YALSA’s Teens’ Top Ten list was announced, and I CANNOT believe Panic wasn’t on it! I mean, I had a heck of a time even getting my hands on this one because it seems like everyone else who loved Delirium and Before I Fall managed to get on the list before me. I sometimes take the full four weeks to read my library books because I have so much else going on — like reading to my kids at night. I mean, I know it’s important. But that’s time I could totally use to read my *own* books! 😉 At the end of the day, I often only read to myself for about 15 minutes before I pass out. It’s so common for me to fall asleep reading, in fact, that my husband has learned to check his side of the bed for my book or Kindle before simply laying down. (He clunked his head quite a few times before he learned that lesson!) This book, though, was so intense that it had me reading long past my standard bedtime. So long, in fact, that my husband found me still awake and reading when he came to bed for something like four nights in a row!
Some people have compared Panic to The Hunger Games, but I don’t really see it. I guess the whole competition between teenagers thing is what they’re stuck on, but it’s not some futuristic dystopia where the government forces teens to fight to the death. It’s a bunch of graduating high school seniors in a modern day, depressed town [Carp] who voluntarily take part in a crazy competition to try and win a huge sum of money. Though people have definitely gotten hurt, the goal of Panic is not to hurt other people; it’s simply to do whatever it takes to win. Every year, there are new [anonymous] judges and new challenges presented — sometimes based on the fears of the people playing — but it always starts with a jump off a cliff and ends with a car “joust,” i.e. game of chicken. Some people likely play because there’s nothing more interesting going on in their small town, but others play for a chance to be rich, and some have secrets that drive them to play. It’s surprising that anyone in Carp feels confident in their friendships because friends turn on each other all the time… let alone when $67,000 is on the line.