I LOVED this book, so much so, I finished it in one night, it was *that* good. It is dark and gritty, the main characters come from some pretty disturbing family situations...think Eminem's mom in Eight Mile. And the idea that these teens are so desperate to get away from their home lives that they are willing to compete in some seriously dangerous and f'd up games (sorry their is really no other word to describe the panic games).
I really loved the alternating voices of Dodge and Heather...and how Oliver really keeps you guessing at where everyone will end up. The secondary characters are also amazing...you both and love and hate them at different points...which is much closer to real life. Amazon picked another great one for their best of the month.
An Amazon Best Book of the Month, March 2014: Imagine a game that required you to walk, on a dark rainy night, across a narrow plank 50 feet in the air between two water towers. What could be worth that or any of the other terrifying tests of reckless courage in the game of Panic? For Dodge and Heather, graduating high school seniors of Carp, population 12,000, winning means a $67,000 chance at freedom from their claustrophobic town. In Panic, Lauren Oliver's characters are imbued with the emotional intricacy of teenagers hungry for both connection and new beginnings, some hiding secrets that blunt even the most frightening challenge the game can impose. Although there can only be one winner, a competition based on fear shapes powerful new relationships, understanding, and even forgiveness. --Seira Wilson