Panic

Overview

From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver comes an extraordinary novel of fear, friendship, courage, and hope that Kirkus Reviews says "will have readers up until the wee hours," School Library Journal raves is "fast-paced and captivating," and E. Lockhart, author of We Were Liars, calls "a thrill a minute."

Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a poor town of twelve thousand people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do....

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Panic

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Overview

From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver comes an extraordinary novel of fear, friendship, courage, and hope that Kirkus Reviews says "will have readers up until the wee hours," School Library Journal raves is "fast-paced and captivating," and E. Lockhart, author of We Were Liars, calls "a thrill a minute."

Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a poor town of twelve thousand people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do. Heather never thought she would compete in panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors. She'd never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game; he's sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he's not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for. For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
A Barnes & Noble Best Book of 2014

In Oliver’s first standalone teen title since 2010’s Before I Fall, the dead-end town of Carp, NY, is taken over by Panic, a high-stakes game played yearly by graduating seniors that takes place both in secret and in plain sight. Heather and Dodge each have their own reason for needing to win Panic, but their resolve will be brutally tested over the course of one increasingly dangerous summer. Oliver’s is one of the most indelible voices in teen lit, and her deeply specific, precisely observed prose will transport you to her heat-blasted fictional town. See all of the Best Teen Books of 2014.

