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. (Synopsis taken from Goodreads)
First off, I have no idea why this book is being called “Sci-fi” or “dystopia”, or why people are calling it a Hunger Games rip-off because it is none of the above. This is contemporary, about stupid, despite teenagers who will risk their lives for money. To be fair, it is a very large amount of money; everyone in High School is encouraged to donate $1 a day for their entire High School life. Don’t, and you risk vandalized lockers, egged cars and social outcast-ness. So basically, everyone willingly forks up the money.
Panic itself is a game invented a few years before this book was written, played by graduating seniors. The whole idea is that it’s about becoming fearless, doing stupid stuff like running across a highway blindfolded or stealing something from the house of a gun-wielding drunkard.
Everyone has different reasons for playing Panic. Heather wants a way out of town for her and her little sister, Lily. Dodge wants revenge; his older sister was crippled playing Panic when a contender cheated. Nat truly wants to be fearless. The whole idea of the book is how far people will go for money, for friends, for revenge. People are betrayed, people will die. All of the characters are so, so human. They are selfish and vindictive and at times almost unbearable, but I think that’s the point.
The book starts off slow, but picks up the farther it goes in, and the stupider the stunts get. All of the stunts are decided by anonymous judges who are picked in secret each year. No one knows who the judges are, and the judges aren’t allowed to tell.
This book is gritty and feels very real, like it could be happening In real life. Let’s face it, this is totally the kind of thing I can see actually happening. $67,000 is a lot of money. There were a few awkward, choppy bits in the story, a few things left unexplained, but other than that, this book was pretty good. Not great, but good.
I am currently A) prepping for Camp NaNoWrimo by pretending I never signed up for it, and B) complaining about how I have nothing to read despite having a huge TBR pile. But I guess in fairness most of my TBR pile is books that have either A) Just come out, B) Are coming out sometime this fall, or C) Coming out next January or February.
If I were rich, I would be bribing publishers to give me ARCs. WHY ARE THERE SO MANY TALENTED AUTHORS OUT THERE?
But there’s this book coming out called a Study in Charlotte about the great-great-grandson of John Watson and it’s a murder mystery. Sounds fantastic. There’s also a thriller/horror one called A Drop of Night that sounds equally fantastic.