Written by Jeanne Ryan
Published July 2016
Thank you to Simon and Schuster Australia
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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. It tempts her with amazing prizes taken from her personal online page and teams her up with her 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. Just how far will Vee go before she loses Nerve?
Nerve is in cinemas now, starring Emma Roberts, Dave Franco and Juliette Lewis.
For quiet and reserved Vee, she's always lived her life behind the theatre curtain, adhering to authority and rebuilding her tentative relationship with her parents. Nerve, a reality show based on the daring and provocative, where players compete for honour and pride. Fuelled by spite, Vee applies to both challenge herself and the misconception of her innocence by entering a preliminary dare by dousing herself in water at a local coffee house.
Enticed by cash and prizes, Vee and fellow stagehand Tommy begin their night of adventure, despite her promise to Sydney, Vee's best friend and Nerve enthusiast. As the stakes increase, so does the danger and Vee is playing a game in which there are no winners. Only survivors.
Nerve was highly entertaining, a cautionary storyline of actions, consequences and foremost, greed. Vee is a quiet achiever, a stagehand which sees her transform her fellow students behind the curtain. Vee has always lived in Sydney's shadow, her best friend and leading lady of their high school theatre is loved by all and adored by many. It's Sydney's onstage leading man in which Vee has developed an interest but he sees her as little more than a juvenile. Insecure and anguished, Vee completes her application for Nerve, an online sensation which sees thrill seekers compete for cash and prizes, often with dire consequences.
I found it difficult to invest in Vee's character, she didn't feel genuine and as the game of Nerve progressed, she was conquered by greed and allowed herself to be manipulated. The romance was chaotic. Vee was interested in best friend Sydney's leading man but it soon becomes apparent that he has feelings for Sydney so naturally Vee believes that Sydney has betrayed her. Fellow stagehand Tommy is interested in Vee, but Vee then turns her attention to her Nerve game partner Ian, who's attractive but without substance.
The enticement of Nerve is the game itself.
Contestants being pursed by a faceless organisation to entice them with lavish prizes and the lure of becoming minor celebrities. The more popular participants become, their lives belong to the faceless organisers. I'm still not entirely sure why the game existed. Profit from paid Watcher subscriptions? To humiliate and manipulate participants? Monetary gain from sponsorships? Who are they? Apart from two game hosts in the final rounds, the reader never learns who the Nerve organisers are, how the game begun or how they are not held responsible for what can be seen as torture entertainment of teens. The prologue is confusing, it mentions a young woman named Abigail, who is a former contestant on Nerve but plays no part within the storyline and the open ending posed more questions than answers.
Although entertaining, Nerve felt incomplete, lacked character development and world building. The overall storyline was wildly captivating but sadly a little too ambitious for so few pages.