Thursday, November 1, 2012

SLAMMED!!! What do Chuck Norris and Poetry Have in Common?

Author Colleen Hoover

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.
Review:  I think I just did a Chuck Norris round house kick to the 'hell yeah!' If you haven't read this book, or have it collecting dust on your shelf, stop what you're doing and get it! Bump it up in your must read pile! I'll wait...hurry up, go get it!  This book was recommended to me a while ago and I debated because the synopsis really didn't grab me. Boy, was I a ding dong! Thank you NetGalley for giving me a second chance to review this exquisite read. Don't let the back cover blurb fool you, this isn't just another teen drama, but a goose bump, toe-curling, tear-jerking, comical and gut-wrenching miraculous book. I swear, I physically ran the gamut on emotions. It was like I had the worst case of PMS ever to hit my body in a 24 hour period, but instead of hormones, this was literary induced. Perhaps I should note: I have only cried once (yes, once!) while reading a book, so I'm not a gooey girl by a long shot. However, I must confess the content hit on real life issues I've similarly experienced. Even if you haven't gone through similar trials and tribulations, I can't image any reader would not be able to connect with the characterization and depiction of the topics. Seriously, if you don't get all funny feeling at some point during this read you need to go see the Wizard, because your heart is obviously made of tin!  
Yep, this was me!
Snot bubbles and all!

Deep breath....okay, now that I've gone all fan girl, let me talk seriously about what makes it great. The voice is genuine and consistent. It also varies between characters, making them unique and easy to decipher. From the beginning, you get a clear idea of style and pacing without it being predictable. The author throws in a few zingers and twists proving they don't have to be totally unrealistic to get you gasping. Because of this, it is the type of read you'll probably not want to put down. I read it in a day because I just didn't want to stop! Without giving too much away, the involvement of musical lyrics at the beginning of the chapters is working on multiple levels. This is important and enriches the purpose making the inclusion more than just a cool idea. The tie-in to the rhythm of the characters lives measured against the meter of slam poetry, and coupled with driving meaning behind the lyrical proses is an ambitious task that Hoover pulls off masterfully. Bravo! As I said, this is so much more than just another teen drama. It will appeal to a wide readership. Slammed is an engaging, entertaining, moving and best of all, it comes across as what seems to be an effortless work of literature, but it's not.  It is complex enough to be discussed, compared and contrasted with other literary works. I recommend Slammed for a personal read, classroom or book group. Just remember if you're reading it anywhere outside of your house, bring Kleenex!  
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*ARC provided by Simon & Schuster courtesy of NetGalley

But wait!  There is more!  Book two in the Slammed Series

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