Tuesday, February 11, 2014

*BOOK ARC REVIEW* Panic by Lauren Oliver

As promised here is my ARC book review of Panic by Lauren Oliver! To make it easier because it is an incredibly long review, I broke it down into categories. 

{Published by 3/4/14 by Harper Collins}
{416 Pages}
{AUTHOR: Lauren Oliver}

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.

~Sydney's Review~ 

"Are you going to die Heather?" 

First off I'll say that I'm a real big fan of Lauren Oliver's Delirium series; in effect making me fangirl when I saw the new book and this AMAZING cover! 


The cover is just so hauntingly beautiful. This is definitely one of my favorite covers being that it's so different from the colorful covers of her other books. I think Lauren has a fetish with faces on her covers just as Nicolas Sparks is enduring with the kissing couples. 


The summary of Panic was in the least, mediocre. When I read it I proceeded to assume things that weren't exactly true. I thought that Heather and Dodge would meet each other and eventually be bound in a relationship. They do meet but they barely talk to each other, acting as more of an acquaintance than friends. The story actually was more about each of their separate lives rather than their combined relationship. 
In Heather's case her mother, Krista, is a drunk and a drug addict and her stepfather Bo, is exactly the same. What little you see of them is just enough to want to jump into the story and knock some sense into them. They're senseless, oblivious human beings, with no sense of emotion towards the effect they're drinking, smoking, drug use and partying has on their two daughters. They live in a crappy trailer park where the rest of the drugees live and the capital party trailer is set, the place to be if you're looking to get high. You constantly see Heather being the mother of her little sister rather than Krista. 

Dodge's family is split. His mother is another kind of addict and is infamous for how many  different boyfriends she can bring home. Dodge's older sister is sadly, a cripple in a wheel chair, her legs completely immobile, thanks to Panic. 



Now on to Panic. The game no one knows who started, lasts the entire summer, and requires children to do dangerous stunts. These stunts are all based around drilling into its players and on-lookers, Panic. There are usually 2-3 judges that create the challenges that need to be completed, sending out betting slips and threatening texts, all to narrow down the competition. Some of these challenges are just fear instilling challenges, like jumping off a cliff into rock infested waters, and spending the night in a supposedly haunted house. Then there are those that push the limits, like entering a tiger's cage for instance and playing a dangerous game of Russian Roulette. 
Through the story my stomach continued to knot up and I kept thinking to myself, "Oh jeez, it's panic." 
This book has the ability to create real panic in the minds of it's readers. It honestly gave me little bursts of adrenaline every time there was a new challenge. There were absolutely no dry-spells through this. There were persistent humorous quotes. 


You can honestly see the humorous relationship Dodge has with his sister, and you can see that he really loves her. Heather and Dodge have a strong love for their siblings, which drives them to compete and win Panic. 
"When he was five, they'd used to bottle their farts and tried to sell them."
Dodge, PG 61 


This story though did confuse me in a sense that as much as I tried, I could not grasp a mental image of Carp what so ever. There are ritzy neighborhoods, with trailer parks just a walk a way, meth row with a sea of broken down cars in its midst right near a gun crazy lunatic's house. It's like there's too many factors being mixed together and no clear sense of direction. Maybe Lauren can draw a map of Carp or something to put in the front of the book. I could easily imagine each location separately, but all together...there's not a chance. It honestly confused the crap out of me. Delirium had clear direction and was easy to imagine as a whole. Panic failed to do that. 


I did enjoy the character development and the relationship between the four friends. They all grow throughout the book, in ways you can't even imagine. I'm not going to get into the relationship between Heather, Dodge, Bishop and Natalie. It's so twisted and confusing that I had to (multiple times) just put down the book and stare at the wall, trying to sort their relationships out. Okay, maybe I will go into it a little. It is a review after all. 

Bishop, Natalie and Heather have been long time friends before Dodge comes in and joins their group. Bishop and Heather had a past fling but continue to flirt with each other non-stop throughout the entire story. Like literally... GET TOGETHER ALREADY!
Natalie is something else. She's a little bit of a priss, extremely girly-girl and completely and utterly willing to do whatever it takes to get what she wants. 
Heather and Dodge are both unbelievably complex characters with lots of deep emotion and unbearably tough live. 

Something similar happens to both Dodge and Heather. An incident along the same lines happens between Heather and Bishop as it does with Natalie and Dodge, this made my stomach turn. I honestly wanted to throw the book against the wall, I could not get what the heck was going on. The relationships were just stupid and ridiculous. They made no sense and had no real plausibility. I really wanted Heather and Bishop to be together, don't get me wrong, but it was just so annoying at some point I gave up any hope of them being in a normal relationship. They go from liking each other and flirting, to kissing at one point and being separate, heart-broken, and mad at each other to from the top, loving each other and kissing again. There was no real apology for what happened between them, for the fighting and stupidity. There was just a lot of explanation, given too quickly and even more anger. Their relationship, like the town's layout baffled me and gave me a headache trying to sort out. SOOO...besides their relationship being jacked, I'm moving on with this review. 


Some people don't really think about character motivation when reviewing novels, but it is, in reality, the heart of the story. If the character did not do *this* the story would never unfold. The character does *this* because of something. I'll give you the one word for why, "Motivation". Motivation moves a story. Motivation to get out of bed in the morning means the difference of being late to work or school or having enough time and not having to rush. Your motivation for jumping out of a window may include something like a fire pushing in at you. Motivation is necessary for a good story. 

During Panic you really find out what these characters are made of. Dodge's motivation for playing Panic is revenge, making him willing to commit murder if it comes down to it. 
Natalie is lustful for a spot light in a world that isn't Carp. Bishop is doing it out of love for his best friend. But Heather, Heather doesn't know why she decided to play Panic. Only in the end does she realize that her motivation is her crappy life, her little sister, and the push and pull of blind emotion and grief from a breakup. 

This is my opinion is not one of Oliver's best writings, but it does show the willingness to complete challenges in acts of love and devotion. 


Lauren has an incredible sense of style when writing. It measures up well when placed next to other bestsellers. I'd suggest reading Panic with an open mind, remembering that it-- though written by the same author-- will not at all resemble Delirium. 

This is a book with such deep complexity I must clap for Lauren on being able to write something so deep, juicy, and to the rim with heart-pounding action. 


I DON'T suggest this book to anyone under 12-13, based off material and language. Their are some suggestive commentary but this warning is mainly based off language. Most of the language was completely unnecessary and over-used. When made into a movie, if it keeps to the book, will undoubtedly be rated {R}. I lost count of how many times the F-bomb was dropped in even the simplest of sentences. It, in my opinions, was just too much and unnecessary. Sorry Lauren. 

I DO suggest this book to fans of An Abundance of Katherines by John Green and, The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp. 

In conclusion, though there are definitely some rough edges I do think it is a reasonably good read. 


  • Cover 
  • Summary 
  • Relationship Development
  • Character Development
  • Location Layout
  • Action and Humor
  • Writing Style 

Location Layout and Relationship Development left something to be desired. 


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