Shiirleyy's Bookshelf has migrated to Dear Shirley ! I will continue to post book reviews but there will also be a lot of personal and travel-related posts :)

Review: Panic by Lauren Oliver

24 Nov 2013

by Lauren Oliver 
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: March 4th 2014
Format: e-ARC

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.

As a Lauren Oliver fan, I knew I had to get my hands on her latest YA novel, Panic. To be honest, I didn’t think too much before starting this; I didn’t set exceptionally high expectations upon beginning the book, but I certainly hoped it would be as adventurous and well written as Delirium. I think I’ve said this one too many times this year for several books but I must say it again; I was very disappointed with Panic.

Heather wasn’t annoying, immature or unlikable but she certainly wasn’t memorable by any means. I admired her love and devotion towards her little sister, who she obviously cared for more than anyone or anything else in the world. I didn’t care for her at the start and all throughout the first half of the book, but when she risked her life in the game – all for her sister – she left a pretty good impression on me. I didn’t mind Bishop either; I liked how he was in the shadows, assisting Heather throughout the entire game.

However, the other characters (as well as Heather at times) were all...bland. Sometimes they were simply 'sad', or 'happy' ( I kid you not, those were pretty much the words used to describe the characters' moods').It was like, they couldn’t feel any other emotions, or a combination of different emotions but rather, could only be just ‘happy’ or ‘unhappy’ . It was difficult for me to sympathise with the characters despite their difficult upbringing and family situations because I personally felt the characters needed to be fleshed out more. This in particular applied to Nat and Dodge who were the dullest of them all.  

Panic read more like an MG book than YA, mostly because of the writing style. I loved the writing style of Delirium, and Pandemonium but this felt like a completely different author wrote it. (Though honestly, I probably shouldn't judge just yet since I haven't read her MG books.) Basically, the entire book was written with short and simple sentences, (and no, I wouldn’t say the sentences were succinct) with absolutely no depth at all. The words 'bad' and 'mean' were used repeatedly to describe people- and mind you, the characters weren't 10 or anything. I'm not sure whether my reading preferences have changed the past few months or my limited vocabulary has suddenly expanded, but this definitely felt like it lacked sophistication and depth.

The storyline was also very, VERY predictable. There was virtually nothing exciting that was revealed throughout the book. I'm not sure if Lauren Oliver purposely made certain parts easy to guess, but it sure as hell didn't take a genius to guess some things.

I can’t say I didn’t like this at all since I managed to finish it but it was very disappointing for a Lauren Oliver book. However, it does seem a large proportion of GR readers liked it, so I suppose you should read it for yourself :)

 A massive thank you to HarperCollins & Edelweiss for providing a copy of  Panic for review! 


  1. must say wasn't expecting a disappointing review of this book especially since the synopsis makes it sound like another hunger games play-off

    Aparajita @Le' Grande Codex

    1. This is quite different from The Hunger Games IMO, but I have to agree, the synopsis does sound a little like THG. Still, THG is so much better :DD

  2. I thought it was going to be a contemporary Hunger Games as well, the synopsis made it sound so intriguing. It sounds like the author put in almost no effort into writing this - dull characters, predictable plot etc. Wonderfully honest review Shirley, definitely don't think I'll be reading this! :(

    Joy @ Thoughts By J

    1. Haha, I think I'm the only one who didn't immediately think of THG after reading the synopsis! Awww thanks Joy<3 But I think I'm the black sheep here since most of GR readers really enjoyed this!

  3. Oh yes, we are definitely on the same page when it comes to this book! I've read it not so long ago and I already forgot many things about it.. It's definitely not a memorable story and I didn't care for the characters either. Great review!

    1. OMG REALLY?!?! YAYYY! *stalks your review*


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