In the past decade, I often started to read books after I saw a movie or movie trailer. This was also the case with Nerve. Ever since I saw the movie trailer – starring Emma Roberts and Dave Franco, I wanted to watch the movie and read the book. Despite my tries to find the movie on Netflix, I had no other option than to buy the book and read it first.
Before I dive into the story, I first want to tell how hard it was to get a copy of this book. Since I now live on the other side of the world, I buy e-books instead of hard copy once. My e-reader now contains over a hundred books (of which I have only read 10) and even though I still prefer a filled bookshelf, there is no way I would have been able to take all those books with me in my backpack. Nevertheless, scoring this book and getting it on my e-reader was a whole experience on its own.
The book starts with an epilogue and I find it sad to say that this is probably one of the most thrilling parts of the book to which it never returns. The story itself has it recognisable moments. Jealousy between girls is often fought out behind each other’s backs, something this book really describes well.
The Nerve-game itself is thrilling, nerve-wracking and scary to believe this game could easily be released with the technology we have today. Nerve is a game like truth or dare, without the truth. It is played in real life, but the dares come in through social media. Everyone can watch and everyone can play. The prizes the contestants are taunted with to participate are based on their online behaviour. For example, our main character Vee has liked a pair of boots through social media. The prize for her first dare, those exact same boots. With each dare the prizes become more and more priceless. The top prize, a full scholarship to an exclusive fashion school.
This book (and movie) can easily be used to talk about online bullying, the use of social media and internet in general. I would not recommend this book in a co-ed class, due to the point of view. I do not feel that most boys would be very interested in reading about women’s jealousy over a guy. In these classes, the movie can be used to raise the same issues.
When you decide to use the book for in-class reading, it is good to know that the movie is a loose adaption of the book. Apart from the concept of the game and the characters’ names, not much is the same. The dares, the setting and the background of the characters is totally different compared to the book so you will know immediately when a student has substituted the movie for the book and wrote a paper based on the movie only.
The only question remains is are you a watcher or a player?