Author: Mia Siegert
Publisher: Jolly Fish Press
Genre: YA Contemporary, LGBT, Sports
Release Date: May 10th 2016
Trigger Warning: Attempted suicide
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? (via Goodreads)
What I Thought
I had the pleasure of meeting Mia Siegert and hearing them talk about their book and since then I have basically been Jerkbait trash, in a good way! Now having read the book I am even more invested in helping promote Jerkbait because I think it is important, not just for athletes but for anyone who has been discriminated against or bullied for who they are. I found Tristian and Robbie easy to relate to because they felt like very real people instead of just characters in a book. Robbie struggles with depression, the weight of family and coach expectations, and the fact that he doesn’t feel safe letting people know that he is gay.
I like that Jerkbait is told from Tristian’s point of view because it gives you the “outside looking in” perspective that you don’t normally see in YA. Our usual main characters are the ones going through the major problems, not that Tristian doesn’t have his own problems but you can’t deny that Robbie’s struggles are the focus of the story. What makes Tristian’s perspective interesting is that you can relate to it. Pretty much everyone can understand what Tristian is going through because we have been on the outside of so many terrible suicides and crimes. I mean, I know I have heard about countless suicides of seemingly happy people and thought ‘why?’ just like Tristian does when Robbie attempts suicide. What makes this book so riveting is how straightforward it is. It confronts homophobia, it deals with ableism, and it is a realistic portrayal of high school drama.
Jerkbait is not just one depressing moment after another, it is funny and witty. It is a wonderful exploration of high school athletics and celebrating who you are. While many of the themes in this book are sad and heart breaking there is always that thread of hope which finally manifests at the end of the book. Whether you are an athlete, a theater nerd, a LGBT+ person, or anything in between you will relate to this book because I believe everyone has had a moment of self doubt or a secret that made them feel like less than someone else, and Jerkbait is here to remind you that there is always hope you just have to make it through the storm.
I hope you will give this book a read, I honestly think anyone will enjoy it especially fans of Adam Silvera’s More Happy Than Not (no comparison other than both are fantastic books with LGBT+ characters) Have you read Jerkbait yet?
Leave a comment below with your favorite book you’ve read so far this year!