Adult Books for Teens: “Jam”

Jam by Yahtzee Croshaw   jam

“I woke up one morning to discover that the entire city had been covered in a three-foot layer of man-eating jam.”

Croshaw begins his send-up of the future apocalypse with a distinctive strawberry flavor. The man-eating jam that covers Brisbane, Australia immediately devours Travis’s one job-holding roommate who is heading off to the gym to work out. This leaves Travis, our slacker hero, with his surviving roommate, Tim. They find only two other survivors in the building—Don, who was home after working all night on his ‘build’ (he’s a game designer), and Angela, a wannabe journalist who works at Starbucks. The four are shocked when X and Y—a man and woman who appear to be on a secret mission with the US government—crash land a helicopter into Don’s apartment. They seem to working for an agency with the acronym HEPL.

Together (and separately) the group must brave aerial stunts and sail on a sea of strawberry jam to reach other survivors and begin colonies. The problem is that there are only two sorts of folks left. Slackers who weren’t on their way to work when the jam hit at the peak of rush hour traffic, and workaholics who were already at the Hibatsu building slaving away.

The twenty-something slackers have taken refuge in the mall where they set up an ironic kingdom, and, with all due irony, kill outsiders. Travis fears for his tarantula, who is weak with hunger. Tim wants to take over the kingdom. He is sure that this apocalypse will give him the chance to start a new world and is concerned with organizing crop production and the like.

Meanwhile, the more A-types at Hibatsu have already formed their own government by committee and are planning a corporate overthrow of other settlements in an effort to gather resources as they work toward a new society.

The juxtaposition of these two groups is funny—neither does very well now that the Internet is permanently down, and survival is more a matter of chance than anything. Don, who single-mindedly holds on to the notion that his hard drive with his build is the only thing that matters, has to deal with all the lunacy as he switches alliances in the effort to find a working computer and upload his build to the cloud.

High school housekeeping: Yahtzee Croshaw has something of a cult following online, where he posts weekly reviews of video games. If you are a gamer, you might enjoy his work. He is witty and his ability to parody—even skewer—something is evident in Jam. If you would enjoy a nice send up of all those ‘dystopian future’ novels you’ve been reading, or if you are just looking for something funny, try Jam. Very wacky.

Some folks enjoyed Croshaw’s Mogworld even more. I haven’t read that yet, but you might give it a try as well.


About Victoria Waddle

I'm a high school librarian, formerly an English teacher. I love to read and my mission is to connect people with the right books. To that end, I read widely--from the hi-lo for reluctant high school readers to the literary adult novel for the bibliophile.
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