Not so much after reading Panic, unfortunately.
So Panic is a dead-end town in the middle of nowhere. Most people just want to leave and as a way of passing the time between the end of high school and getting the hell out of Carp, teenagers have devised a game - Panic. Heather never wanted to compete in Panic, but she ends up entering anyway in order to rescue her sister from their neglectful mother. Dodge wants nothing more than to compete in Panic because he thinks it will bring him the revenge he is desperate for. But when it comes to Panic, everyone has something to play for.
So I went into this book with really high hopes. Something that sounds slightly Hunger-Games-y but written by Lauren Oliver? Sign me right up!
Unfortunately I never really got off on the right foot with Panic. It was really hard to get into and once I was into it, it moved too slowly. I kept waiting for it to grip me, but it never really did.
I really loved the premise and some of the tasks the competitors had to do were really imaginative. I felt that the book would have been better off in the hands of another writer, though. Gah! As a Lauren Oliver fan I feel like a complete splitter, but there it is. Her writing is lovely, but doesn’t lend itself to this plot. The plot didn’t do her writing any favours, or vice versa.
The characters were a bit of a mixed bag. Heather was okay, albeit a bit meh. I liked that she had some backbone, although some of her decisions were a bit random. Natalie was deeply unlikeable. Dodge was fairly obsessive, and not in an interesting way. The one I liked the most was Bishop - he was really sweet and his involvement in Panic was done for all the right reasons.
So one of the problems I had with Panic was Panic itself. It was basically a massive, summer-long game of Dumb Ways To Die. I get that people with no options will be desperate for money, but seriously? I don’t want to do the spoilery thing, but one of the tasks especially was just ... ridiculous. Like, I was fairly reckless as a teenager and did some really dumb things, but there’s no way real people would do what happens in Panic.
The thing is, I still adore Lauren Oliver. One duff book out of six isn’t a bad strike rate. I mean, let’s face it, I’m still going to buy her books. I just might download the three chapter sampler first.