Book Review – “Slammed”

13372690Slammed
A Review by Catherine H. Armstrong

Several months ago I read another book by Colleen Hoover called Hopeless.  It was a book I deeply enjoyed and wasn’t at all what I was expecting.  Since then, I’ve noticed several other titles by this same author and have been trying to decide whether to try another by her…not because I didn’t completely enjoy the first, but because the first was so “perfect” that I wasn’t sure I was ready for the letdown that often happens when an author doesn’t meet your expectations.  After noticing the nearly perfect 4.5 ratings by almost 2,000 Amazon readers, I had to give this one a try.  I’m glad I did.

First let me start with the genre.  Though I’m not 100% certain, I think this book would be classified as a YA novel since the main characters are 18 (a high schooler) and 21 (an almost college grad).  As a reader, I “like” YA novels, but I don’t usually love them.  My biggest pet peeve is that (though I’m 43), I hate when an author talks down to young readers and assumes all of their life problems are frivolous.  This is where Colleen Hoover greatly succeeds where other authors often leave me irritated.

The young adult characters in this book are truly inspiring.  They’re young, but their problems are “real.”  Neither is whiny or wishy-washy, but tackle their problems with the maturity of full adults.  And to be honest, I think that any “kid” in these types of situations would grow up quickly in the same way that Hoover has portrayed them.

So…what’s this book about?  I can’t give you a lot of detail without ruining it for you, but I’ll try to break it down.  Layken has recently turned 18.  Her father has suddenly passed away and her mother moves her and her 9-year old brother, Kel, to Michigan from their home in Texas.  They move next door to a young man, Will, who is 21 and raising his 9-year old brother after the sudden death two years previous of both of their parents.  He’s grown up quickly to be both mother and father to his younger brother, and he’s taken on more responsibilities than a “kid” his age should ever have to take on.  But he’s done it admirably well.

Within only a couple of days of becoming neighbors, the two younger brothers quickly become best friends and Layken and Will acknowledge their chemistry and begin a relationship.  The chemistry takes them both off guard, but the reader immediately realizes that this is going to be a very special couple.  After only one date, Layken and Will are suddenly hit with a brick wall that will keep them apart in spite of how much they want to be together.  I can’t tell you what that brick wall is, but I can tell you that it seems completely insurmountable even for the reader.  There is simply no good solution that will allow the two to continue a relationship.

Slammed is a beautiful story of two young people – far older and wiser than their years – who understand the importance of commitment and responsibility.  It’s sweet and heartbreaking (for a variety of reasons), and there are moments when you are so proud of one or both of the characters for taking a stand in moments where they should be intimidated.  The bottom line is that this is an excellent read.

I’d recommend this book for YA readers (15+, probably) as well as for adults.  There is no gratuitous sex, so the subject matter – while sometimes difficult – is completely appropriate for younger readers as well as interesting enough to keep the interest of older readers.

Very nicely done!

This books is available in traditional format at the Rochester Public Library.