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For fans of The Hunger Games

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 ...

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For fans of The Hunger Games

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?

Debut author Jeanne Ryan delivers an un-putdownable suspense thriller.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Reeling from a recent personal crisis, high school junior Vee is tired of designing costumes and applying makeup backstage—she wants to be in the spotlight for once. Playing against her sensible character, Vee tries out for Nerve, a racy reality game show fanatically watched online, on phones, and on TV. Debut author Ryan's view of the ridiculousness and pervasiveness of contemporary fame-obsessed culture is not subtle. After Vee pours water over her head while wearing a white top at a coffee shop and yelling, "Cold water makes me hot," she moves on to additional humiliating dares along with her Nerve partner, Ian, all broadcast live to Nerve's paying customers. Ryan's story is thought-provoking and unsettling, though even with the adrenaline rush the game provides, Vee's motivation to keep playing—taking on increasingly sexual and dangerous tasks—requires a stretch of the imagination. While the ending goes off with a bang and a twist, the theme of doing anything for attention and money (and then expecting privacy) plays out heavily. Ages 14–up. Agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (Sept.)
VOYA - Tanya Paglia
Vee is not used to being in the spotlight. In fact, the background is more like it. She is the makeup artist for her high school’s drama club. Her friend, Sydney, is the star of the show, along with a boy that Vee is crushing on, but he likes Sydney instead. Vee decides to come out of her shell to prove she is not just a behind-the-scenes kind of girl. A popular reality game show called Nerve is looking for potential contestants. All that is required is completing dares on the spot while being filmed by a partner and uploading them immediately for “watchers” to view. The prizes are enticing and grow bigger and better with each dare. The masterminds behind this “game,” however, seem to know too much about Vee’s life, and the dares become more humiliating and downright manipulating. Vee hits rock bottom before she realizes that Nerve has got some nerve to treat teens like they are guinea pigs in a cage. Ryan has written an original, page-turning novel that offers a slice of pop culture that gives a whole new meaning to the trendy, reality-television genre. Ryan’s first-person portrayal of the bemused Vee as she is lifted into sudden stardom is both uplifting and heartbreaking. The pressure put on these teens to carry out degrading challenges for material things will have many teens talking and thinking twice about posting spontaneous videos online for the entire world to see. Ages 15 to 18.
Children's Literature - Sarah Maury Swan
A cautionary tale about being careful what you wish for and discovering who your true friends are, this book does let the reader suspend disbelief for the most part. The prologue gives away plot details, namely that game players are never free of the "Watchers." Also, the girl in the prologue is never mentioned in the story which follows. Seventeen-year-old Vee has watched other people compete for prizes given by an online game producer called Nerve and has laughed along with all her friends as the contestants do silly and embarrassing things. Successful competitors move up the levels harder and more dangerous dares, but it is all a fake, right? Vee is suckered in to win a prize that seems picked just for her. Since the outcome of her dare is a bit more revealing than she has anticipated, she agrees with her best friend's opinion that she should do no more dares. In the meantime, Vee is serving her six-month's punishment for falling asleep in her car with the motor running, parked in the garage and everybody thinks she is suicidal. She is not and she works hard to prove that to her parents. The prizes entice her to try another dare, which makes her friend super angry with her. The good thing about the dares is the hot guy she has been paired with and the ever more enticing prizes—like a full ride at a top-notch fashion-design school. But is it worth it to be stuck in a locked room with several other contestants all armed with guns? In desperation, Vee smashes a two-way mirror and escapes with her friends, declaring the game to be over, but is it? Reviewer: Sarah Maury Swan
