Review: Nerve by Jeanne Ryan

4:08 PM

Nerve by Jeanne Ryan | Rating: ★★★☆☆

I wasn't sure I was going to like Nerve all that much. I had the same feeling when it came to my approaching the film adaptation of the same name. Perhaps this is why I found Jeanne Ryan's story to be both thrilling and entertaining--I wasn't sure what to expect. Both are exceptionally different yet undeniably similar tales and this is neither good nor bad.

What I liked about Nerve was the terrifying aspect of how far someone will go to get what they want. Whether this be material goods or an audience. It's this fact that makes the novel appealing the most. The concept is simple and modern--one game. You're either a watcher or a player. Truth or dare minus the truth. There's that creepy edge to the story as it dives deeper into Vee's tasks and the dares not only get more complicated, the stakes become higher. Suddenly, the game knows far more about her--her fears, her desires, her friends and family--than she'd like.

Seeing the blurb on the book that said "fans of The Hunger Games will like this" put me off for a hot minute, but the further I read--the more I saw that this would be true. Much like with the capital and the games, Nerve showcases one group of people in a light that is partly cruel. I think Ryan capture this well... that to some people, life is nothing but a big game and people are just pieces to the board.

I genuinely liked Vee and Ian, as well as Sydney and Tommy. The problem with them, however, was that they felt one off. Do you know what I mean? We knew very little. We saw nods and glimpses to their personality and lives. I was hoping for more backstory and depth but I can't be too picky on that because the novel's premise was still highly entertaining without it. Then, of course, there were the other plays--I'm going to go right out and say it, they are all unlikable but Micki and Ty were/are the worst of the batch. Not a single ounce of depth or redemption can be found in them, but I think they served a great purpose to the whole being-seduced-by-a-high-stakes-game plot.

As for the dares--they were kind of... mundane, at the start. I don't mean like fluffy mundane, either. I mean--weird. I wasn't overly keen on that, but as the stakes get higher and the dares grow complicated I enjoyed the contrast. Seeing how quickly things get out of control is one of the biggest elements in Nerve. Things escalate quickly.

Overall, fans of the film will like it but should note that both are different stories. Where the film has a lot more maturity and a different layout of tasks and endgames (as in: how Vee and CO. puts Nerve watchers in their place) the book focuses more on other tropes. Both are a blast! It's an easy read that will keep your attention as it progresses--I loved how smooth it developed and where it ended on one note. I do think a lot more could have been done with the story and the conclusion to make it more satisfying, but it definitely was fun to read regardless of any flaws.

You Might Also Like