Jerkbait by Mia Seigert

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I met Mia Seigert on Twitter in the process of growing my writing community and was blown away by how easy she was to talk to and how much she gave without reserve in terms of experience and tips to a newbie like me. I was planning to buy her book when it comes out later this year as a show of support to a fellow writer but was surprised and happy to receive an ARC.

Young Adult as a genre is something I am new to so I have been trying to read different titles over the past few months. I started Jerkbait late last night and was hoping I would finish it in a day. Instead I lay in bed reading way past midnight. When the book was done and I closed my eyes, I had the feeling that I had finished watching a movie.

The book features twins Robbie and Tristan who are seniors in High School. Robbie lives and breathes hockey while the arts call to Tristan. On the surface it seems to be a book about gay athletes and the immense pressure and bullying they are subject to but dig a little deeper and it is a story that any high schooler can relate to. Parental pressure, bullying, the struggle to balance career aspirations with following the heart and of course love. At the base of this complex story is one of sibling relationship.

Given the multiple threads the story handles, I half expected gaps in the story and plot holes but happily surprised to see it all tied up well.

If you love young adult fiction or if you have a high schooler at home or know of someone who can relate to this, pick up a copy. A fast, thrilling read.

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Split – Swati Avasthi

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I stumbled on Avasthi’s book by chance. Browsing my library’s YA literature, this came up as available. I checked it out and read it over two days. The story starts well enough but by the time I was mid way, my heart was racing and I was as jumpy as Jace and Christian. The pace of the story, the minimal but well fleshed out characters, the attention to detail, the simple prose all of it come together and make the book shine.

As much as the story follows predictable turns, the storytelling is taut and the language crisp to keep you hooked.

Domestic abuse lends itself to dramatic storytelling but Avasthi has kept it understated, bald and stark. When you finish reading the last page, you lean back in your chair, close your eyes and imagine that Jace and Christian make it after all. You are invested in the characters and they linger long after you are done reading the book.

In the mood for literary YA? Pick Split by Swati Avasthi. You will not be disappointed. Definitely an author to watch for.