Blog Tour: Jerkbait by Mia Siegert

21:00 Cilla P 0 Comments

Title: Jerkbait
Author: Mia Siegert
Publisher: Jolly Fish Press
Source: eARC provided by the publisher.
Synopsis: 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? (Amazon)

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I grew up in a tropical country, which means I know absolutely nothing about hockey. Despite this, I was drawn to JERKBAIT. I was intrigued by the idea of twins who aren't actually familiar with each other's true selves. I also thought that homophobia in the professional sports world is an important topic to bring up in YA. In regards to these two topics, JERKBAIT shines.

Let's talk characters first. It's fair to say that, on the surface, I have nothing in common with Tristan or Robbie. I don't know hockey or musical theatre or what it's like to have a twin. Yet, I was soon invested in them. I wanted to shake Tristan whenever he made a bad choice. I wanted to scream at their parents every time they made a decision that sacrificed their son's mental health. The emotions are raw and that makes it sometimes difficult to read, but the novel's best pages are when it focuses on the twins' relationship. On the downside, the side characters didn't get as much room to grow as the twins. To me, Tristan's romance in particular felt rushed and, while it presented more diversity, didn't necessarily add to his character development.

The only other complaint I have is that I wish the synopsis hadn't given away Robbie's secret. I felt the revelation would have hit harder had I been left more in the dark about it when I started reading. I can understand why it was mentioned in the blurb, however, and the scene still made an impact within the story.

In terms of story, JERKBAIT touches on a whole range of issues from suicide attempt to homophobia to assault. It's heartbreaking to read, and frightening knowing the things that Robbie and Tristan suffer through are very real. I thought Mia handled these difficult themes with a steady hand and honesty.

All in all, this novel is a worthy read. It might be a bit of a struggle at times if you're like me and have no knowledge of or interest in hockey, but JERKBAIT is so much more than about the sport. I hope teens  - athletes or otherwise - read this book and start a conversation about these issues.


Thanks for reading! It makes my day to hear your thoughts and I will respond asap. :)