Genre: Young Adult, Thriller
Synopsis: ARE YOU PLAYING THE GAME OR IS THE GAME PLAYING YOU?
Vee doesn’t know if she has the guts to play NERVE, an anonymous online game of dares. But whoever’s behind the game knows exactly what she wants, enticing her with lustworthy prizes and a sizzling-hot partner. With Ian on her team, it’s easy to agree to another dare. And another. And another. At first it’s thrilling as the Watchers cheer them on to more dangerous challenges. But suddenly the game turns deadly. Will Vee and Ian risk their lives for the Grand Prize dare, or will they lose NERVE?
“I’m not the girl I thought I was either. I don’t know who I am.”
Full disclosure here, I actually watched the 2016 movie version of this before I picked up this book, I know, shocking, but in a weird way I’m glad I did because I can confidently say that the book and the movie are almost NOTHING alike so I could enjoy them as completely different pieces of material.
I was excited to read the book because I ended up really enjoying the movie. It was a simple but thought provoking movie so I thought the book would be even better of course because it would likely get more into the characters and the backstories than the movie did. If I’m honest I probably enjoyed the movie more, but again, I would say that they were truly like two different stories all together.
My favorite part about this book is of course the fact that you can draw so many comparisons to real life. It’s funny how a lot of the books we relate to the most, like The Hunger Games and this one seem to stem from what we fear our world will become in the future.
The characters were easy to root for, although I can understand why some other reviewers were saying that Vee felt flat at times. I think the pacing made her thoughts feel disjointed, although her humor was fantastic.
“How thoughtful, audience. I’ll have to remember to send you thank-you cards, laced with anthrax.”
And even though I sometimes wanted to smack her just a bit for how shallow she seemed, everything made sense through the lens of a young girl who feels like she’s been overlooked.
The insta-love really didn’t bother me all that much, it never seems to anymore, I guess I’ve gotten used to it as a trope now and honestly if it’s done well I don’t tend to care. The “relationship” between Ian and Vee was handled well enough that it wasn’t completely eye-roll worthy and added a nice amount of light heartedness in the tense circumstances they were under. I’m so glad the author chose not to delve into a love triangle with Tommy because that could’ve easily been a train wreck. Luckily I was super happy to see the direction the author went with his character, super surprising and a really good twist.
My biggest peeve with the book that made the movie so much better was the resolution with NERVE in the end, now I don’t want to spoil anything for people who haven’t read the book or watched the movie, but for me I just felt that the way the book ends is sort of anti-climactic after everything that happens. It’s a really good suspense ending, but what the movie did was so much more satisfying. That being said, the movie ending wouldn’t have made any sense given that the plots were 100% different between the two.
I do want to mention that while I did enjoy this book I do feel that the dares were very intense for a young adult novel, and I would not want to see teens doing any of those things in real life. But part of enjoying fiction is the hyper-realism where the characters get to do things real people would never engage in so I’m letting things slide in the narrative that would be completely outrageous in the real world.
Overall a well written, gripping, page turning till the end read, I recommend this book to anyone who wants something fun and interesting to delve into!