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Nerve by Jeanne Ryan

Nerve (2012)

by Jeanne Ryan

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2011358,418 (3.68)1



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Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
I usually reserve two stars for really bad books (the coveted 1 star remains, I believe, only awarded to that Cinderella mess from a couple years back). But this year when I look back on the books I’ve rated as three stars, they are all better than this one. So keep that in mind.

I picked this up because the Pajiba review of the film that came out earlier this year was pretty good. I’ve just gone back and re-read the review and it looks like the filmmakers took the names and premise from the book but changed pretty much everything else. Probably for the best.

In case you don’t know the premise, here it is: there’s a real-time live action game show that involves individuals signing up to complete recorded dares for prizes. Vee, tired of being outshined by her best friend, decides to sign up.

But let’s back up. The book starts out with a prologue that – spoiler alert – is never resolved. I mean, we figure out (sort of) what happens, but still. Not great writing.

Anyway, you don’t know the prologue never gets resolved until the end of the book. So yay for that. But the next glaring problem is that a 17-year-old in Washington state would be able to sign up for this game without parental permission. Moving past that, the naiveté of the main character is sort of mind boggling. I suppose it’s necessary for the plot, but I’m not sure.

It all takes place in Seattle over the course of I think three days, so the action is compact. The dares increase in difficulty / awkwardness / danger, until the ‘grand finale’ dare, which is so ridiculous. Like, I get that some young people make poor decisions, but come on.

Also, there’s this weird storyline about how maybe the main character tried to kill herself at some point, which doesn’t really totally get resolved.

Then the book ends, there’s an epilogue sort of (which again doesn’t address the prologue at all – it’s like it never happened), and then it’s over. I read it in a day, and I’m not mad I read it, it just wasn’t good. ( )
  ASKelmore | Jul 9, 2017 |
Nah, this book is not there yet. The characters are shallow and what supposed to be "nerve raking" is mellow. Half of the dares are based on sexual acts (not even)? It is almost like this was written by a teenager in heat (which maybe works for younger crowd?) not for me. ( )
  soontobefree | May 1, 2017 |
The biggest problem with this story is that the main characters are not very sympathetic. They get involved with this hideous game and don't get out because of greed. I also didn't get the connection between the first scene in the book and the ending. ( )
  tjsjohanna | Mar 28, 2017 |
I bought this book because I loved the cover and it's becoming a movie, so it has to be good, right? Well... it was okay.
At first, the scenario seemed interesting: Vee, a girl stuck in her outgoing best friend's shadow, decides to do a dare. The people running Nerve are anonymous, so that made it intriguing. The first few chapters had stories of previous contestants, and all the dares were pretty intense. I was excited to read it... Then, we get to Vee's first dare: pour water over your head while yelling "cold water makes me hot". That is a stupid dare. I'm sorry, but these dares are supposed to be dangerous and insane. This is just a little embarrassing. Of course, poor little Vee is stupid enough to wear a white t-shirt, which becomes see-through when wet. Vee and her friend panic - goodness forbid this horrible thing happens! Honestly, Vee had two different personalities - one that did these dares like pretending to be a prostitute and the other that was embarrassed by every little thing. Her immediate, soul-consuming obsession with Ian, her dare partner, was also very irritating. Ian was honestly a total jerk. He pressured her into doing the dares then pretended to care so much about her. Their romance was forced and happened way to fast.
Both Vee and Ian had "secrets" but they were revealed halfway through the book, so the reader had nothing to wonder about. There was no mystery. (Speaking of Vee's "secret" - her parents grounded her for basically no reason. That part of the book was irrelevant and poorly done.)
Yet, I kept reading, hoping that the final dare would be better. Not really. (view spoiler)
Anyway, the whole ending fell flat. It was very anticlimactic. The movie is probably better than the book, which is something I rarely say.
The end. ( )
  abrooke | Aug 8, 2016 |
In the unspecified near future, a reality game called NERVE, tempts potential players into uploading live, unedited video of the completion of increasingly difficult dares in exchange for prizes. Teenage Vee isn't normally the type of person who would participate but, while she enjoys working backstage on school plays, she's tired of being backstage in her own life, following the lead of her popular friend and pining for a guy she thinks is out of her league. In a spontaneous moment, Vee completes what seems like an innocuous dare and discovers that even simple, innocent acts can have unintended consequences. But maybe just one more dare...

Jeanne Ryan's creation is all too believable - NERVE players are lured (via the ubiquitous cell phone) by greed and notoriety and exploited by the personal information they've shared online, all for the purpose of mass entertainment. NERVE even encourages non-players (called Watchers) to participate from the sidelines. There are too many characters for real development and the narrative develops haphazardly to a resolution that will not satisfy all readers but Ryan's story is a chillingly realistic portrayal of the societal steps that might lead from a reality-tv present to a Hunger-Games future. ( )
  bookappeal | Jul 31, 2016 |
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For James, my grand prize
First words
It took three days of waiting, but at four a.m. on a Sunday, the street in front of her home finally emptied of all Watchers.
“Why should I pay to watch when I can be paid to play? I’ve had enough watching in my life.”
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0803738323, Hardcover)

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?

Debut author Jeanne Ryan delivers an un-putdownable suspense thriller.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:15 -0400)

As a player in NERVE, an anonymous game of dares broadcast live online, high-schooler Vee is unhappy to be watched constantly but finds it exhilarating to be paired with handsome Ian taking ever riskier dares--until the stakes become too high.

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