Panic by Lauren Oliver

published by Hodder & Stoughton

4.5 out of 5 stars

Format: Egalley – released April 2014

If you look on goodreads there are endless reviews guessing what Panic is about, many complain that it sounds like a remake of the hunger games. Its not.

Panic is a game played by the graduating class of small town Carp. To declare your entry you climb to the top of the cliffs and jump on opening night, from there the challenges whittle down the competitors until only two remain for the Joust. There are rues – no-one tells, no-one asks who the judges are and everyone pays into the pot – whether you take part or not.

This year the winners pot is bigger than ever, Heather, Natalie and Dodge have different reasons for wanting that money but they are all determined to win. But competing against your friends, and class mates means seeing different sides to them, and friendships are made and broken over the course of Panic, but the big question is who will be the last ‘man’ standing.

Told from Heather and Dodge’s POV the story is set in modern day (one presumes anyway) small town Carp, and whilst the game is a big part of the book, the relationships, betrayals and misunderstandings are at the forefront. Heather lives in a trailer park, looking after her younger sister and trying to survive having a drunk, junkie mother. Dodge has his own family issues, and the game throws the two together in ways the reader doesn’t expect.

I loved panic, it was back to from for Oliver, it had the magic of Delirium once again. Heather is instantly likeable, she’s not some uber-tough individual, but nor is she a wet rag, she’s normal, and finds herself during the book, and doesn’t even realise it. Dodge is a little harder to like, he’s bitter (with good reason), but as his family past unfolds you understand why. The only thing missing for me was any connection with Natalie, perhaps she would have been better with her own chapters, but she felt disconnected and unlikeable through out.

A great book, and for a change a standalone that does stand alone, no need for a sneaky prequel or ‘so and so’s story. I know its a way off, but go read it if you can get your hands on it. I devoured it in a day, so it must be good.

ARC/Egalley provided by Edelweiss via the publisher in exchange for a fair review.


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