Well I'm going to start this review off by just putting it out there- I didn't like this book. Not only did I not like it, but I am forever going to stay away from other Lauren Oliver books. This is not my first Lauren Oliver read either. I read Delirium a while back and I loved it (I gave it 5 stars), but then when I read the second in the series Pandemonium, I was extremely disappointed. I gave that book two stars and refused to read the last book in that series. So when Panic was picked for my IRL YA book club I was a little hesitant, but willing to give the author another chance.
Sadly, Panic was not any good at all. I didn't HATE the book, but I didn't care for it either. It was a case of a great idea, but with terrible execution. From the beginning of the novel it was filled with so many problems. The world building (what little there was of it) was absolutely horrendous. Nothing about the game Panic made sense and there were so many holes in the how's and why's of the game. That removed any tension there could have been and therefore made the book completely pointless to me. I just don't know why the cops were so inept at putting a stop to the game. Or why all these teens were doing these challenges (even risking death) for so little money. I get they are poor, but come on if you are going to fight to the death then make it worth it! I wanted the stakes and the prizes to be higher.
Not only was the world building bad, but the game Panic itself was bad. I was expecting Panic to be something full of suspense, adventure, and bravery. WRONG. All of the challenges were lame, lame, and lame. I was really looking forward to some unique game challenges, but nothing about it was new or interesting. Even the main characters in the book weren't intriguing. Heather, Dodge, Nat, and Bishop were all cookie cutter stereotypes and boring as hell. All of them were flat, dull, dumb as a box of rocks, and basic.
It took me about halfway through the book to even be slightly entertained in any way. The last half was meh whereas the first half was just awful. And even then I didn't like it at all. I was really hoping that maybe the end would have a big showdown with The Joust, but no. It was also lacking in originality and suspense. I didn't like how the book ended either. CORNY.
Overall I can't really say much that was positive about Panic. The only small thing was that I expected in the beginning that the two main characters (Heather and Dodge) who share the POV would get together romantically and they didn't. I was happily surprised about that. They both had other love interests and I was thankful for it. Other than that, everything else was predictable and lame. Maybe it's just not for me, I don't know, but I am going to have to pass on all other Lauren Oliver books in the future.
I recommend Panic for no one. Sorry, I can't recommend a book I really didn't like to anybody.