The book NERVE (now a movie that doesn’t follow the books very well, according to the trailer), by Jeanne Ryan, is a must-read. Please note that this is a strictly TEEN book that shouldn’t be read by anyone under 13. Really. But if you’re mature enough to read it, it’s insanely good.

Summary (from back of book):

“Vee is used to being behind the scenes, working as a stagehand for her school’s theater program. But after years of walking in her best friend Sydney’s shadow – she decides it’s high time to break out of her shell and do something radical. That’s when Vee makes up her mind to attempt a harmless dare for the popular online game show of dares, NERVE. But one challenge only leads to another, and the prizes are simply too enticing to resist. So after she’s partnered with gorgeous Ian, who’s not afraid to go for the grand prize, Vee is determined to stay in the game. When the competition suddenly turns deadly, will she risk their lives for the chance of a lifetime, or will she lose NERVE?”

Jeanne Ryan presented a normal teenage girl who works behind the scenes, the unrecognized artist – the shy, keep-to-herself kind of girl. Vee is someone I feel so many can relate to, especially when she wants to try something different in order to impress her crush, Matthew. Signing up as a player for NERVE, a game where Watchers pay to watch and players are paid to play, is by far the riskiest decision she ever made, even in the beginning with a “harmless” dare. If you don’t count the accident that landed Vee in the hospital (explained throughout the story), it’s also the most dangerous (not that she chose for the accident to happen, but you get my meaning).

As the dares get harder and harder, Jeanne Ryan shows with such detail how this strange ordeal takes its toll on the innocent girl. She is kindhearted and raised with good ethics, which are violated by these dares, but the prizes just keep getting better and better. NERVE appeals to Vee’s deepest desires.

It’s quite obvious as the live rounds begin that in the end it will become deadly, or something close to deadly. Even when the teens express their belief that it’s all faked, it is blatantly clear to the reader that it isn’t. However, when the finale of the live rounds rolls around, the crazy plot twist (that actually kind of makes sense) that might’ve pushed me away actually brought me in, because Jeanne Ryan played it so well that it intrigued me to the point where I didn’t want it to end.

The one thing I didn’t really like was at the very end. Really, who has the nerve to call her up on that game again?

^ That’s better understood if you read the book.

Okay, I’m warning you, the movie doesn’t follow the book AT ALL. According to this trailer, the dares are all wrong, the motivation to join is wrong, and even the events in the story are all messed up. Read the book first.