From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver comes a captivating, thrilling novel of fear, friendship, courage, and hope that will leave readers gasping for air. Now a television series on Prime Video, starring Olivia Welch, Mike Faist, Jessica Sula, Enrique Murciano, Camron Jones, and Ray Nicholson!
E. Lockhart, author of We Were Liars, calls Panic "a thrill a minute." Kirkus says: "Will have readers up until the wee hours," School Library Journal raves: "Fast-paced and captivating."
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.
Read the book that inspired the series, which the New York Times described as “Reminiscent of ‘The Hunger Games’ but grounded in the real world.”
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.