Available: May 3 , 2016 | ISBN 9781631630668 | paperback | 248 pages | 5.5 in. x 8.25 in. | World (translation, audiobook, media rights) | $14.99 US (trade paperback), $8.99 US (e-book)
by Mia Siegert
Eighteen-year-old twins Tristan and Robbie don't have much in common—but after Robbie, a closeted gay NHL prospect, attempts suicide, he needs his brother. With increasing pressure and an online predator haunting his brother, can Tristan help Robbie without sacrificing his dreams?
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?
“Siegert pulls no punches in her debut." —Publishers Weekly
“I don’t want to give anything away but it’s such a well-written book that you just can’t put it down. ... The book provided hope – hope that it does get better and most importantly, if you can play – you can play. This book is an invaluable tool for both gay athletes and allies. It shows why words matter and how actions affect other people.” —Kevin Jesus, Senior News Producer, Global Edmonton
“Mia Siegert’s Jerkbait is a timely reminder of LGBTQ and mental health issues in hockey" —SBNation.com
“Jerkbait is heartbreakingly poignant with timeless characters and an important message, and will have appeal to teen fans of coming-of-age and indie fiction." —Maia Raynor, teen reviewer, VOYA
“Jerkbait doesn’t only examine ableism in sports and in the world at large: it also takes on homophobia." —Michael Waters, BN Teen Blog. MORE
“What this novel does have is a solid representation of stereotype opposites and the emotional harm that comes from bullying." —Deena Viviani, VOYA
Goodreads YA best books of May 2016. MORE . . .
“Every athlete, parent and high school kid, gay or straight, will see some of themselves reflected in Jerkbait’s teammates and families. So will every ally who wants to see change. Jerkbait is gutsy, urgent, raw and hopeful.” —Brian Kitts, co-founder, You Can Play.
“Jerkbait was an excellent read on the complex issues facing LBGTQ athletes, as well as their families, featuring complex, believable characters who would not be out of place in any high school across America.” —Chris Kluwe, former NFL player, LGBTQ rights activist, and author of Prime
Barnes & Noble 12 most anticipated indie books of 2016. MORE . . .
“Jerkbait is an intriguing look into the world of both parents and kids as they try to navigate the difficult path to the draft. A cautionary tale and a must-read for parents and kids alike." —Patrick O'Sullivan, former NHL player, child safety advocate, and author of Breaking Away: A Harrowing True Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph
“I could not put Jerkbait down. Not only did it evoke the angst of high school, of in-groups and out-groups, of the closet, and of being bullied, it occasionally brought tears to my eyes. A highly recommended read.” —Jack Drescher, MD, emeritus editor, Journal of Gay and Lesbian Mental Health
“There’s a lot to talk about with this book. Siegert is tackling big topics: teenage sports careers; being not just a closeted gay teen but a closeted gay teen athlete; sibling/twin relationships; depression and suicide attempts; crappy parents; crappy friendships; homophobia; stigma with mental illness, and so much more. Plus, the book takes a big twist near the end . . . It’s a dark, upsetting, frustrating, painful look at the pressure on teen athletes, at what happens when mental illness is ignored and untreated, and at how horribly scary coming out can be, especially for teens whose parents are hateful and unsupportive. Bleak but powerful.” —Teen Librarian Toolbox
“Mia Siegert's poignant, vibrant first novel deals with issues of sexual orientation, which makes it very timely, and with issues of the human heart, which makes it timeless." —Mark Spencer, award-winning author of A Haunted Love Story: The Ghosts of the Allen House
“Poignant in the real sense: sharply drawn, pointed, and piercing." —David Galef, award-winning author of How to Cope with Suburban Stress
“From beginning to end, this book was explosive. I sat on the edge of my seat, staying up way too late, waiting for the ticking bomb to go off." —Nicole Tone, This Literary Life
“Issues like bullying and Internet predators are explored, and Mia Siegert isn’t afraid to go there and get ugly, get dark. As a reader, I appreciated her honesty. As a writer, I was in awe of her talent . . . I want this book to find its way into the hands of teen athletes everywhere, no matter what their sexual orientation. The words between these pages are an important lesson. Electric and explosive, yet soft and nuanced, Jerkbait is a powerhouse of a debut that is bound to leave a mark on the world of YA lit." —Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, author of Firsts
“Even when I was cringing and sweating and silently screaming at Jerkbait villains in my mind, I could not. Stop. Reading . . . What is arguably the most important aspect of Siegert's work, however, is the spotlight it throws on the plight of gay athletes, particularly at the high school level. In an environment where the performance of masculinity is tangled up with a million other bits of codified repressive social behavior, and where teen boys police each other ruthlessly and sometimes violently, the risk of depression and self-harm is excruciatingly high. I sincerely hope that this book finds its way into the hands of every gay high school athlete, so that they might know they are not alone." —Caleb Roehig, author of Last Seen Leaving
“Jerkbait is an addicting read.” —Bauman Book Reviews