We are delighted to be a part of the Nerve Tour. Today is a joint venture with Kris and Austin. We have for you Kris's review of Nerve and Austin's interview with author Jeanne Ryan. There is also a giveaway for a
by Jeanne Ryan
Publication: October 9, 2012
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Younger Readers
Buy it: Amazon | Kindle | B&N | Book Depository
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?
An ARC was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
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!
Author Interview with Jeanne Ryan
Tell us about yourself and how you got into writing.
I’m a debut author who decided when I was in fifth grade I wanted to be a writer, but didn’t do much about that until many years and careers later. Maybe because I have a short attention span. If only I’d realized that one of the great things about writing is that I can research totally different topics for each book, which keeps my attention span very happy.
I saw on your bio that you have lived all around the world and done war game simulations and youth development research. How have these experiences impacted your writing?
I think both of these careers fostered my interest in and ability to problem solve, which are great skills when trying to wrestle with stubborn plots. I’m also not afraid to dig in and do research. This has really come into play with the book I’m working on now.
What inspired you to write NERVE?
A phone. My niece’s phone, in fact. One night when she and her family were visiting, she was hanging out with us, yet at the same time conducting her social life via constant texts. Her phone did not stop buzzing. That got me thinking about teens and phones and how much of their lives transpire via texts and Facebook. I tried to push that thought to an extreme scenario, creating a story with a totally engrossing game that would lure people into something that seemed exciting, but was way more than they bargained for.
What was it like exploring the psychology of the characters as they progressed through NERVE?
My biggest challenge with their psychology was keeping things believable. What would motivate a girl like Vee to keep accepting riskier and riskier dares? Sure, luxurious prizes are great, but as the dares became increasingly extreme, the lure of consumer goods wouldn’t be enough. I had to examine who Vee was loyal to, and what she wanted to accomplish with her life to create prizes she couldn’t resist.
In the history of NERVE, what were some of the most extreme dares given out?
Oh, I can’t say that without giving away too much of the story. J But I can tell you the dares start out as embarrassing, then become psychologically stressful, and finally dangerous.
If you were involved with NERVE, would you be the one giving out the dares or the one taking the dares and why?
That’s a great question. I think since I’m a storyteller, it would be easier for me to make up dares than to do them.
What are you working on right now?
A novel called CHARISMA, which will also be published by Dial. It’s about a girl with debilitating shyness who takes an experimental drug to make her outgoing. Of course, there are dangerous side effects. J
Thanks for the interview, Kris and Austin! These were fun questions!
Jeanne Ryan is a writer, wife, mom, hooper, bubbleshake connoisseur (her fave: taro with extra tapioca), reader, explorer, sister, daughter, admirer of shipping-cranes, and a whole bunch of other things. Before writing young adult fiction, she worked in a variety of settings, including wargame simulation and delinquency research.
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