Nerve is an online Truth or Dare game without the Truth. You sign up as a Player to complete the Dares, or a Watcher to feed your voyeuristic tendencies. Vee, on a whim, signs up to be a player. The more dares she completes the deeper she goes and the higher the consequences and rewards. But she isn’t alone; she’s been paired up with hottie Ian to complete these Dares.
As I said, it starts off great with so much promise. There were great hints of something dark from Vee’s past, sinister dangers to come when the game becomes more serious and maybe even a conspiracy theory or two, and an overall troubling feeling to the story. So much fun. I couldn’t put the book down (even at work).
Then the nothing happened. Instead of diving deeper into Vee’s past, it’s casually brushed off. And instead of giving us an emotional rollercoaster to ride with her, we’re sort of just told what’s happening. Because of that, I had no connection to her and the thrill was lost. It’s hard to point out her motivation to join the game and to keep playing. Yeah, the prizes are cool, but doing things for a pair of shoes or a new phone just didn’t feel realistic. Why couldn’t it be that she got hooked on the adrenaline? Or needed the money? Having her being so materialistic just makes her hollow as a character (though, people like her do exist in the world).
Not to mention the dares seem to be very immature and rather boring. Go ask a bunch of purity kids for some condoms, or pretend to be a hooker on the street, or spend seven minutes in heaven. Blah. Give us real thrills and death defying, please. Not something that could've been thought up by hormone hyped thirteen year olds.
Things do take a turn for the thrilling later in the story, but it’s too late. I don’t care what’s happening to her and I don’t feel anything as I read the words. Maybe if emotions were described better, made me empathise, I would care, but at this point I just want to power through and see what happens, not make sure she’s alright. And again, her past is brushed off when she’s forced to confront some of it.
I get the appeal of watching other people doing things. That’s reality television. And wanting to be part of it (be competitive, be famous, feed the adrenaline, be recognised and acknowledged for a skill) if you so dare. The technology doesn’t seem too far off for this either.
Just for me it has no heart.
But it does show the terrible side of humanity and the dependency on recording our lives on mobile devices. So, in that case, it's a good book. Scary to think that once you put yourself out there you have no control whatsoever who sees you, how they react, or what else they demand from you because in their eyes you're public domain; not even a person anymore, just a product for them to consume.