Oliver, Lauren. Panic. New York, HarperCollins, 2014. 978-0-06-201455-9. 408p. $17.99 Gr. 9+.
The underground game of Panic surges through the small town of Carp, New York like electricity, pushing its players to near hysteria….forcing them to confront their biggest fears. It changes everyone, affects their lives one by one. Heather Nill and Dodge Mason are just two of the players in the game and each are playing Panic for different reasons. Heather is the daughter of an alcoholic, drug addicted partier who initially wants to play so she can prove to herself that she’s not a loser, but ends up playing to provide for herself and her 12 year old little sister. Dodge is solely playing for revenge. Since his older sister was paralyzed two year earlier when she was one of the last two players left in the game, his only motivation is to hurt the family who destroyed his sister’s dreams.
Lauren Oliver effectively creates empathy for each character. Readers will root for both Heather and Dodge to be the lone survivor knowing that only one person can win. The supporting cast is rich with personality, filled with love and their own unique lives. The alternating chapters between Heather and Dodge allow both male and female readers to enjoy the high intensity story.
Fantasy Laura Ward, Fox Chapel Area High School