Welcome! Today I am very happy to be a stop on the tour for Nerve by Jeanne Ryan. I am happy primarily because I really, really liked this book a lot, as you will see from my review!
The tour is hosted by ATOMR and will be going on all week. Here’s a handy link to the schedule if you want to follow along: Nerve Tour Schedule
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.
Murders have plagued the woods in the past, making them a place of fear. Eighteen year old Wendy and her friends become worried when a new string of murders come to their high school. After a horrible car accident, Wendy returns to school, going from wallflower to popular overnight. As the murderer edges closer to Wendy she realizes things are changing. She is afflicted with nightmares that are all too real and she herself is undergoing unnatural changes. Learning the truth about her past, could be the key to saving her future.
When I first read the description of this book and added it to Goodreads I wrote that it kind of sounded like a YA version of The Running Man by Stephen King. And after reading it, I do still see the comparisons (although they definitely have their differences and are completely independent works).
Vee is a pretty typical teenage girl. She’s cute and talented but living in the shadow of her larger-than-life best friend and has tremendously overprotective parents due to an “incident” that occurred a few months earlier. She’s a bit sick of always being on the sidelines and never breaking free from her shell, so when the idea to play Nerve comes along she sees it as a way to make a name for herself and finally get some attention. At the same time, she makes some maddeningly dumb decisions in the name of winning a cool pair of shoes or a fancypants phone. While it irritated me at the time it definitely makes for a realistic teenage character.
I initially thought that the dares were going to be really lame, as the preliminary ones to get chosen for the contest were pretty stupid and/or simple. Maybe somewhat embarrassing to a person who isn’t especially outgoing to begin with, but certainly nothing crazy or dangerous. The longer the contest went on, the higher the stakes became and the more the dares changed from silly to risky to out-and-out dangerous. Certainly nothing worth doing for a fancy pair of shoes, no matter how expensive or how much you want them.
The villain Jeanne Ryan creates is unique in the sense that it’s basically a faceless entity, a large corporation who is essentially pure evil but never actually gets its hands dirty and who has a power that it beyond what should have. It knows things about the contestants that are personal and private. It invades every aspect of their life.
What struck me the most about this book is that I took it as not just an entertaining book, but one that has a social commentary on our culture of reality tv and whoring oneself out for fame & money. It shows the consequences of putting yourself in the public eye and making yourself a pseud0-celebrity, and it shows how rabid celeb-watchers have become. It’s not a pretty picture, and while it’s definitely a bit far-fetched in terms of how bad things really get, it’s satire at its finest.
There is a slight insta-love component between Vee and Ian but considering the circumstances and the high pressure situation they’re in it’s pretty forgivable, especially when you consider Vee’s motives for joining the competition in the first place.
I found myself wondering if this was a stand-alone book. I don’t see anything about there being a sequel but the door was certainly left open. While I love a good stand-alone, I wouldn’t be opposed to there being a second book about Vee and Ian. Definitely recommended!