Review – Slammed
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  • Posted:
  • June 30, 2013

slammed-colleen-hoover

Slammed is the first book by debut New Adult author Colleen Hoover. I picked it up on a whim after finding that I am not in the mood for anything heavy for the next few weeks (Sookie Stackhouse has even proven to be too much). I was immediately drawn into the story and liked the main character, Layken, from the very first page. So I settled into the book and began the tumultuous journey through mid-Michigan, a place I know very well.

Layken is a Texas native newly transported to Ypsilanti, Michigan. Her Father has been dead for almost a year and her Mother is having difficulty making ends meet. She, her Mom, and her little brother, Kel, move to Michigan in hopes to make a fresh, financial start. On the first day there she meets Will, her dashing across-the-street neighbour whose little brother, Caulder, quickly befriends Kel. Layken also finds herself drawn to their family, particularly Will. The two fall into a fast courtship that includes many eye opening experiences. After a night of slam poetry (Will’s passion) Layken and he discover a terrible secret that will keep the two of them apart. 

 

Slammed had me interested until Hoover threw in one plot line that stopped me for a moment – A cancer plot line. Keep in mind that if you have personal experience with watching a loved one die from cancer that this is an important element. I do have personal experience and I usually give up on books that lead down this path as a result. Slammed, however, was not a book that I gave up on despite hitting my auto-shut-off button. Why? It’s very simple – the cancer thread does not dominate the plot line as one thinks it might. It’s more of a clothesline to hang the story on. It happens, and then the story shifts to other, more important focuses. To me it seemed more of an opening device to write a sequel than anything.

So what dominates the rest of the story? Will and Layken’s mutual attraction to one another despite their inability to be with one another. Yeah, it’s a romance. What do you expect? It’s not particularly deep or original, but it was fun and fluffy. And precisely what I needed this week.

Layken got to me a few times. She’s eighteen and still in high school and has that annoying youthful bite to her attitude. For once an author wrote a character of that age that actually seems to be that age (instead of most of the YA heroines who seem impossibly wise beyond their years). Layken is immature. And defiant. And whiny. And selfish. And for those reasons alone she reads as a perfect character of her age and her circumstances that is unused to hardship and not getting what she wants. Yet she isn’t spoiled, just thrown into new directions and uncertain how to proceed. We are witnessing her at the crossroads of her life and Hoover has written this transitional point of new adulthood well. It’s really a coming-of-age story for her. I would almost rather this be marketed as Young Adult rather than New Adult. There’s very little content wise that makes it NA.

Will is almost peripheral in this story, though he certainly dominates the focus of Layken’s obsessive fascinations. Will is Layken’s ultimate If-Only. If only everything were in its proper place than she wouldn’t have to resign herself on losing him. I enjoy reading Will, but when I step back a few paces and really examine the book he’s more one dimensional than I want him to be. I’m hoping that he will improve with the sequel, Point of Retreat, which is told from his point of view.

Other elements I liked about the story; Layken’s newly found best friend, Eddie (who is a girl, self-named after Eddie Izzard), the relationship between the two young friends Kel and Caulder, the minimization of the cancer plot line from the characters (in an attempt to maintain normalcy), and also some of the snark surrounding the cancer plot line. There’s a particularly creative set of Halloween costumes that leaps to mind when considering this statement. The poetry slams were also quite good, though I found the poetry writing to suffer from the law of diminishing returns. The first poem was fantastic but by the time we get to the poetic climax the poems have gotten stale and expected. Perhaps this is owed to the supposed “writers” of said poetry. Let’s just say that poetry written by an eighteen year old is bad and cliche no matter how “good” it is.

And with that I am off to start the sequel.

4 out of 5 stars.

– BP

– Follow the Reader –

 

 

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