Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.
Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.
Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn’t know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.
For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.
If I’d not read Panic, I guess I’d never associate the word panic with hope, candor and love.
In the story, Heather, Nat, Dodge and Bishop had just graduated from high school. Each of them wanted something better, something that could help to improve their lives or the lives of their closest loved ones. They had no super powers. They were normal people, just like you and me. And because they’re still struggling to figure out what to do with their lives, they did things they weren’t really proud of. Their action seemed silly, raw and reckless, and when what they had to face became obnoxiously real, I feared for them. I didn’t know when I started to care for these characters (as the beginning of the story didn’t pull me in), but as I flipped to the last page, I felt like I didn’t want to depart and say my goodbye. I guess I could never imagine myself living their lives – they each carried so many secrets and burden – their reality seemed so harsh and bleak. But they all did what they could to keep moving forward, finding their next step, hoping perhaps that next step would bring them some ease.
If you asked me, I’d say I wouldn’t dare to attempt any of the challenges that Heather, Nat and Dodge played in the game called Panic. Because these challenges were meant to eliminate people, they weren’t easy to complete. I guess I had a really low risk tolerance level but in my opinion, games that involved speed, height, gun and fire weren’t exactly something I’d mess around.
I particularly liked the character development of Heather in the story. She had a somewhat bitter view about life but I wouldn’t say she had an unpleasant personality. Her life was tough, and so I could understand why she had a relatively low self-esteem. But what I really loved about her was the way she cared for her little sister – she was so protective and sweet that I felt like I just wanted to hug her. I wanted to tell her how great she was and that it was okay even when she didn’t exactly have everything figured out ahead of time.
The ending of the story was quite pleasant. Each character learned something precious through getting involved with the game and I liked that the story didn’t focus on punishment or retribution. As I said earlier, it wasn’t easy for me to say goodbye to the characters. The lives of these characters didn’t dramatically improve in the end but I liked that they each developed a better self-relationship as well as a much stronger bond of trust and humility with one another.