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
“All it’ll take is just one moment,
And you can say goodbye to how we had it planned.
Fear like a habit, run like a rabbit out and away.
Through the screen door to the unknown.”- Live and Die by The Avett Brothers
The Avett Brothers, this band will forever be the soundtrack to Colleen Hoover‘s “Slammed” for me. Every time I listen to the melodic symphony of words I am transported to the world of Lake and Will. It’s interesting how amazingly each song from this band can be used to play out a chapter in the book. They go hand in hand in my eyes.
Slammed is many things to many people. It is an homage to a band and a poetic art form known as Slam. It is a forbidden love story between two people who fall in love but shouldn’t. It is a moral about what makes up a family unit. But out of all these things it is a story about the strength of the human spirit.
At first glance Slammed appears to be a sweet YA story. Young girl going through hard time, dealing with very emotional and life changing issues moves to a new town meets a charming handsome young man and falls madly in love. Yes Slammed is a love story but it is also so much more than that.
In Slammed we are introduced to Lake, her mother and brother who have moved from Texas to a completely new state after the loss of her father. Upon arriving in their new home Lake soon meets Will, a charming handsome young man, and her neighbor. Soon the two begin a relationship that is cut too short due to external influences.
The aspect that I personally found the most endearing and wonderful in this novel is not the love story. Please don’t misunderstand Will is adorable and I absolutely love him, but where as I tend to lean towards books with great leading men, in “Slammed” it was other things I tended to enjoy more. I loved the bond of family, in Slammed, Ms. Hoover demonstrated how family can be so much more than a nuclear model.
I loved how the novel painted the bonds of friendship, and the importance of loyalty. In the novel we see how your friends can become these pivotal figures in your life, how these friendships can weave a web so strong that nothing and no one can permeate it. The one aspect of this novel that I loved beyond all reason is the fact that Ms. Hoover highlights in bright bold colours the importance of loyalty, courage, hope, and love. We see the characters all struggle with different situations, in varying degrees of severity. They have highs and lows, but through out it all the themes of loyalty, love, and hope resonate.
I would like to discuss another central character in the novel, the poetic art form known as slammed. I first discovered slamming many moons ago in high school. What attracted me to slam poetry is the same thing that attracted me to Nirvana. It`s this raw, honest and completely naked art form that allows you to be a voyeur in the best sense of the word. Slam poetry is from the gut, these kids go up on stage and just lay it out there for you. It`s as if they are cut open and bleeding for the art, it is amazing, a life changing experience and beyond worth the experience. If you have never been to a poetry slam, you must go.
In the novel, the use of Slam poetry is so accurate to how I have seen the use of the art form in real life. Slamming in the book was used to express thoughts, feelings, and emotions that are so raw that normal speech could not do it justice. Through slam poetry, Ms. Hoover draws us further into the lives of the characters, it was how the biggest moments in the novel are revealed and exposed. I found this fascinating, because in Slams this is usually the case, the poets darkest, deepest, and most intimate thoughts and emotions come out in the intense performance that leaves you utterly breathless.
If you are interested in Slam poetry, and want further resources, there are two artists that I love, Common and Michael Franti, both these men have a way about them, they are hip hop artists with a lot of soul. There is also a HBO show called Brave New Voices, this is all the young slam poets in America at their best. Phenomenal and gut wrenching.
My final thoughts, if you have yet to read Slammed by Colleen Hoover you need to. This is a novel that will move you. Thank you Ms. Hoover for this story, for the beauty of your words, and for introducing me to a band I simply adore.
I give Slammed 5 stars
Tamie’s thoughts: When I saw the title of this book and read the synopsis I had to buy and read it. Not only have I attended poetry slams, but I have competed in them…that was many years ago, but the experience is something that lives with you forever. It’s intense and enriching and freeing all at the same time. This book was an absolute treat. Partially, because of the topic that is so dear to me, but also because it’s just a beautifully written story. Poetry, romance, and interesting characters are all combined in Slammed. If you haven’t read it yet, I would highly recommend it. Thanks to Neda for recommending it to me.
Words I used to live by once upon a time…