cover image Trap Jam

Trap Jam

Steven Barwin. Lorimer (Lerner, dist.), $27.99 (160p) ISBN 978-1-4594-1103-6

Sixteen-year-old Olivia, of mixed Cuban and Jamaican heritage, pretends to be a college student to get a gig as a band’s drummer in a story about escalating bad decisions, part of the SideStreets series, written at a third-grade reading level. Before long, playing (and drinking) with the band is taking a toll on Olivia’s everyday life as her grades suffer and she starts showing up hungover to school. Meanwhile, one of Olivia’s bandmates, Lucas, is aggressively pursuing her romantically, not knowing that she’s underage. Barwin (Hardball) maintains a fast-paced story, blending multiple hot-button issues including controlling relationships and substance abuse. The plot gets over-the-top toward the end, but readers should be sufficiently invested in Olivia’s story to find out whether she can escape her downward spiral. Simultaneously available: Cutter Boy, Killer Drop, and One Night. Ages 13–up. (Aug.)