caren reads.


Panic - Lauren Oliver After Requiem, my thoughts on reading another of Lauren Oliver's books were pretty much this:But of course, as soon as a review copy came available, I jumped at the chance to get it. How could I not? Because while I was severely disappointed in the ending to one of my favorite series, I still know the chick can write. I know she can tell a compelling story. I know she can give me good characters.So I caved.I think part of what helped with that is that Panic isn't a series. It's a single, standalone novel with one story, one ending, and zero chance for a three-year-long relationship that ends in a messy breakup. And if you're wondering if this one disappointed me like the last one, the answer is no, it didn't. I was pleasantly surprised.Each summer in Carp, New York, starts the same way: teenagers with nothing better to do join forces to compete in Panic, a game that tests your limits. That pushes you toward facing your fears...or caving in to them. Nobody knows how long it’s been going on, just that it does. Every year; like clockwork. It's not safe and it's not easy, but in a small town where money is tight and unemployment is rampant, the prize of over fifty-thousand dollars is too enticing for some to pass up. With as many as forty players and two judges, they all know one thing: there will only be one person left standing in the end.Every high school senior in Carp is eligible to play—as long as they’re paying into the pot. Only a dollar a day to enter what could be the best—or worst—thing to ever happen to you.And it all begins with the Jump. The first challenge in a summer filled with them, where each person who plans to compete announces themselves by climbing to the top of a rock and jumping off. It's more of a tradition than anything else, and Heather Nill was only planning to watch while her best friend, Natalie, got in on the action.But a nasty breakup with a douchey boyfriend pushes her toward that rock and right into the game.Unlike Heather, Dodge Mason has been planning to play Panic for a while. And planning to win, too. He doesn't have his sights set on the money, though. Nope. Dodge's main mission is this: revenge.With two completely different purposes and friends that start to overlap, this book takes you through both Heather’s and Dodge’s summer, along with Heather’s friends, Natalie and Bishop. Where all the teenagers in Carp’s lives all trace back to one thing:Panic.I'm not going to go into much more detail than that because I want to try to keep this as spoiler free as possible, but I will tell you this: what I said before still holds true. Girlfriend can write; she can tell a kickass story, and she can suck me in from page one and keep me engaged until the very end. She hasn't lost that, even after living in the same world of characters for years. This was a fresh look at a more realistic world where shit happens, love helps, jealousy burns and revenge is a temptation even for the best of people. There's bravery and love and betrayal and spiders for goodness sakes, and really, if you want to read an engaging tale with equally fascinating characters and a satisfying ending, you'd be silly to pass this one up.** ARC provided via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review

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