Book Review: Lauren Oliver’s “PANIC”

“The bravery was in moving forward, no matter what. […] there was always light – beyond the dark, and the fear, out of depths; there was sun to reach for, and air and space and freedom. There was always a way up, and out, and no need to be afraid.”

Oliver has done it again! I consider it a curse – a good curse. She’s always thought of something different and raw with what she writes and they all turn out brilliantly. And it never failed since I read her first YA novel, Before I Fall. Now, I’ve got a taste of what her other stories might be by reading her third book (I consider the Delirium* trilogy as one) – Panic.

The novel circulates about the story of three friends namely Heather, Natalie and Bishop. But eventually, someone added as a fourth wheel named Dodge, a completely unnoticed boy in their High School which turned out to be the smartest among the Panic players. Heather, along with Natalie, has decided to join the infamous game as a way of escape from her split with boyfriend, Matt. The prize: 67 Grand. Emceed by Diggin, the game takes place any time (at night, the most) of the week and is judged by two unknown people which was a tradition since it started. Panic would be easy, just follow the rules and you don’t have to worry about anything – except risking your own life.

I like how the book doesn’t talk much about ‘love life’ (which is pretty much expected when the book category ‘Young Adult’ comes in), instead, it concerns more of the self-growth within teenagers that lead astray – same goes with Oliver’s Before I Fall. It gives a different definition of what kind of a person we must decide to be.

Speaking of Oliver’s novels in general, they have two particular sides. In relation with Horace’s theory ‘Dulce et Utile’ (Sweet and Useful), her books are both awfully beautiful and useful. Awfully beautiful in the sense of their meaning and the painfully lovable stories and useful in the aspect of the device she uses in writing them resulting to a flawlessly-written piece of art, plus the good influence they spread to readers.

Panic, among other thriller books I’ve read, is an edge-of-the-seat, page turner. I found myself laughing at times ’cause I probably look utterly stupid while screaming at the book (I ended up hugging it tightly after reading, by the way, ’cause it’s just so, so brilliant!). It was also something that would make readers think. I HATE – really HATE – those crappy books that spoon-feed all the information and pleasure to readers, but this one will get us constantly question our own judgment.


*Cry me a river ’cause I haven’t read it.


Author: Danica Aquino

Tied the knot with performing arts since fourth grade; is an amateur writer (currently on her quest to writing her first novel); book and animal lover; always entranced by nature.

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