My first read of Spring Break 2014 (although, to be fair, I read about 90% of it the week before spring break when Sam was sick and neither one of us was sleeping) was the brand new young-adult novel Panic by Lauren Oliver.
I actually stumbled across this book pretty randomly (I think it was one of the ones Kindle so kindly recommended for me), but I was drawn in by the Amazon “teaser…”
Disclaimer: I teach high school English, and sometimes I read Chick-Lit/ Young Adult fiction for
work fun. #noshame
I’d never read anything by Lauren Oliver before, but apparently she has quite a following in the YA fiction genre… Is anyone familiar with the Delirium trilogy? She is definitely a talented writer, and I appreciated this “fresh take” on today’s ever-popular dystopian/survivalist novel. (From what I’ve read in the reviews, this book is super different from Delirium and one of Oliver’s first set in contemporary America. I tend to prefer “realistic fiction,” so that was a positive for me, but maybe not for everyone.)
If I had to categorize it somehow, I would call Panic a cross between The Hunger Games and Pretty Little Liars (and, hopefully, by now you know me well enough to know that that is a big compliment)… The book was definitely more geared towards teenagers, and it had a decent amount of cheese to it; but, in general, it kept me turning pages (or, swiping, as the case may be) from the beginning to the end. I thought the concept for the book was interesting and the plot was well-developed. Told from the alternating perspectives of Heather and Dodge, I the novel did a nice job of capturing the authentic voices of “ordinary” teenagers while still tackling some difficult – but real – topics like fear, revenge, survival, greed, and even love. That said, I never actually felt totally invested in any of the characters or their conflicts enough to really think/care about it once it was over. (Some books leave me thinking for weeks after I’m done.)
I’m not at all surprised to hear that this book has already been picked up for a screen adaptation… Though some parts of the plot felt a little “far fetched” to me (like the fact that teenagers could actually organize and get away with this stuff and the random appearance of some tigers), it has all the elements to make a big Blockbuster. I will definitely see it.
Now, like I ask my kids to do whenever we finish a book in class, if I had to “score” this one on a scale of 1 – 10 (1 being the worst book you’ve ever read and 10 being the best)… It would get a solid 6… Although I wouldn’t call it a “favorite” (not by a long shot), this is a book that I feel comfortable recommending to my students (it was pretty clean – although violent and quite dark at times), or anyone looking for an easy but intriguing read. It is a book you could definitely read in a day or two at the pool this summer – it will make you think about the nature of fear and how far you would go for money, but it won’t keep you awake at night or leave much of a lasting impression. Just my two cents.
Have you read Panic or anything else by Lauren Oliver? I’d love to hear your thoughts/reviews in the comments!
*I hope to feature & review more books with you as I read them and am sharing what’s next on my list in hopes that you might join me in reading/discussing some time. In addition, I’d love any and all recommendations for titles or authors to add in the future…
Hidden by Catherine McKenzie – I’m about halfway through this one (my first Amazon Prime rental – pretty cool) and, though I don’t love the fact that the husband – who’s name is Jeff – is killed in the first chapter and found to be having an affair with a woman from work, the book is good so far. Typical, but good.
lol…OMG!: What Every Student Needs to Know about Online Reputation Management, Digital Citizenship, and Cyberbullying by Matt Ivester – I’m reading this one for a project I’m working on at school, but I’m actually looking forward to the subject matter, and the author’s voice seems like it will keep my attention pretty well.
Until next time,