Jay Asher
Praise for Before I Fall:“This story races forward, twisting in a new direction every few pages, its characters spinning my emotions from affection to frustration, anger to compassion. You’ll have no choice but to tear through this book!”
Booklist
“Oliver’s novel is a wholly believable and compulsively readable tale of friendship, loyalty, survival, and courage.”
ALA Booklist
Praise for Requiem:“Is there a theme more perfect for YA readers than choosing what you want from life rather than being told?”
Jay Asher
Praise for Before I Fall:“This story races forward, twisting in a new direction every few pages, its characters spinning my emotions from affection to frustration, anger to compassion. You’ll have no choice but to tear through this book!”
Carolyn Mackler
Praise for Before I Fall:“Before I Fall is smart, complex, and heartbreakingly beautiful. Lauren Oliver has written an extraordinary debut novel about what it means to live—and die.”
The Horn Book
Praise for Delirium:“In a thick climate of fear, Oliver spins out a suspenseful story of awakening and resistance with true love at its core.”
New York Journal of Books
Praise for Delirium:“Oliver’s deeply emotional and incredibly well-honed prose commands the readers’ attention and captures their hearts. With a pulse-pounding tempo and unforeseen twists and turns, Lauren Oliver has opened the door on a fantastic new series; the second book can’t come soon enough.”
Seventeen.com
Praise for PANDEMONIUM:“If...you crave the heart-stopping action of the arena from The Hunger Games combined with a destined-to-be-doomed love story then this sequel is perfect for you!”
Publishers Weekly
12/16/2013
Heather and Dodge live in Carp, N.Y., a down-on-its-heels town where graduating seniors can participate in a secret annual game called Panic. Everyone contributes to the pot, with winner take all when the game begins. Players have died in the past, and Dodge’s older sister was paralyzed two years earlier; this year’s prize is $67,000. This is a purported return to realistic fiction for Oliver following her popular Delirium books, and it’s realistic in the way that Before I Fall was: in her setting and characters, if not the situations they face. The stakes of Panic are extraordinarily high; an early challenge has competitors crossing between two water towers on a narrow plank, and things only escalate. Oliver runs no risk of idealizing small-town life; Carp is stifling and impoverished, and her descriptions can be borderline disdainful (one character’s mother has a “face like a pulpy fruit”; a gas station attendant’s hair is “slicked to one side, like weeds strapped to his forehead”). Oliver brings a high-concept, high-stakes conceit to Main Street USA, and the result is as uncomfortable as it is thrilling. Ages 14–up. Agent: Stephen Barbara, Foundry Literary + Media. (Mar.)
VOYA, February 2014 (Vol. 36, No. 6) - Janice M. Del Negro
Carp, New York, a “poor town of twelve thousand people in the middle of nowhere,” has a long-standing tradition: Panic. Every summer, graduated high school seniors play the six-event survival contest, either as gamers or observers. There is only one winner and, after the judges get their cut, the winner gets the pot. This year the pot is $67,000. In this dead-end town, playing the game is the only way out. Progressively more dangerous contests eliminate all but the final three players: Heather, determined to shield her younger sister from their substance-abusing mother; Dodge, coldly planning revenge on the family of a previous Panic winner; and Ray, Dodge’s unknowing target, focused only on winning. Oliver, author of Before I Fall (HarperCollins, 2010/Voya April 2010) and the Delirium trilogy, sets the tone for the economic and emotional realities of her characters: “Now everything was over and done. It occurred to her that this was her life: vast and empty, like a coin dropping down a bottomless well.” The third-person narrative alternates between Heather and Dodge. Character development is minimal but the sharply arcing plot moves the action forward, the tension of one contest catapulting readers to the next. The swift pace serves the broad sweep of the novel and glosses over any idiosyncrasies in plot or motive. Shifting alliances within the game and the conflicting emotions of the players intensify the heady rush of tempting fate. Readers seeking the known thrill of a familiar roller coaster will be happy with this ride. Reviewer: Janice M. Del Negro; Ages 12 to 18.
School Library Journal
03/01/2014
Gr 9 Up—There's not much to do in tiny Carp, New York, so a group of teenagers take it upon themselves to create their own excitement through Panic, a risky game with potentially deadly sets of challenges. Panic is all about facing fears, and this year's winner will take home a pot of $67,000. Both Heather and Dodge need to win for personal reasons, and they decide to form an alliance, one that will be threatened repeatedly throughout the game. The large cast of characters slowly reveals secrets, schemes, and fears that complicate the competition and its outcome as they participate in increasingly dangerous trials. Oliver maintains a high level of tension throughout, starting right in the middle of the action and relentlessly building momentum. The desperate and broken characters are willing to do just about anything to win, making it impossible to guess how the story will unfold. A mix of fear and determination permeate the writing, often manifesting in clipped, no-nonsense tones and a straightforward approach to unimaginable situations. The bleak setting, tenacious characters, and anxiety-filled atmosphere will draw readers right into this unique story. Oliver's powerful return to a contemporary realistic setting will find wide a readership with this fast-paced and captivating book.—Amanda MacGregor, formerly at Apollo High School Library, St. Cloud, MN
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2014-01-04
Oliver makes a white-knuckle return to realism that will have readers up until the wee hours. They'll be desperate to learn who will win—and even more importantly, who will survive—Panic, a secret game that pits player against player in mental and physical challenges designed to push them to the breaking point. Heather Nill never planned to play, but with a broken heart and nothing to lose, once she's in, nothing is going to keep her from walking away with the $67,000 prize. Desperate to get out of Carp, N.Y., and determined to protect her sister Lily, Heather puts her life on the line time and again for a shot at a brighter future. Dodge Mason is playing for revenge, and he knows exactly how he is going to get it. After years of planning, nothing, not even the promise of new love, is going to stand in his way. Dodge is going to use the game to right an unforgiveable wrong, even if it kills him. Set in a town so run-down the grit is practically palpable, the book makes suspension of disbelief easy. Readers will understand how the deliberately built characters would and could do just about anything for a shot at getting out. The only thing more terrifying than the game itself is not getting the chance to play it. (Thriller. 14 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062014566
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/10/2015
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 189,767
  • Age range: 14 years
  • Product dimensions: 5.31 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Meet the Author

Lauren Oliver

Lauren Oliver is the author of the YA novels Before I Fall and Panic, and the Delirium trilogy: Delirium, Pandemonium, and Requiem, which have been translated into more than thirty languages and are New York Times and international bestselling novels. She is also the author of two novels for middle grade readers, The Spindlers and Liesl & Po, which was a 2012 E. B. White Read Aloud Award nominee. Lauren's novel Panic has been optioned for film by Universal Studios. A graduate of the University of Chicago and NYU's MFA program, Lauren Oliver is also the cofounder of the boutique literary development company Paper Lantern Lit.

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