Its undeniable that Lauren Oliver is a fantastic writer, if you’ve read the Delirium series you will understand this. It’s extremely difficult not to fall into the universe Oliver creates and want to live there forever. I can’t help but fall in love with the characters she portrays. It happened with the Delirium trilogy and it happened with Panic.
Has anyone else noticed how pretty much every new young adult fiction novel is compared to The Hunger Games? Teen Now Magazine follows this expectation. The concept of the The Hunger Games is terrifying, yes, however due the immense popularity that element of fear has been watered down, actual children are being forced into becoming murderers yet everyone seems to focus the love triangle between Katniss, Peeta and Gale. I won’t go into that subject, because to be frank I could go on for days and don’t get me wrong, The Hunger Games is one of my favourite trilogies. I didn’t spend New Years Eve ignoring my relatives for nothing. (Yes, I spent 2011/2012 New Years reading The Hunger Games, don’t judge me.)
In my opinion, Panic does not deserve to be compared with the Hunger Games. Not because it’s terrible, but because I wouldn’t necessarily put the two into the same category. Panic is darker, grittier and more tense. I almost didn’t want to turn the page in fear of something terrible occurring, because although it took me a while to warm to Heather and Doge I did generally want them to succeed. Split into two narratives, Oliver explores the lives of Heather and Dodge who both compete in the annual (and illegal) senior challenge, Panic, to try and win the grand prize which is usually over $50,000. However, to win this prize one must complete various challenges, some of which include crossing a high way blind folded, jumping over a cliff edge and staying in a haunted house over night. The risk of death is woven into each challenge, making the novel more tense. But why would these kids, (alright they are my age and if I was called a child I would probably be outraged but you see my point) risk their lives? Yes, $50000 would be wonderful, but the fact it, as we see with out two protagonists, it’s not always about the money and if it is – it’s ultimately about trying to achieve something better than their small town lives.
The novel begins with Heather, who finds herself impulsively joining Panic after witnessing her boyfriend with another girl. Heather’s story, however, is not about a cheating boyfriend. It becomes apparent that Heather is responsible for looking after her younger sister, Lily. Their Mother is obviously not the greatest parent, unsurprisingly, it was easy to feel hatred and disrespect towards the character. However, it appears obvious that Heather is now in Panic for the cash, to provide for Lily and herself. Dodge, however, joined Panic to get revenge for his sister’s accident, which left her in a wheel chair. Dodge hoped that the last challenge would include him and Ray, giving him the perfect opportunity to hurt Ray. Winning, would allow Dodge to pay for his sister’s rehab. Although it took me longer to warm to Dodge’s character (the need for revenge and his constant anger did get a little irritating), I found myself desperately wanting him to do the right thing. Whether he does or not, you’ll have to read to find out.
Overall, Panic is a fantastic novel. If you’re into gritty novels that have you wanting more as you metaphorically hide behind a cushion then this is definitely for you.
I apologise that I have been absent and the fact this is my only proper blog post for January, but I made the mistake of taking the Extended Project this year, so my focus was on writing a 5000 dissertation on the Suffragettes. Mock exams were a thing that happened that restricted my writing time. I may or may not have written this instead of doing History work – so don’t say ignore you.
I’m joking, but now I’m leaving.
(Ps, if anyone wants to recommend anything for me to read that that would be excellent! Following me on the social media’s would also be cool)