Author: Mia Siegert
Publication Date: May 3, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, LGBT, Contemporary, Romance, Sports, Fiction
Note: I received an ARC from Mia Siegert through Goodreads First Reads in exchange for an honest review.
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?
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
The minute I picked up Jerkbait, I could tell it was going to be an emotional read. The thoughts and feelings going through Tristan’s head weren’t happy ones. He was a self-absorbed teenager who believed his family didn’t truly see him. I could understand why he would feel this way, even though I was frustrated by his inability to see the whole picture at times. His parents were horrible and didn’t support his dreams. They may just be some of the worst YA parents I’ve ever read.
Tristan’s relationship with Robbie complicated things even more. His resentment of his brother was made even greater by their parents’ reaction to the suicide attempts. They would rather focus on hockey than Robbie’s mental health. They took away what little freedom Tristan had and put him in charge of watching Robbie.
Meanwhile, Robbie was a mess. It was painful to read what he was going through. He was fearful of what coming out would do to his future hockey career and his friendships with his teammates. I felt so bad that the only place Robbie felt excepted was an online chat room with other gay teens.
Jerkbait was relevant, smart and boldly honest. It touched on so many issues important to today’s society. I was transfixed by the story and read it in one sitting. The only little complaint I had with Jerkbait was the extra paranormal aspect added in at the end. It distracted from the reality of the rest of the story for me.