Reading the blurb of this book made it seem like ANOTHER hunger games type novel – not something I really wanted to read. But nevertheless I picked it up an gave it a go. It’s a shame I, along with others, thought of this book like this; it really deserves to be given a chance because it did not disappoint me (although I didn’t really have any expectations to beat after the shocking read that was Bunker).
Panic is set in a dying town in America (oh how clichéd), with graduating teenagers putting their lives on the line to play a game called panic because there is nothing else to do (the clichés keep on rolling). Really everyone wants to get out, and the only way they can is with money. Panic is the way to win this money, $50,000 to be precise. Even though I never really think about it, there are probably a lot of towns like fictional Carp, and I like how Oliver captures to hopelessness and desperation of living in these towns – behind the sob-stories.
I liked how Oliver made sure the desperation comes through in every single character, not just the contestants of the game; all the characters at sometime in the book are selfish, unlikeable and self-centred, but it made them human and believable. None had deep motives but this added to the book and the point Oliver wanted to make – that they’re just desperate to get out.
Oliver does a great job writing the challenges that are part of the game, and I did enjoy them; who knew stealing guns from a drunk guy suspenseful and exciting? I also really like how she connects final eliminations to show how desperate teenagers can be and how far such young minds will go to get out.
Sadly, adding onto the pile of clichés mentioned before is the way Heather was introduced, and her reason for playing panic (after being cheated on) and the ending was a let down for me with a forced sense of closure.
But don’t get me wrong, I think the YA genre made the clichés work, the only aspect I was overly disappointed with was the ending but otherwise it was a very nice read.
A lot of people have read Oliver’s Panic, have you?