The way Sharon Draper set up Panic is completely different from what I expected. Instead of a novel focusing on the victim, Diamond, and her experiences or a story that follows what all of the people in Diamond’s life do when she is taken, Panic combines those ideas and shows both Diamond and her loved ones through her ordeal.
Basically, Diamond has low self-esteem and is approached by someone who says all the right things to get her in a car with him. The story doesn’t get too graphic when showing her experience–the reader is told about what happened after the fact so you never “see” any of the horrors she experiences.
What makes the story stand out to me, is that it is equally, and in some respects more, the story of her friends and family as their deal with her absence and their own issues. While I liked seeing both sides, the book is really the story of her friends, especially Mercedes and Layla: Diamond is only in about 1/4-1/3 of it. This format was a surprise, but worked. You want to know more about Diamond and if she is/will be ok, but are constantly forced to wait for more info, just like the people she left behind.
Even though the format is unique, the plot was not. I found it to be a bit predictable and, at times, slow. The kids all talked in slang, which constantly annoyed me, but that could just be my age showing. Maybe the younger readers (who the book is aimed at) will appreciate it more.
Draper does a great job showing the insecurities that teenage girls deal with and the unique format of Panic make it a novel you should try. If you can get past the way they talk, the characters are very well developed and their devotion to dancing is a great example of how you can deal with negative emotions/events by doing something rather than drowning it in alcohol or drugs.
Expected Release Date: March 12, 2013
This gripping and chillingly realistic novel from New York Times bestselling author Sharon Draper shows that all it takes is one bad decision for everything to change.
Diamond knows not to get into a car with a stranger.
But what if the stranger is well-dressed and handsome? On his way to meet his wife and daughter? And casting a movie that very night—a movie in need of a star dancer? What then?
Then Diamond might make the wrong decision.
It’s a nightmare come true: Diamond Landers has been kidnapped. She was at the mall with a friend, alone for only a few brief minutes—and now she’s being held captive, forced to endure horrors beyond what she ever could have dreamed, while her family and friends experience their own torments and wait desperately for any bit of news.
From New York Times bestselling author Sharon Draper, this is a riveting exploration of power: how quickly we can lose it—and how we can take it back.
About the Author
Sharon M. Draper is a professional educator as well as an accomplished writer. She has been honored as the National Teacher of the Year, is a five-time winner of the Coretta Scott King Literary Award, and is a New York Times bestselling author. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.