Book: Panic by Lauren Oliver
Genre: YA Contemporary
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆☆
Here's one of those books I requested to review without knowing anything about it. Just familiar with the author. I guess that's how most of these review books go, right? So it's always interesting to get into reading it and realize, oh, so that's what this book is!
This book is about a group of kids who get involved in the town's traditional summer game they call Panic. This is where kids put money in a pot and then they are challenged (there are anonymous judges who come up with the challenges) to do really scary dangerous life threatening things. The one left standing at the end wins the money.
Yes, this one had me on the edge for much of it. The challenges are crazy! But I just had a hard time believing any sane kid would do these things. So, there's the rub. These kids have issues and problems and are motivated by things that are bigger than themselves. Their lives don't mean much to them. Only that money in the end.
It's a tough story to read. There's lots of gritty issues. Bad parenting. Revenge. Kids in peril. Sad sad stories. But there's good too. And what keeps you reading is hoping the good wins out in the end. And to see how very much these kids change.
It's told from the view point of two of the kids, however there's actually four kids at the center of the action. We get deep into their lives and feel the motivation they all have for playing the game. It's pretty intense.
While I enjoyed it, I didn't enjoy it enough to give it my normal high rating. Mostly because I get frustrated sometimes with these stories that have SO MANY bad things happening. Is this REALLY how the real world is? Really? Maybe some places are. But nevertheless, it frustrated me.
Bottom line: Gripping anxiety ridden tale that is mostly depressing but uplifting enough to redeem it.
It’s really a rather simple concept: teenagers are daredevils to pass the summer and possibly win a lot of money; things go wrong; many of these kids are dealing with pretty major stuff. But, Oliver makes it so not simple. Her writing is absolutely beautiful. From Proud Book Nerd
The premise is not believable. Not even believable enough that I could suspend my disbelief (and I'm pretty good at that.) It's not only the game, it's the money. There's no way you could get kids to bring a dollar a day to school. Never. From Annette's Book Spot
But Oliver sells the hell out of it with down-on-their-luck characters that have heartbreakingly believable motivations From Presenting Lenore
Overall, Panic has a great message and a premise with a lot of potential, though the way it's carried out is a bit lacking. From City of Books