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Mirkat Always Reading

I'm always reading something, usually multiple books at a time.


Nerve - Jeanne Ryan



Vee is used to being a second banana to her best friend Syd, who stars in the school play while Vee does the stage make-up.  When she grows tired of being behind the scenes, she does a dare for an online game called Nerve.  Potential players can apply for the game and submit video of themselves performing various dares.  If chosen, contestants are given more dares, each with higher stakes and more tempting rewards.  To her surprise, Vee's clip is popular amongst the show's online audience, and she is invited to do more dares.  Soon she is paired with Ian, a boy she finds she can't resist.  Once she's been paired with Ian, the pressure to continue doing dares mounts, because his ability to keep winning coveted prizes is tied to her willingness to continue the game.  The Grand Finale ups the ante because they are grouped with several more players, and everyone becomes ineligible to win prizes if any one player in the group fails to complete the dares.  Which grow increasingly extreme and dangerous, not to mention ridiculous.


I listened to this book on audio, and I can't remember a time when my eyes got so much of a workout--from all the rolling.  Just--so implausible.  My willing suspension of disbelief snapped apart.  This book really wanted to tap into the Hunger Games audience, but the author seemed to miss the point that the tributes in THG had no choice but to participate.  In Nerve, players are wooed by prizes that happen to be things they really, really want (the Nerve producers research/snoop really well).  Eventually, some blackmail is used to keep players in the game.


In certain ways, this book reminded me of the Swedish thriller Game.  I kept thinking that at least, unlike Game, this isn't the first installment of a trilogy.  But the ending of Nerve was left suspiciously open-ended, so it's possible that this story could be dragged through two more installments.  The middle book would essentially be filler, as Vee and Ian try to track down the evil people behind the evil game.  In the third book they could finally succeed, after the evil game has gone through a couple more cycles/casts.


Oh, and do you hate fake flaws?  Our heroine's blue eyes are "too large" for her face.  Because no one wants to have big, blue eyes--that's just the worst.  And she is (::gasp::) a skinny girls with small breasts.  The horror!