Author: Lauren Oliver
Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 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, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. 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.-Goodreads
Review: All I knew about this book was that it was about kids in a small town who do crazy stunts to win some money. It sounded fun and exciting. I was expecting a high school version of fraternity/sorority hazing activities but it was actually a coming of age story told in alternating narratives. Heather and Dodge both decide to participate/play Panic, but for very different reasons. I think the craziest thing about Panic is that it isn't really a game-several of the activities are life threatening and kids have died in previous years. Heather spontaneously joins the game when her boyfriend dumps her. Her motivations for playing change as her home life becomes very challenging. Dodge's older sister was paralyzed playing Panic years earlier and he is playing for revenge (although she seems happy and content with her life). I'm from a small town in upstate NY (nowhere near as poor or small as Carp) but I felt a kinship of sorts with the characters. Drinking by the water, cliff jumping, hanging out by the mall-these are all things we used to do in high school. I liked the alternating narratives and the writing style. The characters themselves were okay and the twist relating to a main character was easy to figure out early on, but this was still a fun read. I'll avoid spoilers but there was also a subplot involving lions (yes, you read that correctly, LIONS) that was so ridiculous, crazy and cheesy fun at the same time.