Book Report: Panic

Today’s a big day in the world of YA fiction. Why you ask? Well one of the most beloved authors in the genre, Lauren Oliver, has released her first standalone book since her debut novel.

Panic Book Cover

What’s The Buzz?: Lauren Oliver is probably one of the best-known names in YA fiction these days, right up there with the likes of Veronica Roth and Suzanne Collins. After the conclusion of her dystopian trilogy Delirium last year, Oliver has crafted a new, standalone book entirely set in reality that channels Fear Factor, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, and The Hunger Games in one fell swoop.

What’s The Plot?: The title of the book is quite literally the name of the game. Panic is a summer-long event that graduated seniors participate in. They’re given a series of gruelling, terrifying tasks – if they don’t panic, they keep playing. The goal is to make it to the end, where the victor will take home a hefty pot of money that’s been collected during the year. The story is told from the perspective of two different characters, both feeling trapped by circumstance and the small town they live in. Heather, a trailer park denizen with a predictably trashy mom, enters the game on a heartbroken whim, but the personal stakes are increasingly raised as she fights to win. Dodge meanwhile, doesn’t care about the money. He’s in it to avenge what happened to his older sister when she played Panic a few years earlier. When Dodge and Heather’s paths cross, they form an unlikely and uneasy alliance to try and propel themselves further. The question is – who will panic? And how far will they go to get what they want?

You mentioned a few books above…how is this book like them?: On the surface, I can see a lot of people comparing this book to The Hunger Games but in fact the books are extremely different. Panic is a voluntary, dare-oriented game that students play – they can drop out or chicken out at any point, and many of them do. There is a similar element in that it’s sort of a fight to the ‘death’, but in Panic’s case that’s mostly a proverbial element (although the risk of death is high, to be fair). The book actually more closely resembled the Triwizard Tournament in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, with tasks being revealed through cryptic hints and the competitors uneasily heading into each life-threatening challenge. A lot of people cite that book as their favourite in the Harry Potter series; this is sort of a nifty, reality-based look at how they would play out sans magic.

Tell me more about Lauren Oliver – what’s she like?: Of all those hot YA trilogies of the last few years, I have to say that Oliver is probably my favourite writer of the bunch. Her style is effortless, her plotlines pull you in (I devoured this book in under 3 days), her ability to juggle a bunch of balls at once is impressive, and she has a great way of snatching your heart – through thrills, romance and otherwise. Her Groundhog Day-esque debut novel Before I Fall has earned high praise and for good reason; it manages to transform an unsympathetic protagonist and create a compelling plot from start to finish. If you want someone with great literary style (indeed Oliver’s first adult book will be released soon) but the riveting pacing that’s most often found in YA fiction, look no further.

Why should I read this book?: Hopefully I’ve given you plenty of ideas in this review, but here’s a few more. The fictional small town of Carp is a major factor in the story, and is very well done. The plot isn’t just about the two core characters, but about Carp and its jumble of residents, including Heather and Dodge’s friends and family members. The book swirls together coming-of-age plot points with family drama and teenage romance, all against the dramatic backdrop of an intense, pulse-pounding game that also manages to root itself in reality. It’s a unique blend and honestly a refreshing change of pace from most dystopian-oriented books out there these days.

If you’d like to learn a bit more about Panic, feel free to click here. And if you’re interested in reading this riveting tale, may I suggest entering in my giveaway to win a copy? Here’s how:

1) Tell me in the comments below by March 21st, 2014 – why would you like to read Panic?

2) Entries are limited to one per person / per email address / per household (or more if you score bonus entries). A random draw will be conducted on or around March 22nd, 2014 to select the winners, who will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen in their place.

3) Entries are limited to Canadians that have reached the age of majority in their province. Quebec is not eligible for this promotion.

4) Bonus Entries: Option 1, like HarperCollins Canada on Facebook and leave a comment on why you’d love to read Panic. You don’t have to mention the CGG, but you DO have to provide me a link to your Facebook post in the comments below so I can give you a bonus entry.

