A high-stakes online game of dares turns deadly
When Vee is picked to be a player in NERVE, an anonymous game of dares broadcast live online, she discovers that the game knows her. They tempt her with prizes taken from her ThisIsMe page and team her up with the perfect boy, sizzling-hot Ian. At first it’s exhilarating–Vee and Ian’s fans cheer them on to riskier dares with higher stakes. But the game takes a twisted turn when they’re directed to a secret location with five other players for the Grand Prize round. Suddenly they’re playing all or nothing, with their lives on the line. Just how far will Vee go before she loses NERVE?
(Description from Goodreads)
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
I actually had a hard time deciding on a rating to give this book. There were so many awesome and nerve-racking moments in this book, yet there were quite a few things that left me puzzled and slightly disturbed.
Within the first few pages I was drawn in. For the majority of the book, I couldn’t put it down until I was literally bobbing my head from lack of sleep. However, there were some areas that left me with an unpleasant taste in my mouth, but I’ll get to that portion in a minute.
Vee is the girl that has never been the center of attention, yet has been best friends with the person who always has been, leaving Vee to be the shadow. Thinking a guy she has had a crush on finally notices her, she decides to take a suggestion of his to heart: enter to be a participant in the truth or dare (without the truth) game of NERVE. NERVE is exactly like the dare portion of truth or dare: participants chose from a list of dares, complete them, and upload a video of them completing the dare to the NERVE live feed site. The dares start off harmless, but the further a participant progresses, the more daring (and dangerous) they become. Vee has been under watch for quite some time (due to an accident several months prior to the start of the book) so in order to break out of her shy shell, she takes up a dare. From there, it takes off.
Okay, to get the negative aspects of this book out of the way. While some of the dares are harmless, the dares do become rather daring and dangerous for Vee. I don’t want to spoil what dares Vee actually completes, but let’s just say that obviously the people behind NERVE have no regard for what happens to the contestants. Most of the participants and even the Watchers (people who film the participants complete their dares for money and prizes) believe that those behind NERVE would never put their lives in any danger, but it’s soon quite clear that NERVE does not care. I found this to be extremely disturbing, considering those behind NERVE are assumed to be adults. I also was concerned by why more parents were not aware of NERVE and what went into the games. Since NERVE was so popular, wouldn’t the parents have at least heard about the dares?
Another thing I was concerned about, but agree that this subject needs to be addressed, is that of content and accessibility to social media pages. Throughout the book, NERVE retrieved almost all information about Vee from not only an inside source (a friend of Vee’s, but that’s all I’m going to say) but also from her ThisIsMe page (think Facebook.) While I do have both a Facebook and a Twitter, I’m also careful about how personal and what exactly I post on my pages. I know they are supposed to be our personal pages that should be left untouched, but Nerve brings to light an issue that anyone with a social media page can be faced with: the fact that NOTHING is private, even if you set it to be. Vee finds out rather quick that those behind NERVE have been using her ThisIsMe page to find what exactly what prizes would entice her to continue the game. Lesson for young adults (and anyone who may post personal things on their own pages) make sure to censor what you post, because you never know when what you post will come back on you.
Now to what I loved about this book. I’m going to start with a part of the book that doesn’t happen until the end: the live dares. Like with the rest of the dares the contestants performed, there was always an audience. So these participants were performing daring and sometimes dangerous dares with a live audience watching, what does that sound similar to? I’ll tell you what: The Hunger Games! By far one of my most favorite books ever, I couldn’t help but link these two ideas together. While they are different (The Hunger Games actually calling for death to happen, while in Nerve, what happens happens) there was a similar theme of a higher power controlling these players. Even though this wasn’t a dystopian novel, themes can stretch across any genre. I liked that aspect.
While I didn’t connect with the characters as easily as I do with other books, but I appreciated the back stories of some of the main characters, particularly Vee, Ian, and Tommy. If you are able to sympathize with a character, then you can still build that connection with them, without just merely liking their character. I feel like that’s how I was with this book.
I must say, the ending left me going “hold up! Where’s the rest??” so it must have been good if I wanted it to continue. I’m really hoping there will be a sequel to Nerve, considering how much of an open ending there was for this. Here’s hoping the author has the nerve to dare write a sequel (oh, I’m clever, I know.)