Kirkus Reviews
A girl who's always stage crew, never the star, finds herself in the limelight when she's chosen as a finalist in a disturbing Internet-based reality game. As Vee explains it, NERVE "is basically truth or dare, without the truth part," in which players are Watched by those who pay a fee to observe and a premium to record the game. Tired of always playing it safe, she performs an audition dare: Dumping cold water on herself in a coffee shop. Taped and uploaded to the NERVE site by her friend Tommy, the subsequent wet-T-shirt effect garners enough online attention that she is selected for a set of escalating dares that take her to the grand finals. With each dare, a commensurate prize inferred from her ThisIsMe profile is dangled in front of her. Between momentum and cupidity, she finds herself partnered with Ian, "a smokin'-hot guy who's eyeing me like candy," in a secret room in a Seattle nightclub along with five other players, who must simultaneously cooperate and compete in ever-more humiliating and dangerous stunts to win extravagant, personalized grand prizes. The commentary on today's life-as-public-spectacle society is both unsubtle and sound; the plot's nearer-future similarities to The Hunger Games are equally inescapable. If characterization and theme are obvious, the pacing is nevertheless relentless, and readers will find themselves flipping madly to the very last page. (Thriller. 14-18)
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Vee has spent her teen years content to live behind the scenes until it appears that her best friend is making a move on her crush. Angry and hurt, she decides to show her classmates that there is more to her than they think. She competes in the online truth-or-dare game of NERVE, in which contestants are offered increasingly tempting prizes to take ever-more-difficult dares. The people who run the game personalize each new round and successfully up the ante by accessing contestants' online This Is Me pages (think Facebook on steroids) and by keeping track of the online chatter as teens watch their friends compete. The dares, at first merely socially embarrassing, quickly escalate into dangerous and cruel pranks. Vee convinces herself that she can get out at any time, but she has been paired with handsome Ian, who always manages to talk her into going another round. When they are chosen to compete in the final round, the prizes, heretofore material goods, become life-changing opportunities that Vee and her partner can't pass up. They find themselves pitted against five other players in a high-stakes game. If any one of them forfeits, all will lose their prizes, and some of the finalists will stop at nothing to prevent that from happening. Ryan questions the nature of entertainment and explores the concept of privacy in a world of increasingly sophisticated social media. Teens will find themselves drawn in by the story's possibilities, and unNERVEd by its outcome. Give this to Suzanne Collins's Hunger Games fans (Scholastic, 2008).Cary Frostick, Mary Riley Styles Public Library, Falls Church, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803738324
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 9/13/2012
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 739,886
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.94 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeanne Ryan lives in Seattle, Washington.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 18, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    NERVE was awesome. Both the book and the game. At first I really

