yet to put a complete stop to it. Teenagers have even died playing the game, but Panic continues. There is no way a game like Panic could continue to exist today. But hey, it sells books.

Overall, Panic is an engaging, fast-paced read. It’s different from the other dangerous game playing YA books  (Hunger Games, Divergent, Maze Runner, etc.) because it is a contemporary story.  Since it is a standalone, readers also don’t have to commit to a trilogy! Hurray!  If you are a fan of movies based on books, look for Panic to hit the theatres.  Universal Pictures have secured the film rights.

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