Panic by Lauren Oliver

panic-lauren-oliverBook Title: Panic
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: Harper
Age Appropriate: Young Adult
(408 pgs)
Stars: 2 Stars

Description: 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, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. 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.


Let me start off disclosing that I have not read any of Oliver’s other books. I did not go into this novel with an expectation. Maybe that is where I went wrong. Others seem to be picking this one up due to Oliver’s previous efforts.

While I did enjoy the fact that instead of the very popular dystopian theme, the game in this novel could be real. Played by real teenagers in a real town, USA. Except I just could not muster up any feelings for the characters nor care about the outcome of the game. The very end of the book took a turn I was not expecting, but too little, too late (and i mean little, it was about 1.5 chapters.)

With the name “panic” – I was expecting some truly scary situations and/or an underlying commentary about transitioning from a teen to an adult. There were those things in theory, I just did not feel them.


The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison

13604611Book Title: The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving
Author: Jonathan Evison
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Age Appropriate: Young Adult/Adult
Stars: 5 Stars

Description: Jonathan Evison has crafted a novel of the heart, a novel of unlikely heroes traveling through a grand American landscape, and most of all, a story that offers a profound look into what it takes to truly care for another person. Bursting with energy and filled with moments of absolute beauty, this bighearted and inspired novel ponders life’s terrible surprises as well as its immeasurable rewards.


People would come up and say “What are you reading?” Well, when i described the basis, the book sounded very depressing. So I would add “but it is quirky!”

I didn’t find this book depressing at all. Yes, there are some moments of utter poignant beauty. Without dry descriptions, Envision conjures up characters that feel real, that experience pain but are living with it, like we all do. There are no fairy tale endings but there are hard earned character arcs while not making the reader feel oppressed or distressed.

This novel is so well written – gloomy, quirky, heartfelt and engaging.


The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

51aJWsQK3fLBook Title: The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Author: Neil Gaiman
Publisher: William Morrow
Age Appropriate: All ages
Stars: 5 Stars

Description: A brilliantly imaginative and poignant fairy tale from the modern master of wonder and terror, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is Neil Gaiman’s first new novel for adults since his #1 New York Times bestseller Anansi Boys.
This bewitching and harrowing tale of mystery and survival, and memory and magic, makes the impossible all too real…


This short novel wraps you up and leads down the lane into a fairy tale story. Not the fairy tales of princesses, but of adventure, fear and magic. The story unwinds like a gentle wind, arcs with the power of a crashing wave and then gently places you back into the real world with a pat on the head.

The quote on the back of the book from Erin Morgenstern really sums up how I feel about the story: “It feels as if it was always there, somewhere in the story-stuff on the universe.”


Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield

17571907Book Title: Bellman & Black
Author: Diane Setterfield
Publisher: Atria Books
Age Appropriate: Young Adult/Adult
Stars: 1 Star

Description: Caught up in a moment of boyhood competition, William Bellman recklessly aims his slingshot at a rook resting on a branch, killing the bird instantly. It is a small but cruel act, and is soon forgotten. By the time he is grown, with a wife and children of his own, William seems to have put the whole incident behind him. It was as if he never killed the thing at all. But rooks don’t forget . . .

Years later, when a stranger mysteriously enters William’s life, his fortunes begin to turn—and the terrible and unforeseen consequences of his past indiscretion take root. In a desperate bid to save the only precious thing he has left, he enters into a rather strange bargain, with an even stranger partner. Together, they found a decidedly macabre business.

And Bellman & Black is born.


The description sounds intriguing, right? Well I found this book utterly boring. It picked up about page 125 and then dropped right back off into boring until the last few chapters. I got that the author was making some kind of life/death statement but by then I just did not care anymore and was only finishing the book because I had already spent so much time reading it. The majority of the book is just following a man as he works and works and works. Yawn.

Did you read this one? Your thoughts?