    NERVE was awesome. Both the book and the game. At first I really wanted to play! Sounds like so much fun! I'm a bit of a dare devil. Vee feels constantly upstaged by her beautiful best friend who stars in the school play. When her crush mentions that little Vee would never do something like a dare to enter into NERVE, Vee decides to go for it. A simple dare that I would honestly do for like five bucks. lol Her friend Tommy records it and Vee is a bit shy but goes through with it. After it going a bit disastrous she has hundreds of comments on her video and is invited to continue to play.

    People will do anything for money and I fully admit I mean me as well! The prizes dangled in front of Vee to continue were just too good to quit. I know I wouldn't have. NERVE knew exactly what to dangle in front of you to get you to play along. Not to mention she is paired up with a hot partner. And it really was some funny dares at first like asking for condoms from a purity promises group or singing in public. With shows like Fear Factor we know people go to extremes for money and fame. Vee enjoyed the ride until things got more and more personal. I will gladly make a fool of myself in front of strangers but pulling family and friends into a dare would be more difficult. The adrenalin continued to carry Vee. She just kept thinking just one more but then a new prize was offered and it was hard to know when to stop.

    Vee loved spending time with her partner, Ian, and they seemed to help each other out but I wondered if it was all part of the dare. Vee seemed to trust him too easily. I didn't feel like I got to know him enough. The book was more about the action plot than the characters or romance. As the game continued some of the dares seemed really dangerous but I was thinking this is a TV show right? And it is all set up? Or is it not? You would think there are rules how far a show could go with minors? But it starts to feel like a psychology experiment gone wrong. A group of kids all thrown together forcing each other to continue on with dangerous dares. No one can quit or they all lose. It leads to peer pressure and makes people do things they wouldn't normally do. So was it all a game or something more sinister?! It was a fun, exciting, ride that held my attention. I felt nervous, pumped, and greedy right alongside Vee!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 15, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I have to say the author knows how to start off a book. She had

    I have to say the author knows how to start off a book. She had me hooked from the first few pages. I couldn't put this book down it was just that good. We start this book by meeting Vee who is just your average teen until she decides to become a player in Nerve. Nerve is like nothing out there in that you have to do all these crazy dares to move on in the game and win big prizes. I liked the character of Vee. She was just your average teen who was tired of being a wall flower. She decides she is going to do one little test just to finally be doing something out of the norm. It is funny how that one thing will change everything for her.

    Vee gets her friend Tommy to videotape her performing the first dare and she is caught up in the game from there. I liked that Vee wanted to do something different to break out of her shell and what better way to do it than with having others watch you do it. Vee's first stunt goes well and she is given another one to do. This is where she meets Ian and I feel in love. Ian was just the type of guy that Vee needed. He had that bad boy image but he also had a soft side and he was slightly vulnerable also. He had his own demons he was dealing with and oh did I mention how hot he was. I loved that Vee and him got paired together for more challenges. The time they spent together was pure magic. They just gelled so well with each other.

    The challenges become more dangerous as they go on and Vee starts to question what she got herself into. i have to say that as things got worse I liked how Vee's best friends Syndey stepped up. I didn't care for her at first but they way she defends Vee made me like her mom. She was so fiercely protective of her it was so cute to see. Vee has to decide just how many risks she is willing to take and how far she is willing to go to have all the things she has wanted in life. The author really wrote a great book and I love books that make readers think about what they would do. I found myself so torn between if I would have been able to stop playing the game or if I would have stuck it out for all the amazing once in a lifetime prizes that Vee had coming her way.

    Overall this book has something for everyone from the romance, friendships, and nonstop action. This book was so fast paced that I was shocked when I finished it so quickly. It sucked me in from beginning to end and I didn't want to put it down. The author wrote great characters that were well developed and a great concept that had me hooked. I loved everything about this book and truly enjoyed every minute of it. I was so sad when it ended but love the way she kept us wanting more. I highly recommend this book to others.

    I received this book as a review copy for my honest review. It in no way influenced my review.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 15, 2012

    This book was surely one to raise your pulse rate. Yes, it's st

    This book was surely one to raise your pulse rate. Yes, it's still somewhat of a teenage romance novel--the insta-love type, but it quickly becomes a roller coaster ride of ever increasing twists and speed. I am still coming down after two days.

    I would not recommend it for tweens, but with some hesitation, I would not hold back from allowing youngsters 16 or over from it. It has some sexual themes among the "dares" or stunts invented by the baddies behind the game, Nerve, but they progress to the sadistic and deadly quickly enough.

    Vee's character is developed beautifully and her complex motivations are as complicated as the book's overarching plot. Have Valium or two handy, but do read it if you enjoy a thrill.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 20, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    This is an intense read. Just as Vee is sucked into the game, I

    This is an intense read. Just as Vee is sucked into the game, I was sucked into the read. From beginning to end, I couldn't tear my eyes away from the story until it was finally over. It was thrilling and addicting. Vee is an ordinary girl, quiet and unassuming. Then the guy she's crushing on practically dares her to try out for Nerve, and when she does, she makes it into the live rounds. With each round, the stakes go up, as do the temptuous prizes.

    What made this read thrilling was the high stakes. It's scary in a way, because I was just as compelled by this story as many of the Watchers probably were to the live shows. Time flew before I realized it. That's the frightening thing about commercial culture. They know how to draw the players into the game just as they know what to do in order to keep Watchers viewing. Vee never tried to put herself into the spotlight until she felt the high, the power, of completing a dare successfully, and it changes her.

