Nerve is a game of dares. The bigger the dare, the greater the reward. Vee is a theater geek who decides to play after some fallout between her and her best friend Sydney. The dares start out fairly harmless, although embarassing, but as you would expect they quickly morph into something else altogether. I like the idea of this in general and have read similar books such as Need by Joelle Charbonneau and Panic by Lauren Oliver. So I guess I'm predisposed to like this sort of thing. The problem with Nerve was that I just didn't feel a connection with the story.
Nerve is also a movie and that's frankly how I know about the book. I thought the movie looked good and I always like to read the book first if I can. Plus again the premise. Vee's not bad, other than the fact that she feels like she's in the shadow of Sydney, who is of course hotter and more popular. Why did she pick me to be her friend, Vee wonders at one point. Seen that before? But other than that Vee is not a bad character, and I felt for her a bit. Something happened in her past that has everyone really cautious around her, and it's basically a misunderstanding. That was an intriguing angle, but the decisions Vee made I just couldn't wrap my head around.
Her reasons for playing are pretty selfish and even though I know this is a teen protagonist, I just couldn't get behind her choices. And when everything goes wrong over and over she keeps thinking why did I do this, what a bad decision. Then shortly thereafter she goes for it again. So that lost me. I also had a hard time suspending disbelief- which was not a problem for me with Need or Panic. For some reason this one just didn't seem as compelling to me, I don't even know why.And this is not to say Nerve is a bad book- I think the writing is fine and plenty of people will probably love it, it just wasn't for me.
The supporting players were pretty good. We have Tommy the geeky guy who has a thing for Vee (and she's totally oblivious), and then Ian the hot guy who she gets paired with (are uber- prominent cheekbones that much of a thing???) and I felt genuinely nervous for the characters as they went about their dares- so in that sense the writing is effective.