Panic – Lauren Oliver



Author: Lauren Oliver

Publish Date: March 4th, 2014

Number of pages: 408

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance

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.


The premise of this book really caught my attention. While I was not expecting too much from the writing, I was pleasantly surprised by some of the aspects of the book.

Panic is technically the first Lauren Oliver book I’ve read in it’s entirety. I’ve read samples of Delirium but I never got around to actually getting the book.

Panic was not a bad book. It’s loads better than some of the other things I’ve read recently and I enjoyed reading it.

I loved the character relationships. The character interactions were realistic and drawn well. There are flaws in their relationship which shows how nothing can ever be perfect. The thing about best friends are that even if they fight, they will be able to sort past their differences and make up. This is showcased numerous times throughout the book, and I know I’m making it sound like they’re constantly fighting, but keep in mind that Panic takes place over an entire summer. Every relationship and flaw was beautifully shown. Heather and Natalie were so different from each other, yet they still had that degree of trust and care. Dodge, the newcomer to their trio (Heather, Natalie, and Bishop) had believable interactions with every character. He was the personification of what friendship can be if you try. Just because you haven’t had friends for years, doesn’t mean that you can’t make them on a whim. The relationships, romantic, friendly, enemies, etc, were all portrayed well.

The same cannot be said for the characters. While some of them are round, they feel two-dimensional. They feel distant and hard to relate to because of the way that they are written. While Dodge had revenge has his motivation and his tough personality as his outside shell, by the end of the novel, I still felt like I didn’t really understand him. I had to really think and go back and analyze all of his actions to come up with what I would say is his portrayal. Another character, Bishop, was even flatter. He is supposed to be Heather’s romantic interest but by the end, I barely even knew who he was. I didn’t understand his reasons for anything, his opinions or his personality and he was supposed to be one of the major characters.

Even if they may face hard circumstances, readers should still be able to relate or sympathize with them in some way, even if it’s really small. I didn’t get this with Panic.

The setting in Panic was fantastic. The monochromatic, dull tone personified the bleakness of the competition. I could see the danger of their actions and how desperate they were to escape their own respective situations.

I didn’t like the writing of Panic. I felt that it was too blunt and disjoint and that it often affected my enjoyment of the story. The plot itself was interesting, but due to the writing and characters, it was hard to feel anything for the characters when they were doing their challenges. By the time I was halfway through with the book, it had dulled to the point where I could care less if anybody died. Still, I read on until the last challenge, the climax of the book, that unfortunately, fell flat. The dramatic moment that Heather experienced felt ludicrous and did nothing to make me feel anything.

And then, the epilogue. I abhorred the epilogue. It felt like a vacation journal, a chapter of summarizing what had happened to everybody. The scene itself wasn’t bad at all, but the way it was written, as if years had passed and that they had all changed into completely different people, was something that I really detested because the book had completely skipped over showing the monumental character changes that they had experienced. Sure, Heather might have had a small bit of her’s shown, but it wasn’t enough to satisfy me and convince me of their emotional changes. Yes, Dodge got over his want for revenge, but how did he do it? How did Bishop and Heather reconcile? There were so many unanswered questions I had.

Panic was a fun read, enjoyable if you didn’t think too much about all of the technical things that were wrong (For instance, how did people get away with some of the things they did? Panic included some illegal actions that should have been penalized appropriately, but of course, justice was not served because y’know, it’s a fictional world).

3/5 Stars