Trap Jam by Steven Barwin | Review

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Olivia is living a double life — high-school student by day, drummer by night. Olivia doesn’t know when hanging out in clubs and drinking to appear older and enjoy the music scene became a habit, but she finds herself hungover at school and sneaking alcohol at home. Her bandmates Eddie and Lucas think she is older, and Olivia keeps up the pretence even as her real life starts to fall apart.
When Lucas catches Olivia talking to her friend Raymond in the women’s washroom, he beats up Raymond in a jealous rage. With Raymond unconscious and seriously hurt, Lucas tells Olivia that Raymond’s criminal brother is looking for them for payback. They go on the run, sleeping in a borrowed van and stealing to get by. Lucas keeps Olivia drunk and off-balance, telling her he loves her and pressuring her to have sex with him — even when she reveals she’s only sixteen. Still, through an alcoholic haze, Olivia sees that Lucas is delusional and dangerous. When she finally discovers that the story about Raymond’s brother is a lie, she realizes she has to get out of Lucas’s obsessional trap.


*I recieved this book in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley.*

The idea for Trap Jam was inventive enough, but there was too much going on for the human brain to properly process. It seesaws between themes of pursuing your dreams, lying, obsession, alcholism, etc., but nothing is fully developed and is terribly chaotic. The writing is really spacey and unfocused, which also makes for a bad reading experience. There were multiple times I’d be reading and wonderded how the protagonist went from playing the drums to randomly riding a bike. There is some diversity in this, if you’re hardpressed for a POC protagonist then Olivia is your girl. I believe she’s either an Afro-Cuban or Dominican – I really can’t remember – and she’s also a female drummer which is cool. To conclude this review, I’d declare this to be a book new, teen readers. If you’re an experienced reader and mature in age then I’d skip it.

One thought on “Trap Jam by Steven Barwin | Review

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