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.
Its Survivor and Fear Factor roled into one game, you need to out last the other players in order to win. Everyone pays in and the total is shared between the judges and the winner this years pot is $67,000. Panic is suppose to be a secret game played by the High School Seniors, but being in a small town of only 12,000 naturally everyone knows about it. The cops don't really do anything to stop it, there are a few times they show up and shut it down, but my feeling is they see it as a right of passage and allow it to continue even though people have been hurt and killed in this long running summer event.
Heather is kind of lost, she doesn't see herself as loveable, brave or anybody worth anything really, she lives in a trailer park with her younger sister and her substance abusing mother and her boyfriend, with no plans for the future and nothing to look forward to. When she sees her boyfriend at the opening of panic with another girl, she doesn't even think about it until she is already up the cliff ready to declare herself a candidate. Heather feels trapped in her life like she is always going to be in the same place, while everyone else moves on without her. While working with Anne at her hobby/rescue farm Heather starts to come into her own, she uses panic as a way to help her and her sister out of their situation, Its what motivates her to move forward even when she is scared and ready to quit.
“If people changed, it meant that she was allowed to change too. She could be different.
She could be happier.”
Dodge doesn't have a lot of friends, he has never really stayed in one place long enough to want to. His motivation for entering panic is purely revenge, his older sister was injured during the final challenge of panic a few years earlier, and he feels that by taking out the sibling of the guy who injured his sister they will be even. He teams up with Heather and her friend Nat who he has had a crush on forever and they help carry each other through some of the events. Some how they form a strange sort of friendship which ends up saving them all.
I liked the premise of this book a lot, it started off a little slow for me. ( I have to admit I was distracted by the beautiful weather ) Once I connected with the charecters, and understood what motivated them all, I really began to enjoy this book. I could totally see something like Panic happening in a small town, everyone knows everyone, you grew up with these people you know their fears and their weaknesses even if you aren't friends with them. And that is what Panic is all about playing on peoples strengths and weakness, it doesn't matter if your a jock or a nerd you are all on the same playing field in panic because it isn't always about phyiscal strength, sometimes its a test of courage or bravery, and sometimes a test of sheer stupidity. I could totally see how a group of teenagers would find this exciting, and for those feeling trapped in the confines of their city limits I can see how panic would be an excellent incentive to help pay for an escape out. I think the majority of YA readers will really enjoy this read.
I gave this book a 3.5 star out of 5 rating
Panic by Lauren Oliver can be purchased at all major retailers in store and on line