Panic by Lauren Oliver

Heather has just graduated from school. She should be feeling that the world lies before her, but instead she is stuck in Carp and her boyfriend has just ditched her. In a moment of madness she signs up to Panic, the annual game for school graduates that is the most exciting event in her dead-end town. It’s more of an ongoing dare than a game, and the consequences can be fatal. Heather finds herself having to balance the fear and stress of the game, with an increasingly difficult situation at home and a breakdown in relations with her two best friends. Suddenly winning Panic becomes important, perhaps more important than playing safe.

A book full of secrets – each of the young people in the story has a secret to hide and they believe that winning the game of Panic will enable them to move on with their lives. The story drops you straight into the action and it may take a while to adjust to what is going on, but stick with it. The tension builds up well and the characters are interesting and easy to relate to – they are human and full of flaws, capable of making the wrong decisions. I enjoyed the book more than I expected and I felt emotionally exhausted when I finished it. I did find the last page a bit unnecessary because I like to imagine the future my characters make for themselves. But that is just one page out of a very good book.

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