Saturday, September 22, 2012

Review & Giveaway: Nerve by Jeanne Ryan

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Jeanne Ryan
Publication date: September 13th 2012
by Dial Books


A high-stakes online game of dares turns deadly
When Vee is picked to be a player in NERVE, an anonymous game of dares broadcast live online, she discovers that the game knows her. They tempt her with prizes taken from her ThisIsMe page and team her up with the perfect boy, sizzling-hot Ian. At first it’s exhilarating–Vee and Ian’s fans cheer them on to riskier dares with higher stakes. But the game takes a twisted turn when they’re directed to a secret location with five other players for the Grand Prize round. Suddenly they’re playing all or nothing, with their lives on the line. Just how far will Vee go before she loses NERVE?

*A copy was provided by Penguin Young Readers Group for review purposes*

When the synopsis for Jeanne Ryan’s Nerve was first brought to light, it instantly became a novel I had very high hopes for. Talk of high stakes dares broadcasted online by a game that seems to personally know its players – this screams intensity, excitement, and a heck of a lot of entertainment. While it does deliver on the entertainment front, it leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to its promise of exhilarating suspense.

Does it turn deadly? Sure. But this doesn’t happen until near the end, saving it all for the climax. What was I expecting? More blood, that’s for sure; more danger, more horrifying situations, more serious consequences. Definitely something a lot more sinister than singing in a cafe, or asking people for condoms. When dare after dare ended up being as trivial as the last, I resigned myself to the fact that this simply was not going to be as suspenseful as I had previously imagined. Nonetheless, I can’t say I didn’t secretly take pleasure from the antics the characters were put through. It was entertaining, just not exactly thrilling. Once we get to the finale and things start to get darker, I finally got a glimpse of what I had hoped this whole novel would be: The stakes are sky high, and the level of anxiety rises tremendously. It also brings about a lot of new questions regarding the integrity of this whole game. This “anonymous” organization does have quite an ominous vibe, I just wish it was introduced much sooner.

Like your usual action film, Nerve is highly plot-driven and suffers from a lack in characterization as well as true depth. While I can’t say I particularly cared for our main characters in any strong sense, I can’t even begin to distinguish the numerous supporting roles that all seem to blend together; like a big cast of extras. The absence of character development combined with insta-love also causes the romance to feel a bit stale. Aside from the characters, the plot itself doesn’t have very much substance when you look under the surface either. History of past games would have given the idea more credibility, and how the games are actually constructed without raising very obvious red flags for the parents or better yet, the law, would have helped mend some very questionable logical flaws that arise when you put some thought into it.

There is a hidden message inside this novel that I found quite thought provoking, on how consumerism has such control over us. We easily succumb to material things and the promise of money. I was surprised by the amount of truth there was in the plot. We’re in a culture where consumerism can turn around and destroy us, turning us into unthinking automatons. How far would YOU go to get what you want the most, especially when it’s being dangled right in front of you?

Where this book failed to engage me at first, it made up for a lot of it during the last part. When it all comes to an end we’re left with intriguing hints on where it will go from here; not to mention a gazillion questions regarding the mysterious entity called Nerve. It’s a fun novel, and great if you’re looking for a fast paced read with tons of mystery and action.

3 Hot Espressos
This post is a part of:
As part of the blog tour, Dial Books and Jeanne Ryan have generously offered one copy of Nerve for giveaway
Open to US & Canadian addresses
Giveaway ends September 26th, 2012 
Use the Rafflecopter below to enter
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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.
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35 Responses to “Review & Giveaway: Nerve by Jeanne Ryan”

  1. The Teen Book Guru

    WOW this seems interesting! I can’t wait to find out what’s behind the title… O.O The description is SO appealing and the cover is awesome. I hate it when books are really slow in the beginning but I’m glad to know that it picked up pace towards the end. Lovely review Giselle and happy Friday! x Have a great weekend!!!

  2. Amy

    This does sound really good. I loved fast paced, action filled books. It’s too bad that it didn’t really get the darker feel to it until near the end though. The whole idea of it is really intriguing. Great review babe!!

  3. Renae

    I’m sorry this isn’t what you were expecting, Giselle! I was definitely thinking Nerve was going to be a bit more thrilling, too. But I’m glad you still liked it anyway!

  4. Tabatha IMReviews

    I’ve heard great things about this book. I’m not quite sure why I haven’t read it yet.. It sounds quite interesting 🙂 I LOVE reading your reviews. They give just enough insight to the book without giving anything away (:

  5. Karen

    Great cover and premise. too bad it didn’t quite deliver.

    I do like the idea of exploring consumerism so it might be something I give a shot at some point.

  6. Jennifer Messerschmidt

    Yes I would have done everything for the money! LOL And because there are so many reality shows that are similar I probably wouldn’t have thought anything was dangerous and just went along with all of it. Although her being a minor it was suspicious that they didn’t require a parent’s signature to participate. I did find the character development low and the romance stale as well but I enjoyed the dares. I thought they were funny and exciting even if they weren’t very deadly until the end.

  7. Aneeqah

    The synopsis makes Nerve seem like the things they’re forced to do are something totally extreme, like jumping off a cliff. Singing in a cafe? Not exactly what I was expecting… I can definitely see how the suspense level was low. Insta-love isn’t exactly my thing, and no character development isn’t very enticing. However, if I see this book in the library, I may pick it up, but I definitely won’t be buying this one.

    Fabulous review Giselle! <3

  8. Heather

    Hmmm, I’m not sure if this one would be for me. But I’ll give it a chance and see if B&N or Amazon gives a sneak peek of the first chapter before I decide.

  9. Jenea Whittington

    I am pretty curious about this one. Not thrilled about the insta-love, but I love the whole game show gone wrong idea. I will have to give this one a try. Great review.. 🙂

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

  10. Jenni @ Alluring Reads

    Well, we know how we each feel about this one.. I’m so sad that you didn’t enjoy it more! I think we went in with different expectations. I found that the build of in intensity of the dares had a great flow as they started off simply being embarrassing and then escalated to more personal and serious. But where were the chapters?!?! Great review love!

  11. Kelly @ Dandelion Dreams

    I had such high hopes for this one! I still plan on reading it, but now I’m afraid I’m going to be sorely disappointed in it. The synopsis sounds so good! I hate when books don’t live up to their description.

  12. Alexa

    I was actually expecting it to be a lot more exciting, based on the summary. It makes me a little sad to hear that it wasn’t super high stakes up until the end! I may pick this one up eventually, but for now, I think I’ll put it on hold.