ARC Review: Jerkbait by Mia Siegert | Hard-hitting and Wow...

Title: Jerkbait
Author: Mia Siegert
Pages: 350 pages
Published: May 10th, 2016 by Jolly Fish Press
Source: ARC from JFP
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, LGBT
Rating: 4/5
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?

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** Thanks to the publishing house for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for a honest review. All quotes have been taking from an uncorrected advanced proof.**

Contrary to popular belief, being a twin isn't fun nor is it easy. That's a common misconception. This book ultimately interested me because of the fact that it's about twins. As most of you know, I'm drawn towards books that follow a set of twins because it's easy for me to relate to the characters and even compare the relationship with my own life experiences. 

Rather than highlight the best parts of being a twin, I think this book did a pretty damn good job of showing people that being a twin isn't all fun and dandy. Although it may have its perks, having a twin is not at all perfect. The reality is that behind two identical faces, there is jealousy and competition. People who are totally oblivious of how hard it is to be a twin get a glimpse into the true hardships of being one, whether it be identical or fraternal. 
"I'd be reborn into a world without our biased parents. And most importantly, without being the shadow of Robbie."
So our story follows the voice of Tristan, who I'd like to call the "bastard son". Not actually a bastard son, in the strictest sense of the word, but more like the son who isn't good enough compared to his identical twin brother. When you're a twin, you'll inevitably be compared at one point in time. Tristan has been compared to his brother, Robbie, his whole life. His parents want Tristan and Robbie to be star hockey player and while Robbie has the skills and talent to do so, Tristan wants to pursue his lifelong dream of being a performer on Broadway. Two brothers who are seemingly the same, have such different aspirations and personalities. One day when Robbie attempts to commit suicide, the lives of him and his brother change forever.
"Identical twins were supposed to share so much, but we might as well have not been related. Sure, we came from the same split egg , but we were water and oil. We looked the same under a rolling boil, but we didn't mix."
Jerkbait tackles sensitive and raw topics in the YA community. It's a mix of everything you could ever want out of a raw and emotional story. Some of these topics include suicide, sexual orientation, betrayal, bullying, trying to stand out among your siblings, figuring out how to pursue your dreams, and even the dangers of talking to strangers online. It really surprises me how the author was able to fit all that in one book without it being too overwhelming for the reader. The story made since with all the topics and it was clear that she wasn't just trying to throw them in to preach.

Not to say that this inspiring novel didn't come without its flaws. You are aware that Tristan's and Robbie's parents wanted them to be the ideal all-star hockey players in the NHL but you don't know how extreme they were in making sure their boys didn't have any detours. I felt that the parent and child relationship was weak and it was almost an easy giveaway in the end that let the parents off the hook too easily because they were, in fact, terrible parents. They were completely unfazed by the fact that their son had just attempted to commit suicide and refused to send him to get help in fear that it might screw up his hockey career.

Plus some of the characters in the book were so unnecessary. Like Heather... oh my freaking god Heather, Tristan's best friend. She was so out of wack and constantly annoyed me throughout the book. *clenches fist* Ughh soo annoying.

On the flip side, the connection between Tristan and Robbie was more than I could ever ask for. Being a twin myself, this book hit so close to home. I get jealous of my sister, I fight with her all the time, we are compared in certain situations but we are always there for each as best friends. You could tell that no one understood Tristan better than Robbie and vise versa. I liked how the author didn't just write about them kissing (not really kissing, I mean metaphorically) and making up but there was this long and gradual change in their connection with each other.

The characters are all heavily flawed and because of that, it made this book 10x more enjoyable. Just reading about the characters screwing up and making terrible choices was, indeed, cringe worthy but sensible and understandable. They were human and weren't what some authors would portray their characters as this "perfect specimen".

I'm still trying to figure out how I feel about the conclusion of this novel. It was suspenseful and unexpected. But there is no doubt in my mind that Jerkbait has already claimed a spot in one of my top favorite books of 2016. From page to page, there is a delivery of raw and emotional feelings, sensitive topics that are so well done. I basically loved it enough to know that I'm going to buy it in hardcover when it releases (RIP my wallet). Other than some annoying characters and undeveloped relationships, this book is a solid 4-star read. It's a story that demands to be read and could possibly inspire readers. 

Stay tuned for an author interview with Mia Siegert about her debut novel, Jerkbait!

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  1. Wonderful review! I am so excited about this novel, so I'm happy to hear that you enjoyed it so much. I don't have a copy but I hope I can purchase it soon after it's released!


    1. It's worth the read, that's all I'm gonna say :D


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