Panic by Sharon M. Draper
Review by Lauren
Source: copy from library; all opinions are my own
Official Summary: 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.
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.
Review: When I was in middle school, I read and loved a couple of Sharon M. Draper’s novels, so it’s a bit sad that I never gave her more recent work a chance. However, I was told to pick any book by Draper to read for my young adult class, so I chose Panic.
This book is told in the third-person point of view of four teenagers, one of which is Diamond, who goes missing from the mall. The other narrators are Justin, Layla, and Mercedes. All of these teens are in a dance academy together and have their own problems and worries. Justin is often made fun of for being a guy dancer. Layla is in an abusive relationship, but she is desperate to see the good in her boyfriend. Mercedes was at the mall when Diamond went missing, and she blames herself for leaving her, even if it was only for minutes. All of these teens love to dance, and they get lost in the music. Panic shows that this is their escape and way to be free. This even includes Diamond, who imagines herself dancing as a way of leaving her current situation.
Draper does a great job with these narrations, bringing the stories together with the overarching theme of Diamond’s disappearance and how that affects everyone. Panic is a relatively short book, but I feel like it gives enough depth and emotion to the storyline. One of the things that I really enjoyed was that the beginning of each chapter starts with a quote from Peter Pan. This is a ballet the dance company is going to put on over the summer, so it ties in there, but the use of Peter Pan also shows the loss of innocence within the storyline of Panic.