Monday, December 10, 2012

Slammed by Colleen Hoover


Layken's father died suddenly, leaving her to gather every ounce of strength to be a pillar for her family, in order to prevent their world from falling apart. Now her life is taking another unexpected turn…
Layken's mother gets a job which leads to an unwanted move across country. However, a new home means new neighbours… and Layken's new neighbour is the very attractive Will Cooper.

Will has an intriguing passion for slam poetry, and a matching passion for life. The two feel an irresistible attraction but are rocked to the core when a shocking revelation brings their romance to a screeching halt.

Layken and Will must find a way to fight the forces that threaten to tear them apart… or learn to live without each other.

I'd heard good things about Slammed so decided to give it a go. First off I hadn't seen any slam poetry in a while so the first thing I did when I'd finished was to check some out on YouTube. It's powerful stuff, full of raw emotion. It's not something I've ever come across in fiction before but it really adds depth to an already great story. Layken isn't happy and she has every reason to be miserable: her father's unexpected death, moving from Texas to Michigan and leaving her whole life behind. When she finally gets to her new house she finds a boy the same age as her little brother, Kel who has a much older brother - Will. They immediately hit it off. He introduces her to slam poetry and she starts to feel something other than grief and despair for the first time in months.

However, on her first day at her new school she attends poetry class where she gets a terrible surprise. Although the premise of star-crossed lovers is nothing new, Slammed crackles with originality and it's not just because of the poetry. Each chapter is prefaced with lyrics from The Avett Brothers which add an element of rawness. Layken's new best friend, Eddie, is one of the most awesome secondary characters of 2012. She has such a richly imagined story that I cared as much about her story as I did about Layken's. For starters she named herself after Eddie Izzard - how cool is that? Her backstory is so heartbreaking but she's ridiculously well-rounded and mature. Because of her there's no new-girl-gets-ignored-at-school goings-on. Instead they fall into this brilliant friendship and eventually one of Eddie's scenes makes me cry. 

In fact, I cried a few times reading Slammed. There's a plot twist that I really didn't see coming and a heartwarming ending. There's only one part of this book that I didn't like and it's something that I've seen in a few New Adult books that I've read recently. Love interest Will beats up a boy and Layken initially thinks that Will was preventing her from being attacked. Later it's revealed that he punched him out of jealously which makes her realise that he really does have feelings for her after all. I think this is the fourth book I've read in a row where violence is woven up with the business of complicated emotions and falling in love. In all of these books the violence is seen as evidence of the depth of the male characters' emotions. All of these books have been page turners but violence seems to be becoming a, "thing," that, for me, is pretty unwelcome.

So, apart from the above, I enjoyed Slammed. Part of me is also hoping for a story from Colleen Hoover with the wonderful Eddie as the main character. 

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