Option 2, sign up for the 50 Book Pledge and add this book to your ‘To Be Read’ shelf to earn yourself another entry – just provide me a link back to your list so I can credit you! This site is awesome by the by – you can keep visual tabs on all of the books you’ve read or want to read as the year goes on.

***IMPORTANT*** When taking advantage of the bonus entries, please do so by leaving your base entry + each of your bonus entries in separate comments. So for example, one comment on why you want to read Panic, one for a link to your FB comment, one for a link to your 50 Book Pledge list.

43 Responses to “Book Report: Panic”
  1. Joan G says:

    I want to read Panic – it sounds like an intriguing novel.

  2. Annie Demill says:

    Well I loved reading Hunger Games and Harry Potter so I think I would enjoy this book also. I like that it’s not just about the two main characters, but also about the residents of the town.

  3. Annie Demill says:

    Liked Harper Collins on facebook already, left a comment :

  4. Annie Demill says:

    added, Panic, to my ‘to be read’ shelf on 50BookPledge

  5. Dreena says:

    This books sounds very good and would be an enjoyable read for me.

  6. cookie3 says:

    I’d love to read this book because you’ve made it sound so interesting.

  7. Erin McSweeney says:

    This sounds like a very exciting read, that I would really enjoy

  8. Susan says:

    I would love to read this book. I like to read new authors, and since I loved Harry Potter, I’m sure I would love this book. Sounds intriguing!

  9. Susan says:

    Added to my “to read” area in the 50 Book Pledge.

  10. Susan says:

    Commented on Harper Collins Canada facebook page.

  11. Lisa S says:

    I love to read new authors and this sounds like exactly the kind of book I would love. 🙂

  12. Lisa S says:

    HarperCollins Canada:

  13. linnett says:

    this one will be going on my to read list, thanks

  14. Susan T. says:

    The reviews for this book are great and I love Lauren Oliver!

  15. Susan T. says:

    I like Harper Collins on Facebook as Susan Terendy. My comment:

  16. Susan T. says:

    I’ve added Panic to my 50 book pledge TBR shelf:

  17. I’d love to read this because I’ve just discovered Lauren Oliver. I’ve just finished Delirium and have started on Pandemonium. I really enjoy dystopian books. I always assume (most likely incorrectly) that I’d be one of the few to survive a zombie apocalypse or end-of-the-world scenario.

  18. Holly says:

    I like your book recommendations. It sounds interesting.

  19. Audrey Skinner says:

    This book sounds captivating. Would love to read it.

  20. i love a book that has a good reccomendation to read and excitement love to read it !

  21. Pam says:

    I think my daughter would like to read this one

  22. Grace says:

    This book sounds so intriguing!

  23. retromusic says:

    I love the idea of a YA book that isn’t set in a dystopian future, in addition to sounding intriguing, the concept is quite refeshing

  24. GARRY S says:


  25. mousecat says:

    This book sounds like the kind I love to read!

  26. Crystal Kordalchuk says:

    Seems like this novel would be a white-knuckled read. I love those!!!

  27. Holly Auger says:

    looks interesting

  28. beewbedard says:

    it really looks like a great read

  29. beewbedard says:
  30. Anne Derkat says:

    I enhoy read

  31. intensev5 says:

    I would love a new book to read
    Rafflecopter name: Enelram

  32. photomum says:

    The storyline sounds interesting,and a little different from the run of the mill romance books.I would enjoy reading this book.

  33. Jessica Lord says:

    i need a new book and this one sounds very interesting

  34. CLC says:

    This sounds fast-paced and adventurous and that is what I like.

  35. I loved Lauren Oliver’s other books and have been anxiously anticipating reading this one. She’s never let me down! All her books are amazing.

  36. lucy says:

    I would love to read this book.

  37. Andrea says:

    I’d like to read Panic because this sounds exciting!

  38. Jacquie Hess says:

    It reminds me of Hunger Games which I loved.

  39. Megan says:

    It seems like a really interesting book which is just what I need to start reading again!

  40. I love these type of YA novels and i can pass it down to my niece when done.

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