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May 29, 2016

Brian's Review: Jerkbait by Mia Siegert

Jerkbait

Author: Mia Siegert
Published On: 5/10/2016
Page Count: 244

Synopsis: (Found on 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.


 
Overall Rating: 4/5
This was a great story, but can be difficult to read. There is a lot of controversial subject matter and tough situations, and you should intend to read it with an open mind. One big gripe I did have was that I think too much of the plot was spoiled in the synopsis, and luckily I was able to avoid that and go in blind. I have only included a small portion of it in this review, and would highly recommend reading it with as little information as possible to get the full effect.

Cover: 3.5 / 5
The cover is interesting, and simplistic. I do like the color scheme as well, however I don’t get much of a tie in to what the book is about. I like my covers to give me a sneak peek into what I’m getting into, and the cover just didn’t do that for me.

Characters: 4/5
Tristan: The younger twin, who always feels like he’s living in the shadow of his brother. Tristan is the antagonist, and a very interesting character. He has a quiet strength about him that allows him to keep going through incredibly difficult situations with his family. His parents are very focused on his twin’s success and aren’t very subtle about putting Robbie before Tristan most of the time. He helps his brother with hockey and with his emotional problems every step of the way, without complaint (mostly). Tristan has to endure a lot of his own hardships in this book and still manages to put others before himself, which is a quality not many people possess.

Robbie: The star of the hockey team weighted down by the hopes and dreams of his father, the expectations of his coach and team, and the pressure of his peers at school. Robbie really just wants to live his own life, though he does love hockey. He cares for his brother, and hates when Tristan gets wrapped up in taking care of him or catches the collateral damage when his father gets angry at him and spills over to include Tristan. He doesn’t seem to know why he is trying to hurt himself, and just passes it off as something he was trying. You can feel that there is a deep seeded pain there, but he can’t even bring himself to talk about it with his twin.

Mom & Dad: A rarity in the YA novels I’ve read, this story actually has parents in it. Unfortunately the parents in this story barely qualify. The father is extremely focused on living out his dream of playing professional hockey through his son, and all else is secondary. He makes sure Robbie is focused on the goal of being drafted highly out of school, and is completely single minded toward this goal, including not taking his son to therapy because it would hurt his chances if word got out. Mom isn’t much better, she backs up Dad at every turn, and seems to have her own issues and prejudices throughout the story. It was very difficult to read about someone going through such a difficult time and the people they should be able to count on the most completely failing them.

Plot: 4.5 / 5
This story is not for the faint of heart. It deals with real issues - peer pressure, sexual orientation, and suicide. You can root for the underdog but, chances are he might just keep getting kicked while he’s down. This story isn’t completely without hope, however. The characters felt real, and you get to understand just how difficult it can be for anyone, whether you’re the guy everyone loves and looks up to, or the social outcast. No matter how many terrible things happened, I still found myself turning the page, waiting to find out what happened next.

Quotes:

“No one ever let things go until someone died. Then the bullies were magically the recently deceased’s best friends. I’m going to miss him so much. He was like a brother to me. We were just joking, you know?
  Because everyone always joked when it was all over. No one wanted to accept responsibility, accept the blame when things became permanent, irreversible.  
  Suicide.
- Mia Siegert - Jerkbait

Until next time,
Brian

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