Book | Jerkbait
Genre(s)| Realistic Fiction / Young Adult
Date of Publication| May 10th, 2016
My Rating| 3.5 Stars
I received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Today I’m part of the Blog Tour for Jerkbait by Mia Siegert and I’ll be reviewing an e-ARC of the same for you.
Blurb: [Taken from Goodreads]
Even though they’re identical, Tristan isn’t close to his twin Robbie at all—until Robbie tries to kill himself.
Forced to share a room to prevent Robbie from hurting himself, the brothers begin to feel the weight of each other’s lives on the ice, and off. Tristan starts seeing his twin not as a hockey star whose shadow Tristan can’t escape, but a struggling gay teen terrified about coming out in the professional sports world. Robbie’s future in the NHL is plagued by anxiety and the mounting pressure from their dad, coach, and scouts, while Tristan desperately fights to create his own future, not as a hockey player but a musical theatre performer.
As their season progresses and friends turn out to be enemies, Robbie finds solace in an online stranger known only as “Jimmy2416.” Between keeping Robbie’s secret and saving him from taking his life, Tristan is given the final call: sacrifice his dream for a brother he barely knows, or pursue his own path. How far is Robbie willing to go—and more importantly, how far is Tristan willing to go to help him?
I read the entire book in less than a day and during exams no less! Even though it started off a bit slow for me, it certainly made up for that in the latter half of the book. This book has an amalgamation of themes – from LGBTQ representation, to bullying to internet predators to oppression of the LGBTQ character. There are also two distinct themes in the form of sports and theatre – contrasting yet complementing each other at the same time. This book has first person narration, Tristan is the one whose mind we get a look into the whole book.
I really liked how the book blended all the themes I mentioned above and formed a really neat mixture of issues and things I really enjoyed reading about. Tristan and Robbie were relatable as siblings and as characters that had to go through a lot in a short period of time. Robbie, especially, was extremely heart-breaking as I felt for him every page of the book. Even though there were several issues being dealt with in the book, I didn’t feel as though I was reading a book that was trying too hard. I understood the struggles Tristan went through, felt for Robbie and hated their parents – all in all, what the book set out to do. The fact that this focused more on the bond between the twins than anything else really did it for me.
In contrast though, the plot of the book felt like it came second to the issues being discussed in the book. For the first few chapters, I really couldn’t stand Tristan’s perspective and it wasn’t until mid-way that I really accepted him as a proper narrator and then moved on. This book may have a lot going for it, but it also falls flat in several places for me where I got a bit bored. The last bit of the book was where the real excitement was, but again, the ending felt a bit rushed and rather abrupt to me.
Personally, while I believe that the book may not have a strong plot or many of its characters going for it, you should pick it up simply to understand the way gay athletes are treated in sports, the discrimination faced by a boy who wants to do theatre instead of sports, to understand the cruel faces that parents don when they want to believe they are doing the right thing but are destroying their child’s life. You should read this to know, to understand, to learn how mental health is important, how the internet can be a scary place for someone utterly vulnerable among many other things. That’s the book’s most powerful point – it drives you to understand what someone else may be going through.
Thank you, Jolly Fish Press for the ARC and for letting me be a part of the Blog Tour.
Until next time,