Hi there! Just thought I’d write a quick review today for ‘Nerve’ by Jeanne Ryan. I recently read this thriller, and I really enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to watching the film- although from the trailer it seems that the film is very different to the book!
‘Nerve’ is about a young woman, Vee, who is fed up with being behind the scenes. Literally, she helps out at school theatre productions behind the scenes, putting lots of effort into the make-up of the stars and yet never getting the fame and glory that her perfect actor friend, Sydney, does. So one day she decides to do a dare for the online game NERVE, which many people are playing and which is known for its dangerous dares, where the contestants ‘appear’ to be in real danger. Until Vee gets swept into the NERVE world, she doesn’t realise that the danger the contestants are placed in is actually real, not faked.
After doing one low-key dare for the game, she gets recruited to do more, tempted to risk her life (and dignity) for amazing prizes, such as scholarships and designer clothes. Finally, she is offered the chance to compete with her dare partner, Ian, in the live rounds, where the creepy ‘Watchers’ can watch the contestants basically complete life-threatening dares. Vee soon goes from having fun to realising the reality of the game, and her and Ian have to stick together throughout the game and its terrifying rounds.
I really enjoyed this book, and it inspired a lot of emotions within me. I was furiously angry with the NERVE game, and I could feel myself getting more and more angry as I read the way the game messed with Vee, Ian and the other contestants, and my heart quickened as I read about this awful game. I think what made it worse was that I could actually picture young people doing crazy things like this for stupid prizes, which they could earn other ways in the future, such as a college scholarship. I get that the prizes were amazing, but it scared me to realise that, actually, I could imagine people in this century competing in this crazy game. Needless to say, this is something that I would stay well away from if it was real!
I liked reading about the different dares of the contestants, and the dares Vee and Ian had to go through were so cleverly thought up, and yet so awful. This is not particularly a spoiler, as it happens quite soon in the book, but one of Vee’s qualifying dares (to see if she has what it takes to get to the live rounds, which include some truly horrific experiences) is to go to a rough part of town and act as a prostitute, not doing anything, just trying to find someone willing to pay $100. I thought this was an interesting dare, much more interesting than something typical like running across a busy road, and I liked the imagination behind the dares, even if this made them worse.
I read this book so quickly, and it was definitely a fast-paced thriller. Towards the end, my heart was beating so fast and I remember being crouched right over the book, I was so into it! There was definitely a lot of suspense at the end. I remember at one point I was so engrossed in the book that when my sister jumped up behind me to scare me I almost had a heart-attack!
I also really liked the ending of this book, and I think it was open enough to leave me wanting more, but at the same time neatly tied up some loose ends. Throughout the book I found the Watchers (the opposite to people playing the game, the people who watch others play) so creepy, and I think Ryan really exaggerated the way that, was this a real game, many people in our society would love to watch others squirm and put themselves in danger, and so by exaggerating the way that the Watchers were like stalkers commented on this. On a lower level, people love to watch ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’, which is about watching people squirm, and so I can see why Ryan thought of the idea for this book!
Although I really enjoyed this book, there were some aspects I wasn’t as keen on. I didn’t really like Vee, and for me, this is always a disappointment in a book. I always try to like the main character in a book, and for me this is essential to understanding and sympathising with them, so the fact that I found Vee annoying, self-centred and a bit flat meant I wasn’t rooting for her as much as other characters that I’ve felt a connection with in books.
I also didn’t like Ian. I wanted to like him so much- I mean, he’s good-looking, mysterious and really nice to Vee- but I thought his character just seemed so flat and without depth, and I just couldn’t take to him, or his relationship with Vee. Watching the trailer for the film though, I love Emma Roberts, and the characters seem more likeable, so maybe that was just me!
Overall I really enjoyed reading this thriller and I thought the imagination behind it was incredible- as well as the way that it really pulled me into the story and encouraged a great amount of suspense! I would recommend this book to anyone in a reading slump who wants a fast-paced read that is impossible to put down! I think people who like the young adult genre would also like this book, so it’s definitely one to pick up, even if I found the characters themselves a bit limp.
Have you read this book before? Did you enjoy it and would you watch the film? Has anyone watched and enjoyed the film, I hear it’s very different to the book?! Let me know all your thoughts, as always, in the comment section below.
Currently reading: ‘West End Quartet’ by Ariadne Apostolou