Wednesday, August 14, 2013

2.5 stars: Panic by 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."

Expected publication: March 4th 2014 by HarperCollins. I received a digital ARC of this story.

With all that has been going on, it's been hard to concentrate and get into books, but this was the first one in a few weeks that I was able to get into enough to finish. No, sorry, that doesn't mean I loved it, but I really did want to know what the outcome would be.

First off, I have read on Goodreads that people think this is just another Hunger Games wannabe. No, it's not at all. Not even close. This story is realistic and there is no dystopia; just high school seniors in a small town who do dangerous stunts in order to win a lot of money. 

The plot was interesting enough, but I had issues with the way the book was written. It seemed that in order to help with the pacing and tension, Oliver added foreshadowing, which wasn't really foreshadowing, but was blunt spoilers about what was to come. It would have been better if instead of telling us, there could have been some subtle hints along the way or just cliffhangers at the end of chapters instead of spoilers. 

I try to be very careful about what I say when it comes to reviewing ARCs. Like I won't make any comments about grammar or spelling or things that will probably be edited out. If the problems I have with the book do get edited, then it means that Oliver has an amazing editor and has been getting by on that alone. She has been wildly successful! I couldn't understand why when reading this book. The writing just strikes me as amateurish. Time and time again, this would happen: "...hopeful, even-he, Dodge, would never forget." This was from Dodge's point of view and there's no way we could forget that, so why was it necessary to remind us? Sometimes full names were used too. Perhaps I'm nitpicking, but I just found it really annoying. 

The ending of the story seemed rushed and there was no good buildup to it. Everything got wrapped up in a pretty bow, but to me, the wrapped box was empty inside. It would have been a great ending had there been a connection between the beginning and end of the story--there was just nothing linking the two. 

It seemed like relationships or lack thereof were forced. There was little reason for strife between parties, even with the very contrived conflicts. 

This story isn't for the faint of heart; it's very dark and was difficult to read. I honestly didn't get much pleasure out of reading it since many characters aren't that likeable and nothing good was happening to anyone. 

The overall plot isn't that bad, but the writing isn't great.