I know, I know, I was supposed to read A Room With a View first. Well I have 2 chapters left, but I needed a break from it. You can only read in a British accent for so long before it becomes tiring. And Panic is only 270ish pages, which in YA page count means like a day and a half read for me. And let me say, after my disappointment with the Delirium series, I am blown away! I thoroughly enjoyed Panic, and will definitely re-read it.
The characters were all complex, interesting, and relateable. You’ve know all of these people at some point in your life, and though I never truly warmed up to Nat, you understand why she and Heather and friends and what they mean to each other. The thing that appealed to me the most was how real it all was. Obviously the high stakes of the challenges are a bit more dramatic than most circumstances of our society, you don’t have to stretch too far to see communities resorting to this (which is scary – It reminded me a bit of the short story The Lottery).
Another thing I loved about this book, especially compared to Delirium, was the love aspect. It was present, it was a driving force to many of the characters decisions, but it wasn’t the only thing they were thinking about, and it wasn’t just about their significant other. Heather, who constantly finds ways to prove to herself that she is unlovable, is driven first by the love of her sister, then her best friend Nat, and constantly by the boy she has always loved (who obviously loves her back); but ultimately, I think its the chance she’s given by Ann that allows her to open herself up and accept the love of her friends to help drive her toward the goal of Panic and to utilize the winnings for more than just running away. I’m a firm believer that life choices are driven by love in one way or another, but love is so much more complex then the lustful portrayals we often find in YA books, which is fun of course, but when it is used like Oliver did in Panic it becomes so much more and creates a mature, thought provoking, and realistic portrayal of how love affects the choices we make and how we see ourselves.
Basically, overall I thought it was a fantastic book. I’m glad it’s not a series, though I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing the characters again. It was interesting, there was a lot of action to keep your attention, the characters had to deal with a lot of things most people have to address when they are moving from teens to adults (but obviously under more extreme circumstances), and there was a really good overall message about believing in oneself and doing all you can to make the life you want for yourself and those who you care about around you.
Well done Oliver, you’ve redeemed yourself to me! So definitely pick this one up, you won’t regret it!