Panic is a new contemporary standalone novel by Lauren Oliver. It chronicles a summer in the small town of Carp, a town that no one has ever heard of and there’s nothing to do. I picked up the book with a doubting eye. I was not a fan of Oliver’s last book, Requiem… So much so that I was weary of reading her again. However, my faith is restored with this book, which was everything that I have come to expect from an Oliver novel… and much more.
Nothing ever happens in Carp except for Panic. Panic is a game played by the graduating seniors every summer; a game meant to test the limits both mentally and physically. For years every student pays into the pot and then as seniors they are entitled to play, if they choose. This year’s pot is $67,000 and everyone dreams of what they can do with the money.
Heather and Dodge both have very different reasons for joining Panic. One joins for the future and one joins for the past. Both are long shots, but so is everyone who joins. Panic divides people into two categories – those who can and those who cannot. Everyone who plays learns something vital and carnal about themselves, but for two people from very sad home lives Panic is only another layered metaphor for themselves.
Panic is suspenseful, pulse-pounding, and gripping. It’s the type of book that sweeps you up and carries you through without realizing that you have gone anywhere. It’s a landslide of a book; a cascade, a rushing river. I read this in two sittings and couldn’t put it down. There’s a beautiful blend of both characterization and dramatic narration and the reader has no idea what is coming next. It’s the best type of quick actioned suspense book and I can’t recommend it high enough.
5 out of 5 stars.
* Panic releases March 4, 2013. An e-arc was provided to me by the fine folks at Harpercollins via Edelweiss. Thank you for the chance to read it early.
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