March 14, 2014

REVIEW: Panic by Lauren Oliver

Panic by Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Source: Edelweiss via publisher*
Rating: 1/5 stars
Get it: Amazon | B&N
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.

My Review
I wish I could have loved Panic by Lauren Oliver. I really thought that Panic would give me a thrilling, adventurous and even slightly nerve wracking experience which was what I got from the description initially. Sadly, I did not get that out of this novel at all.

I’m not sure what was up with the third person narrative in this book. Granted, I have read several with the same narrative, yet Panic left me with such a huge disconnect from the novel and especially the characters itself. The two main characters were Heather and Dodge. Both characters had their own reasons for  playing Panic with one having a very obvious reason and the other still figuring it out.  I found I didn’t really care for both of these characters (or any character). Heather whined about her boyfriend breaking up with her and how her life just sucked so bad. Dodge, on the other hand, was hell bent on getting revenge and liking a girl who didn’t give two shits about him. If you really had to ask me, I liked Dodge better. He was just weird and awkward, but kind of endearing. Heather just annoyed me because she continued to complain that no one would love her, when it was obvious she had plenty who did. But out of both characters, Heather showed a little more growth that Dodge, but not very much. 

To be quite frank, I was thoroughly bored by this novel. The challenges in the game, the near death of the players and even what Heather and Doge were going through were flat. I was hoping the challenges were going to be exciting, but my disconnect toward the characters didn’t allow me to feel anything towards Heather and Dodge. I barely felt their fear or their nervousness. One would think that jumping off cliffs, walking a plank thousands of feet in the air or even crossing a highway blindfolded would keep me on the edge of my seat, but it didn’t. It was lifeless to me. Even worse, the twist that came near the end I already had it all figured out in the first few chapters. This took away any shock or surprise I may have felt. 

I also didn’t think the town or the game itself was realistic. The parental units in this town were nearly non-existent at best. For a game (I’m assuming) that has been happening every year, I expect the parents to care or try to put a stop to it. The police tried to get involved, but it felt like those who controlled the game were in charge and had the power. I still don’t even know who or how this game started, but from what I read I don’t think it was meant to ever be known. 

The romance was just meh. I mean, it was just kind of sudden and it was just there. The development was severely lacking in every aspect of the romance. When the end came around and everything seemed good, I was just like, What? Ok whatever. Most of the issues the characters had with each other were never really addressed or got resolved and it just added to the frustration I felt about my dislike for the novel.

Although I sped through Panic fairly quickly, I couldn’t bring myself to like or even care for the book. I was just relieved to able to put it down. Panic was definitely not for me.

*Thanks to HarperCollins for providing a copy in exchange for my honest review.

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