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.
I read this on the heels of Hopeless and while I enjoy that story more, Slammed was still a wonderful read and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Colleen Hoover really knows how to create dialogue and seems quite talented at crafting compelling characters. Lake and Will are at times hysterical, they are thoughtful and kind, they are introspective and vulnerable. I wanted to hug them both when their relationship hit the wall. It was agonizing. What was nice, however, is that I understood their motivation, however stupid or silly their reactions were, and that's a testament to Colleen Hoover's writing prowess. Slammed very easily could have devolved into an angst-fest. But it didn't. And regardless of how juvenile Lake sometimes acted, it was appropriate and never taken too far. What also bears mentioning is that Colleen Hoover has an exceptional way of balancing the soft and hard elements of her characters. Let me explain. She allows them to ache and yearn and hurt, but gives them a sense of humor and sarcasm which is lovely. I laughed out loud at their antics and dialogue in one moment, and ached for them the next. It was really exceptionally and tastefully done.
In addition, secondary characters like Kel, Caulder, Eddie and Lake's mom are really well crafted. They helped flesh out the storytelling and offered a means by which to know our primary characters better. Too often, these kinds of characters get lost in the storytelling, but that simply isn't the case with Slammed. Each voice was disctinct and individual, each person unique. I adored getting to know them all.
My favorite parts were the slams, which allowed the reader to really get inside Will's head. I loved it. What an interesting and refreshing concept, one that was skillfully done. I adored how Colleen Hoover incorporated these dialogues into the book, allowing us to share these feelings, while offering us a new perspective on self-examination. It truly was amazing.
Why it lost a bit of praise from me: it wasn't flawless. There were some choppy transitions and elements which could and should have been more deeply explored. There were also some grammatical issues, but I've forgiven those. Lastly, there was a shift in Lake's mom's attitude toward Will which was neither explained or explored. Why she drifted so dramatically from adamant and staunch refusal to allow Lake and Will to foster their relationship to utter acceptance of it was a bit unbelievable. I understand her trepidation and reticence, I would feel that way too, so why the sudden and absolute reversal in thinking? It seems a simple enough thing to explain, just a paragraph or two would have sufficed, I think. It just wasn't there and it bugged the crap out of me.
In any event, read Slammed. It was good, really, really good. And Will Cooper is now one of my favorite boys.