Carp is a small town in which nothing ever happens. To create excitement, the town has created Panic, a game for graduating seniors. Panic is meant to test your limits in everyway. It is dangerous, and at times deadly. The prize is 67,000 dollars. This year Heather has a lot to play for. Her mom is an alcoholic and addict and is a danger to her and her kid sister. If she can win the money, she can leave all of that behind. Heather makes an alliance with her best friend Nat, and Dodge, another graduating senior. While playing the game she learns more about her two friends and herself than she may have wanted to know. Can Heather win and have a chance at a better life? Can she even make it out alive?
I made the mistake of reading reviews before I read Panic and formed my own opinion. Despite the poor reviews, and the simplistic comparisons to The Hunger Games, I liked this book. The only similarity to The Hunger Games is that there is a game, and it is at times dangerous. I suppose that you could make the case that everyone has something to play for, but it ends there. Each player in Panic has to complete six tasks that are reminiscent of Fear Factor. I like that everyone has a very pressing reason to play, not just to win, and I like that players are judged on how they complete the task, not just that they did. The book was slightly predictable, but there were some unexpected twists to mix things up a bit. I liked the characters, and how they all have very different lives despite the fact that they have grown up in the same small town. Overall, I thought this was a solid book, not amazing, but good.