Melissa's Reviews > Slam

Slam by Nick Hornby
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's review
Feb 18, 2009

4Q 4P J

Slam is my selection for a sports-oriented Best Book for Young Adults. The main character Sam is 15 years-old and an avid skater. He idolizes skater Tony Hawk, and relates his book “Hawk- Occupation: Skateboarder” to his own life. The best gift he ever received was a poster of Tony Hawk, which was given to him by his mother. The poster on the wall quickly becomes his confidant, someone to share with and talk to. “Tony Hawk” provides responses and advice in return, all in relation to his book. This aspect of the book reminded me of “White Darkness” in which Sim idolized Titus Oates, conversing with him and drawing upon his experiences to survive her own Antarctic adventure. In Slam, Sam is an only child living with his mother. He was an unexpected pregnancy, born to two young teenagers. His parents married but were not compatible, and quickly divorced. Ironically, Sam soon finds himself in the same situation with his pregnant girlfriend Alicia. The book looks at teenage pregnancy from the vantage point of a teen father; finding out about the pregnancy and wanting to run away, the fear of telling their own parents about the pregnancy, trying to live together and care for their baby, learning to change diapers, etc. The character’s voice was thus authentic and believable. Developmentally it addresses dating, teen pregnancy, the impact on high school and college. The book also incorporates the sports aspect and teen interests. The book incorporated skater language or lingo, it may be an interesting extension activity to have teens compile a dictionary of skater terms to help define the various tricks, etc.


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