I thought for sure that Panic would be a five star read for me. The teenagers in this boring small town take part in an annual game called Panic, and the winner goes home with a giant jackpot. Of course, the game is really freakin’ dangerous. Did you really expect these teens to do things lightly? Nope, they sneak into pens with dangerous animals, steal from trigger-happy old men, and their first task is to jump from a bridge.And it was pretty great, I must admit. I liked reading about what was driving all of these different characters to complete the tasks. I think you would have to be pretty desperate if you were to do these tasks and try to win the game. I wouldn’t have even jumped off the bridge on the first night.
My main issue with this book was the characters. I wasn’t able to connect with any of them, and I think that my lack of feelings towards all of them is reason enough to knock two stars from my rating. As I mentioned above, the characters’ motives were important to me. You don’t go robbing people or climbing into pens with wild animals for no reason. Unfortunately, since I was unable to connect with any of them, I didn’t really care for their motives.
The book is told from the points of view of Heather and Dodge. I definitely preferred Heather’s chapters, and her relationship with her little sister was great. Dodge was disappointing, though. I wasn’t interested in his revenge in the slightest, and I think he came across as overly angry and bitter. Of course, I understand why, since some serious things happened to some of his family members, but I couldn’t connect with him at all.
If you’ve been reading other reviews of this book, you’ll probably have found out that there’s a twist at about 60% of the way through. I’ve read a couple of reviews myself, and everyone seems to have figured out the twist before it happened. Somehow, I didn’t. Which is surprising, because usually I see a twist coming from a mile away, but I didn’t with this book. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t completely invested with these characters, and therefore I wasn’t paying attention to whatever hints were thrown in.
Panic was a good book, don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed the thrill of the game, and I was always excited to see what the characters would have to go through next in order to win the money. I just didn’t like the characters, and that seriously impacted the story for me. Panic is a very dark contemporary that many readers will love and enjoy. It’s far from my favourite Lauren Oliver book – that title still belongs to Before I Fall, the reigning champion – but it’s considerably better than Requiem, the finale to the Delirium trilogy.