    I did feel as though there were some loose ends in the story. While there was certainly a lot of action and adrenaline rushes, the characters weren't really well developed. It's hard to determine character motivation, and I feel like I only got to know the characters on a surface level. Some of the changes in the character were pretty sudden and not quite believable. Also, there's one important factor in Vee's relationship with her parents, and while it's hinted at, it isn't revealed until the very end, almost like a passing remark.

    Overall, this is a great first novel, and I did enjoy it very much. If you're looking for a thrilling read, I recommend checking out Nerve. I am looking forward to seeing more works by Jeanne Ryan!

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  • Posted September 18, 2012

    ¿¿¿Instantly we get a connection with Vee. We also get the feeli

    ¿¿¿Instantly we get a connection with Vee. We also get the feeling of being backstage (ironically). Her personality and her connection to the other characters leaves her out a bit, which then brings us closer to her and her character.

    Speaking of her friends, is it just me, or do you all not like Syd? She seems like the stuck up one (as well as acts like it too) and not Vee, like what everyone calls her already. In this case opposites attract or Vee is just friends with Syd so that Syd stadns out and get more attention, especially from standing next to and being friends with plain old Vee.

    We don't realise how much of a friend Syd actually is until the end. Throughout the book we feel she is all about herself. Especially from the way Vee talks about Syd, is more like an obsession. Espcially from some of the things she does as well as how much Vee takes care of Syd.

    We learn so much more about Vee throughout the novel. About who she actually is while in the games. We see the true side of her that the games brings out, we see the will and determination she has as well as the strength to stand up for what's right. These qualities are hidden at the start of the novel, through the book we realise that she is more than what she is believed to be, not just the shy girl hidden in the back behind everyone elses shadow. She thinks about both sides of the dare and the consequences to both sides before she acts, unlike the other players who believe that there will be no side effect on anyone else because it is 'just a dare'. Yet does everyone know that it is just a dare?

    Tommy is someone who completely surprises us. The end makes us think about the kind of friend he actually is. Ian still ends as a mystery, we finish the novel still not knowing too much about him. Pssshhtt, boys. Seriously?

    In the end, we look back and realise that we too are Watchers. Even though we start dispising them throughout the novel, we really end up being just like them, hanging onto every word, their every movement. We are the ones with the front seat to Vee and Ian's dares.

    Both the prologue and ending leaves us craving more. We don't find out what happens after the prologue, even after we've finished the novel. But from the ending we might be able to guess because of the final dare.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 16, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    'Nerve' is a taut young adult thriller that follows Vee, our her

    'Nerve' is a taut young adult thriller that follows Vee, our heroine, as she enters the newest online game called NERVE. Seduced by promises of amazing prizes for doing crazy and embarrassing dares and posting them online, Vee takes the plunge - deciding to do something out of character for once. Soon she is sucked into the game and is partnered with the sexy Ian. The pair makes it to the grand prize round, where things become a bit too sadistic and real for Vee's liking. Is NERVE really just a game? How far will the producers go to entertain the Watchers? Will Vee and Ian make it out alive?

    After reading 'Nerve', it's hard to believe that this is Jeanne Ryan's debut novel. It is full of twists, mystery, suspense and a bit of romance tossed in for good measure. The idea of NERVE, an online game composed of players doing dares, is a creepy one - especially because it could happen in today's culture. The characters are all very likable and honest, which made them easy to identify with. Vee is the perfect heroine for the book. She is down to earth, honest, and struggles with things in her life that almost all readers have had to go through. I found myself immediately on her side and rooting for her the whole time.

    The book is incredibly well written and fast-paced, with the suspense and twists making it a real page turner. The descriptions were detailed and I found it really easy to immerse myself into the narrative - it felt almost like I was playing NERVE right along with Vee and Ian. Speaking of them - the romance between them in the book isn't overly done, which I liked. It was subtle and sweet, which added just the right amount of lightness to the story to help balance out all the craziness going on around them. Overall, I think that this book is an engaging addition to the genre and one that you won't want to miss. I will definitely be reading more of Jeanne's books in the future!

    Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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