Thursday, 7 August 2014
Panic by Lauren Oliver
Synopsis: In the small town of Carp, a game is played every year by the graduated seniors because it's summer and there is nothing else better to do. Heather has watched the dangerous game, Panic, most years but never thought she'd enter until she finds something to play for. Dodge, however, always wanted to play Panic, a quest he wishes to fulfil by making his way entirely through the game - whatever the cost. The game will form new alliances, new rivalries and create and destroy secrets. Everyone is playing the game for a reason, they just cannot afford to panic.
When I finished PANIC and sat down to write down a few thoughts on the book so I could create some kind of post that looked like a review, I came to a realisation.
I started by writing about its comparison to other Lauren Oliver books I have read. For me, this book didn't seem to slog on and on like I found some of Oliver's books doing. Neither did I feel like there was way too much poetic prose that sometimes felt showed more her brilliant writing ability rather than adding to the narrative. I felt I got more into this book than her other ones and perhaps hooked quicker on the narrative in comparison to her other books.
Then, I started to think about my reaction after reading and my reaction to finding out the premise of the novel. I went to a Lauren Oliver signing early last year when she was in the middle of writing PANIC. She described it as 'teenagers taking part in a deadly game'. As Hunger Games was at the height of its popularity at this point, the whole idea reminded me of the dangerous Hunger Games, especially as Lauren Oliver's previous books I've read have steered more towards dystopian than contemporary.
This is when the realisation dawned on me that apart from those sentiments, I did not really have much else to say about this book. I liked this book, but I didn't love it and I didn't dislike it. In a word, it was 'okay'. The more I thought about it, the less I had to add to my thoughts on this book. It stood out for me because it was something different, an edgy contemporary not like other books seen out there, however, not a book that I would remember time and time again. The characters are well-developed and unique mostly due to the length of the book allowing that to happen, however, it did make the main narrative - the game, Panic - draw out, sometimes a little bit too much. I liked the writing and I liked how Oliver approached it following two very different teenagers, Dodge and Heather, who also have far more similarities than meets the eye.
I did enjoy this book, I did like the edginess and the uniqueness of the narrative. However, it was predictable and not the more memorable or be a book I will keep coming back to. PANIC is a great novel and in the game itself to deal with some of the social issues teenagers deal with on a daily basis and it was engaging and slightly addictive to read as I wanted to see how the game panned out. But, although it was nice to see Oliver write a more contemporary novel, it did have some flaws.
I give it a 3.5 out of 5