Slammed by Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: YA Contemporary
Overall: I completely expected not to like this book. I delayed buying this book for a month even at the insistence of a few close friends. It wasn’t until I discovered this title on Netgalley that I gave it a shot. Let me also say that I don’t typically read contemporary novels – ah, but this is no ordinary contemporary novel. If you’ve ever wanted the poster-novel for dark fiction, Slammed is it. Layken has a pretty shitty life who can’t catch a single break as the novel progresses. Does she give up? No, she learns to be strong and deal with whatever life throws at her. Slammed is definitely a novel that will compel you to read in one sitting. It will tug at every emotion you have in your body – even the tin man would weep during sections of this book.
A key part of this novel is slamming, which is performed poetry. I rarely read poetry and I have trouble understand poetry that is very metaphorical. These poems performed by the characters either during poetry class or at Club N9NE are best if read out loud with extra emphasis on the bolded words. I must say that this is the first book I have ever wished to purchase on audio. Instead, after reading this book I immediately purchased a paperback and gifted it to my mom so she can enjoy it too.
Characters: There are no cheerleaders or nerds in this book, even though it’s set primarily in the high school. Layken isn’t loved at first sight by every male in the vicinity – in fact, she’s largely ignored by her classmates, except for a spunky girl named Eddie and her small group of friends. Eddie has her own demons (she’s a foster child) but it’s hard to tell by her cheerful demeanor. It’s refreshing to have the two teenage girls survive an entire novel without fighting – can’t think of another YA that does. In fact, there are surprisingly few cliches used to define any of the characters. I wasn’t sure what the characters would do next or what tragedy would strike next, and I think that was a major factor in my liking this book.
Plot: It’s hard to explain what happens in this book without giving away an early spoiler, which is why Will can’t date Layden. At the start of the book, Layken has moved with her mother and brother across the country to snowy Michigan. Layken meets her neighbor, Will, and they hit it off immediately. She goes on the best date of her life and thinks that life is starting to improve. Not so. When Layken starts her new school she (and I) was completely shocked to find out that she and Will have to end their relationship (for reasons I won’t spoil). Her life complicates further when her brother and Will’s become best friends and she sees Will almost constantly. Not sure what his true feelings are, Layken can’t help but be depressed. At the same time, her mother is becoming increasingly distant and has a secret of her own. One that definitely is not good for Layken or her brother.
Ending: I liked how this novel ended, and yet after experiencing all the trauma Layken dealt with in Slammed, I’m not quite sold on finding out what life throws at her in the sequel. I like her so much that I’d rather her not have to do this all over again in the second book. She deserves better. This ending is sad, depressing, but you can’t help but smile because Layken is optimistic about her future.
Following the unexpected death of her father, 18-year-old Layken is forced to be the rock for both her mother and younger brother. Outwardly, she appears resilient and tenacious, but inwardly, she’s losing hope.
Enter Will Cooper: The attractive, 21-year-old new neighbor with an intriguing passion for slam poetry and a unique sense of humor. Within days of their introduction, Will and Layken form an intense emotional connection, leaving Layken with a renewed sense of hope.
Not long after an intense, heart-stopping first date, they are slammed to the core when a shocking revelation forces their new relationship to a sudden halt. Daily interactions become impossibly painful as they struggle to find a balance between the feelings that pull them together, and the secret that keeps them apart.
This is dark fiction. I loved it.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher (Netgalley) in exchange for an honest review.
About the Author
(Picture and information borrowed from Goodreads.)
I’m addicted to and seriously floored by the talent of The Avett Brothers band, which is obvious in both of my books. They are 99% of my playlist. The other 1% being Eminem and Jason Mraz.
I love lindor truffles (the white ones with the chips inside) and have an unhealthy addiction to diet pepsi. A serious addiction.