From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Draper has created a nurturing setting for her characters in the Crystal Pointe Dance Academy where students have been dancing and working together for years. Miss Ginger, their instructor, provides support and challenge in endeavors like the spring showcase or the upcoming production of Peter Pan. Diamond, 15, is swept off her feet by a stranger's promise of an audition for a movie when he finds her alone at the mall. Her BFF, Mercedes, gets a cryptic text before they are to meet at the food court to go to the academy for a performance. Through drugs and restraints, villainous Thane and his henchmen cameramen, as well as other paying participants, abuse Diamond as the unwilling star in Internet pornography for days. Meanwhile, with only intermittent plot coverage of Diamond's ordeal, the dance academy and school hold vigils and worry about their classmate. Most chapters actually deal with Layla: she doesn't acknowledge fellow dancer Justin's crush because she is more concerned about boyfriend, Donny, who gets dangerous and abuses her when he feels jealous or insecure. Layla suffers from some bad judgment, a mostly absentee mother, and the challenge of her father being released after six years in prison. This realistic novel takes on too many characters and plotlines, and the scattershot approach may leave readers less engaged and invested. Dance enthusiasts should enjoy the depictions of costumes, jitters, daunting roles, and therapeutic workouts. However, multiple issues-bullying, kidnapping, sexual enslavement by a predator-pedophile, abusive teen relationships, and sexting-result in hot-button overload.-Suzanne Gordon, Lanier High School, Sugar Hill, GAα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
After teenage Diamond makes a disastrously foolish mistake, she is abducted and finds herself in terrible danger. Will she survive? Will her life ever be the same? Told from multiple points of view, Panic is not only Diamond’s story but also that of three of her friends, all of them students at the Crystal Pointe Dance Academy. Mercedes is Diamond’s best friend, who, wracked by guilt, blames herself for her friend’s abduction. Layla, given to bouts of self-loathing, is trapped in a physically abusive relationship with a boy whom she thinks she loves. And Justin, the only boy in the dance class, is secretly in love with Layla. Although much of her material will be familiar to YA readers, Draper does a good job of balancing and integrating her multiple plotlines. Especially good are the subtle parallels she draws between Diamond and Layla, both of whom are, in their respective ways, trapped and victims of the worst aspects of the Internet. Draper’s many fans will welcome this latest addition to her growing body of work. Grades 10-12. --Michael Cart