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Annotation: In the poor town of Carp, New York, a group of teens enters a high-stakes game that involves a series of secretive, possibly deadly challenges throughout the summer, with the winner receiving more than $50,000.
Catalog Number: #76013
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright Date: 2014
Edition Date: 2014
Pages: 408 pages
Availability: Special Order Only - Contact Customer Service at +1 800 637-6581 or +1 217 243-5451
ISBN: Publisher: 0-06-201455-2 Perma-Bound: 0-605-73778-9
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-06-201455-9 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-73778-5
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2013008472
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Oliver brings the survivalist competition of the Hunger Games series to present day New York State, where newly graduated seniors can take part in an annual game called Panic. In a small town where factory closures laid off 40 percent of the population, students are understandably concerned about financial security, and Panic awards the ultimate winner a sizable cash jackpot gathered from mandatory contributions from all high-school students. Participants are judged on physically and mentally challenging dares that culminate in a game of chicken called The Joust. The game's genesis, organizers, and judges are carefully kept secrets, and participants work hard to keep the police in the dark, as dangerous stunts have resulted in deaths in years past. Told in alternating chapters by Heather and Dodge, two players with siblings to protect and avenge, Oliver's novel is a wholly believable and compulsively readable tale of friendship, loyalty, survival, and courage. Although loose ends are tied together a little too neatly, the depressing yet realistic picture of new high-school graduates facing a bleak future balances unlikely heroism and happy endings.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: The Delirium trilogy books are New York Times and international best-sellers. Expect demand.
Horn Book
In a small upstate New York town, graduating seniors take part in the officially unsanctioned game of Panic. Heather, the daughter of an addict, joins the competition on a whim; Dodge enters determined to win revenge. Heather and Dodge are well-rounded characters who are preparing for a less-than-perfect future. A work of realistic fiction with sharp corners, dark places, and considerable humanity.
Publishers Weekly
Heather and Dodge live in Carp, N.Y., a down-on-its-heels town where graduating seniors can participate in a secret annual game called Panic. Everyone contributes to the pot, with winner take all when the game begins. Players have died in the past, and Dodge-s older sister was paralyzed two years earlier; this year-s prize is $67,000. This is a purported return to realistic fiction for Oliver following her popular Delirium books, and it-s realistic in the way that Before I Fall was: in her setting and characters, if not the situations they face. The stakes of Panic are extraordinarily high; an early challenge has competitors crossing between two water towers on a narrow plank, and things only escalate. Oliver runs no risk of idealizing small-town life; Carp is stifling and impoverished, and her descriptions can be borderline disdainful (one character-s mother has a -face like a pulpy fruit-; a gas station attendant-s hair is -slicked to one side, like weeds strapped to his forehead-). Oliver brings a high-concept, high-stakes conceit to Main Street USA, and the result is as uncomfortable as it is thrilling. Ages 14-up. Agent: Stephen Barbara, Foundry Literary + Media. (Mar.)

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up&12; There's not much to do in tiny Carp, New York, so a group of teenagers take it upon themselves to create their own excitement through Panic, a risky game with potentially deadly sets of challenges. Panic is all about facing fears, and this year's winner will take home a pot of $67,000. Both Heather and Dodge need to win for personal reasons, and they decide to form an alliance, one that will be threatened repeatedly throughout the game. The large cast of characters slowly reveals secrets, schemes, and fears that complicate the competition and its outcome as they participate in increasingly dangerous trials. Oliver maintains a high level of tension throughout, starting right in the middle of the action and relentlessly building momentum. The desperate and broken characters are willing to do just about anything to win, making it impossible to guess how the story will unfold. A mix of fear and determination permeate the writing, often manifesting in clipped, no-nonsense tones and a straightforward approach to unimaginable situations. The bleak setting, tenacious characters, and anxiety-filled atmosphere will draw readers right into this unique story. Oliver's powerful return to a contemporary realistic setting will find wide a readership with this fast-paced and captivating book.&12; Amanda MacGregor, formerly at Apollo High School Library, St. Cloud, MN
Voice of Youth Advocates
Carp, New York, a "poor town of twelve thousand people in the middle of nowhere," has a long-standing tradition: Panic. Every summer, graduated high school seniors play the six-event survival contest, either as gamers or observers. There is only one winner and, after the judges get their cut, the winner gets the pot. This year the pot is $67,000. In this dead-end town, playing the game is the only way out. Progressively more dangerous contests eliminate all but the final three players: Heather, determined to shield her younger sister from their substance-abusing mother; Dodge, coldly planning revenge on the family of a previous Panic winner; and Ray, Dodge's unknowing target, focused only on winning.Oliver, author of Before I Fall (HarperCollins, 2010/VOYA April 2010) and the Delirium trilogy, sets the tone for the economic and emotional realities of her characters: "Now everything was over and done. It occurred to her that this was her life: vast and empty, like a coin dropping down a bottomless well." The third-person narrative alternates between Heather and Dodge. Character development is minimal but the sharply arcing plot moves the action forward, the tension of one contest catapulting readers to the next. The swift pace serves the broad sweep of the novel and glosses over any idiosyncrasies in plot or motive. Shifting alliances within the game and the conflicting emotions of the players intensify the heady rush of tempting fate. Readers seeking the known thrill of a familiar roller coaster will be happy with this ride.Janice M. Del Negro.
Word Count: 77,339
Reading Level: 5.2
Interest Level: 9+
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.2 / points: 12.0 / quiz: 164557 / grade: Upper Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:5.4 / points:19.0 / quiz:Q63124
Lexile: HL720L
Guided Reading Level: Z

From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver comes an extraordinary novel of fear, friendship, courage, and hope that Kirkus Reviews says "will have readers up until the wee hours," School Library Journal raves is "fast-paced and captivating," and E. Lockhart, author of We Were Liars, calls "a thrill a minute."

Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a poor town of twelve thousand 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. 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.

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