I borrowed this from the library because it sounded like an interesting read. The cover gives you the impression that this is a heart stopping terror of a read, right? WRONG. This story is incredibly tame and rather boring at times.
In an alternate future or maybe the not too distant future, online dares are the latest craze. To win outrageous prizes, contestants do a dare that is live streamed to the producers of Nerve and if there is enough interest in the video, the contestants are asked to compete in riskier dares for bigger prizes. Sounds innocent, right? Vee thought so too until her dares were tougher and she risked her reputation, at some times even her safety. She did a dare for Nerve to prove to everyone that she wasn’t as straight laced as they thought she was. She ends up being picked to move on in the contest and is paired up with Ian, some random boy also doing dares for prizes. These two compete dare after dare until they are picked for the final live round where they are set in a room with the other contestants and things get real serious real fast. Will Vee be able to carry out the final dare in order to win her dream prize or will she back down? Does she have the nerve to win the whole thing?
I had a lot of issues with this story. I will try not to rant about them but I may fail. You’ve been warned.
First, our protagonist, Vee. She claims to be the goodie two-shoes student that never does anything wrong but chooses to complete a dare anyways. Ok, I’ll go along with that. She swears she is so innocent but you are never truly given her backstory. As the reader, you are always told or reminded that something terrible happened to her that caused her parents not to trust her, but you are never told what happened. WHY DO THAT, RYAN?! If you want me to connect with the character, you have to give me the entire story, not just teasers.
Second, Ian. His character came out of nowhere and as soon as Vee sees him, she has insta-lust for him. She has it bad for Ian. All she can think about, according to her inner monologue, is how much she wants to make out with this “hot boy Ian”. Calm your hormones. Her insta-attraction for this mystery boy doesn’t enhance the story, it makes it a little creepy and uncomfortable. Ian also has a backstory that is never told. He hints that he wants to get away from his life but never says why. Alright, but Ryan, you have to tell a reader why if you want them to connect. Otherwise it doesn’t make sense.
Third, the plot sounded like an awful lot like the story Need. I know the story Need came out years after this but because I read that first, I couldn’t stop comparing. Regardless, the plot was weak at best. It didn’t come across as edgy or suspenseful. I finished the story because I was hoping it would get better but it didn’t. And don’t get me started on the ending. What a cop out! It caused me to groan and roll my eyes out loud.
What also drives me NUTS is how publishers always say stuff like, “For fans of The Hunger Games“. This is nothing like the Hunger Games. Nothing. In the Hunger Games, the kids are forced to fight for their lives, for survival. In this story, they complete dares for prizes like designer shoes or vacations. HUGE DIFFERENCE.
I know this has been made into a movie and I’m curious if the movie is better. It pains me to say that but it is true. The actual story felt weak to me. It was a good concept but I don’t feel it was delivered very well. I wanted action, suspense, and tension, yet what I got was insta-lust, weak characters, and a plot full of holes.