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Parents' Guide to


By Kate Pavao, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Tense tale of teens facing fears to win risky competition.

Panic Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 14+

Great teen read

I read this as my novel for a 12th grade English class, and ended up loving it. I know there are complaints about the amount of swearing invoked from the characters, but me being an 18 year old and of similar age to the characters. It seemed to be a realistic amount of swearing (surprising as that may seem to some).
age 14+

Wonderful Suspense!

This book is absolutely amazing! I read it in two days and I learned a lot of it. First, know that this is a book where graduating seniors take part in deadly challenges for money. A girl plays Russian roulette, they have to stay in a burning building, etc. Also, there references to sexual activity in this book. For example, a guy wonders what a girl would look like with no clothes on, and a girl 'does it' with a guy from a modeling agency because it says it will make her look prettier. Finally, it does involve quite a lot of swearing. It seems that on every page there is a 'shit' or 'fuck'. Overall, this is wonderful, and it teaches kids not to do what these kids are doing. I just wouldn't let any of my kids read it yet.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (2 ):

The premise of PANIC is pretty genius, and readers will find themselves having to take a break to catch their breaths during some of the challenges. In one, blindfolded competitors must cross six lanes of highway traffic, and clever readers will know that when Heather goes to work for a woman caring for two abandoned tigers that the big cats are going to play some role in the game.

Author Lauren Oliver sets her story in a well-drawn and depressing town, creating a convincing reason for her teen characters to put their lives on the line for a chance to get out. She builds the tension well, too, right up to a final night of chicken races on a country road. But, even then, there are some surprising twists for the protagonists to navigate.

Book Details

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