AUTHOR: Colleen Hoover
PUBLISHER/YEAR: Atria Books/September 2012 (originally January 2012)
SERIES: Yes, the sequel Point of Retreat is out already
Goodreads / Author's Website
My God! What can I Even say about Slammed! Like I'm still reeling. I heard some good things about this one going in, but gah. Words. They're failing me. Okay, I've stepped away, I've calmed down and I'm back. There were parts of Slammed that I really loved and some parts that just really put me off the book. I'll go into more detail, but this is a tricky one for me to sort through. There's just so much going on in my mind; I will say this is a book that really stuck with me.
So Layken is 18 year olds, recent Michigan transplant and her dad has unexpectedly died. As she's moving into her family's new house, she meets Will Cooper, the hot, older boy next door. He's also faced some tragedy, he's 21 and raising his little brother; their parents are dead. These two have an immediate connection, but fate keeps tearing them apart. I can't say much more without giving away some major spoilers.
Overall, I really enjoyed these two. I liked their story. I wanted to see them happy. Will wasn't a total controlling douche! Layken got on my nerves. She seemed pretty immature, always pushing, always slamming doors. But you know what? I could forgive that. Her dad died. She had to move across the country. She was angry. Will was generally a pretty great character, always striving to do the right thing.
I liked how Hoover incorporated slam poetry into the mix, although some of the poems were a little eh. You all know how much I love the arts. That extends to poetry in performance. It's a subculture you don't get to read a lot about. So that was pretty great. The secondary characters were super supportive and added some fun into the plot. And I love to read about supportive friends and family and this book was chock full of them.
The writing also totally sucked me in. Like I felt all the emotions. I was happy, I was heartbroken, I was bawling my eyes out and had to put the book down because I physically couldn't see the letters on the page. Totally engaging story. I didn't want to stop reading. Emotionally I was hooked and if I could just write this review as a bunch of keyboard mashing and yelling EMOTIONS over and over I would. But I did have some issues with the plot.
A lot of it relied on emotional manipulation and big (sometimes tragic) reveals. It was a little much and kind of unnecessary, you know? These were knee jerk tears, not tears that last through close analysis of the actual story. Another thing, there's a point in the story where I'm like wait, hold it, what did you do to a really great, kind male character? Like irrational jealousy is not cool, it's controlling. I'm kind of not okay with seeing that.
Also, there is some serious insta-love. These two crazy kids fall madly, hopelessly, can't get over each other in love after one date. Sure it takes awhile for them to say love. But it's there. Nothing ruins a good romance like unrealistic clicking. There's just no way. I like seeing a relationship grow and there was no opportunity for that here. There's plenty of DRAMA to make up for it, but I missed the slow burn.
I can't go into detail about all of my issues with this book without ruining major plot points and I do think this book deserves a read. I enjoyed it, but I didn't love it. I'm going to read the sequel as soon as I can because I'm kind of hooked on this story now. Like, I wanted to go out and buy it as soon as I finished the first book. Now that I've had some time and space from the my initial reading the issues are coming into focus, but it is a gripping story. It's this kind of book that makes me hate starred reviews because on the one hand I want to give it a 5 for making me feel SO MUCH, but on the other, some weak plot points, cheap tears and some unlikable character turns make me think can I also give it like a 2?
Go, read Slammed, enjoy it for what it is. It's a fantasy, it's a tearjerker. It's enjoyable. And seriously, invest in Kleenex before opening this one. If you're anything like me you'll need it.