"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." Albert Einstein

06 October 2014


Hardesty, Sue. Panic. TRP Cookbooks. 2013. $11.25. 164p. SC 9780979270161.

Three very different teenagers travel together into the desert to find Indian artifacts to sell. When their truck breaks down, they must struggle to survive against the dangers of the desert: heat, snakes, lack of water, and panic. Will the trio make it out of the desert alive, or will they succumb to the deadliest factor of all, panic?

With teens as main characters and a survival plot, this book would seem to be an easy sell to a young adult audience. The plot-driven survival story and the trio of very different characters would certainly appeal to teens were the story written in a more compelling style. The simple language of the story and the characters causes the story to feel like an elementary school “first chapter” book, and the sketches and drawings throughout contribute to this juvenile appearance. While weaker young adult readers could definitely benefit from a story written on a lower level, the writing style in this book will not compel them to finish the final page, and the characters will not convince a young adult reader that the author has spent any time around teens.

This book will not appeal to the average young adult, and even strong readers may experience difficulty in finding motivation to finish the story. With further editing and an updated, more contemporary cover, this story could appeal to teens who enjoy survival stories. Librarians looking to add more books containing LGBT characters to their collection should instead consider the works of Kristen Cashore or Malinda Lo.

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