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Friday, July 25, 2014

Panic by Lauren Oliver

Title: Panic
Author: Lauren Oliver
ISBN: 9780062299840
Publisher: HarperCollins
Released: March 04, 2014
Duration: 8 hours, 11 minutes
Source: Audiobook from my public library

"Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a poor town of twelve thousand 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 aftraid 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.
First Lines:

"The water was so cold it took Heather's breath away as she fought past the kids crowding the beach and standing in the shallows, waving towels and homemade signs, cheering and calling up to the remaining jumpers."
Page 2

I always put off reading Lauren Oliver's books for whatever reason, but I need to remember this for next time. Her stuff is so good and this book is no exception!

Panic is a game played by graduated seniors in a tiny town... because they have nothing better to do. They keep it a secret from any adults or authority figures because, well, sometimes people get hurt. Actually, someone always gets hurt. It's a game of wills and fear and dares. Don't finish the task? You don't move on and you lose. Heather never wanted glory or money or anything, but she finds herself fighting to stay in the game. Dodge is in it for revenge. No matter what, they have to conquer their own fears to survive.

I wonder if there are actual places that have something like this. It doesn't seem all that far-fetched, honestly. Bored teens start a tradition that gives the winner certain fame? Plus, I feel like doing dares is one of the thrilling things about being a teenager who thinks nothing can harm them. Especially if it's totally under the radar and sneaky. It just seems really plausible and this could make an awesome movie. I know I'd watch it.

I love Heather. She's a normal girl, just living her life. She's not perfect. Her family is in turmoil, her friends are sort of betraying her, and her lovelife is in the dirt. But even through all of that, she is her own kind of badass. Because her lovelife is trashed, she decides to become a part of panic. Because of her mother's inability to take care of them, she takes her sister away and finds somewhere else for them to be. Because her friends are acting weird, she looks inside herself for strength. Plus, she gets a job working on a farm full of animals that she learns to love. She's just awesome and I want to give her a hug.

The development of the various families and the main characters is really interesting. See Heather's stuff above. And then you get the details about Dodge's family - and his sister who was permanently injured because of panic. And something stupid another kid did to her. This has made him angry for so long that he almost sees panic as the only thing that will make things better. But then he starts to make a couple of friends and realizes how things might be off in his head.

This book is totally character driven and I loved every moment of it. I listened to it - an amazing reader, btw. But it put those voices in my head and I could hear them even when I wasn't listening to the book. I think they are just super relatable and there are pieces of them in everyone. Watching all of this unfold was really enjoyable and I kind of didn't want it to end. I want to know what happens to them later, I want good things for all of them.

If you're looking for a great, one-shot, realistic book, then I definitely recommend you give this one a go. It's thrilling and a little bit frightening at times, but it's a story of overcoming impossible odds and finding your own personal strength. Who wouldn't want to read about that?! Probably best for older teens, for sure. But I almost just want everyone to read it anyway. :) I promise to try not to put off reading Oliver's next book...
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Miss Page-Turner's City of Books
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The Obsessive Bookseller

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