Keertana's Reviews > Slammed

Slammed by Colleen Hoover
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's review
May 31, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: debut-author-2012, why-the-hype
Read from May 31 to June 01, 2012

Rating: 2.5 Stars

Slammed is a book that has been making waves on GoodReads – big waves, popular waves, amazing waves! Waves that have words floating in them like original and heart-breaking and tear-jerker and romantic and deep and thought-provoking. Waves that, quite unfortunately, led me believe that at least some of these qualities, if not all, would be present in Slammed. Needless to say, I was terribly disappointed by the story I found within the covers of this ever-so-popular novel and Slammed failed to make me join its wave of ardent supporters.

First and foremost, I need to give credit where credit is due. I knew absolutely nothing about slam poetry before I read Colleen Hoover’s debut novel, so she gets immediate props for incorporating a rich, unique, and original idea into this tale. Unfortunately, that’s where the originality comes to an end. Slammed starts off with Layken (Lake) moving to Michigan after the sudden death of her father and, like so many female protagonists these days, she immediately meets a dashing young man – Will. Will is twenty-one, handsome, sweet, and Layken is half in love with him the first time they meet. After the second chapter, where Layken and Will go on – what I must admit – is a rather amazing first date, Layken couldn’t be more excited to have moved to Michigan. That’s when things begin to go downhill. Enter the classic obstacle: forbidden love. Layken and Will quickly realize that they can’t be together (view spoiler) and Layken’s life is turned upside down, for the second time in a matter of months. If Layken’s growing attraction to her off-the-limits neighbor isn’t enough on her plate, her brother and Will’s brother are best friends (making Will rather unavoidable), her father’s death still hangs over her like the plague, and her mother just may be hiding away the biggest secret of all.

Slammed had an immense amount of potential – potential that could have been changed into a truly fantastic story – if only this had been further edited, poked, and prodded before going into publication. I had a problem with Slammed from the very beginning because Will and Lake’s love story was simply too unbelievable. I definitely believe that two people can have a connection when they meet – one that makes them want to go on a date although they’ve only known each other for hours. I can also believe that a first date may go so splendidly that you end up really liking the person. What I can’t believe is that after a first date you find it physically painful to have to stay away from a person because you’ve already fallen in love with them. Yes, it is probably hard to distance yourself, but Will and Lake had so much passion and steam and lust between them that it felt as if they had known each other for years, not days. It felt far too unrealistic to me. Furthermore, since this entire romance was practically the plot for the whole story, I was constantly reminded about the implausibility of their depth of feelings for each other. I suppose for a serial drama this would suffice, but not for a contemporary romance novel. If Will and Layken’s love story had been better developed and had more than two chapters devoted to it, I would have definitely liked this book a lot better than I did.

That being said, Slammed did have a lot of ideas working for it:
- Tragic Pasts. Nearly every single YA character has some type of tragic or traumatic past, but I felt as if Will, Layken, and Eddie’s past traumas were very realistically portrayed. Eddie, for those of you who haven’t read Slammed yet, is Layken’s best friend and perhaps my favorite character in the story. She, in my opinion, has suffered through so much more than the other characters and yet she still manages to face her life with spunk, happiness, and joy. Furthermore, I loved the little life lessons sprinkled throughout the unfolding of this story – lessons learned from Will, from Layken, and from their interactions with one another. It was sweet and added an informative element to the story that only made it better.
- Relationships. I don’t mean romantic relationships, because you all know how I felt about that one. I’m talking about the relationship Will and Layken had with their younger brothers. I too have a younger brother and can speak from experience and aver that it was very realistic and heart-warming. I also loved how Layken’s relationship with her mother unfolded and progressed. Although I found it a tad bit unrealistic while I read it at first, it grew on me and I realized that if I found out something that traumatic about my own mother, I would probably react in a similar manner – denial. So, all in all, the non-romantic relationships were deep, thoughtful, and provocatively written.

This brings me to my next point – a negative one mind you – about originality. I already said that Hoover incorporated an original idea of slam poetry into this story and I truly enjoyed that, but either than that, this story was shockingly lacking uniqueness. Will and Layken’s relationship played out like a typical forbidden romance plays out – aka an endless game of making out and then walking away and then talking and then making out and then walking away again. It was frustrating and honestly, I wasn’t very invested into their story. I liked Layken and Will as individual characters and I liked them as friends, but somehow when they were together as a couple, I never really saw what was so amazing about the two of them. Furthermore, just when I felt like I was about to give Layken a high-five for moving on, something always happened to make her go back or re-question her decision or something! There was no closure until the end and although the ending was dripping, diabetically, insanely sweet and cute, I felt as if I was choking on endless spoonfuls of cliché. Speaking of clichés, the manner in which Layken’s mother’s secret was handled was also immensely cliché. In fact, it felt as if half the scenes came straight out of the movie Stepmom and all the truly heart-wrenching aspects of this type of a relationship and situation were taken out and replaced by another sickly sweet epilogue. I admire Hoover for tackling on such an important and serious event and I commend her for putting together so much tragedy and pain into one story, but at the end of the day, it just didn’t work. Slammed would probably be better suited as a movie rather than a book because all the details I wanted, the thoughtful insights I yearned to glean, and the provocative ideas that were supposed to be floating in my mind all night never came. Instead, I was just given a giant dose of romance – which wasn’t bad, but I was expecting a lot more.

Slammed is the perfect book if you’re looking for a light, easy, and albeit dramatic read. It’s a quick page turner, it keeps your interest, but it never made me shed a tear. It also never inspired any true emotion in me except for laughter in certain parts and ended up being a lot more vapid than I originally anticipated. For such a popular book, Slammed has a strangely cliché and unoriginal story. Will I be continuing with this series? Yes, because there’s only one more book and as much as I didn’t like this one, I’m hoping the second one will be better. Plus, there’s something almost cathartic about slam poetry – I’m slowly starting to love it. If you pick up Slammed for any reason, pick it up for the poetry. That, more than anything else in the book, is truly worth the hype.
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Reading Progress

6.0% " "May the force be with you!" I may not particularly like the unoriginal, typical, romantic direction this story is taking, but there's no denying that a Star Wars reference is a surefire way into my heart, so maybe this won't be too bad?" 4 comments
03/04/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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message 1: by Lissy (new)

Lissy I decided to check this book out because I recently read Hopeless, Hoover's newest masterpiece. I really loved hopeless, and I think its my new favorite book. It would suck to get into this book with high expectations and face a big disappointment, so thanks for your review. I'll approach this book knowing what to expect when and if I read it. I've read some of your reviews and I think you would love hopeless as well. I would like to see what you think about it.

Keertana I didn't plan on reading Hopeless since I wasn't a fan of this one, but perhaps I'll give it a shot, Lissy!(: Also, I hope you enjoy this one if you go into it with slightly altered expectations! :D

Lisa Taylor GREAT review! Exactly how I felt - just not able to put it in words as well as you. I, too, will read the next one.

Loved Hopeless!

Keertana Oh, really? I'll check out Hopeless then if you weren't as impressed with this but were really impressed with that one. Thanks, Lisa! :)

Ashley For the record, I enjoyed Slammed (4 stars), hated Point of Retreat (2 stars-ish.. can't remember), but LOOOVED Hopeless. It's a completely different book.

Keertana I'm glad to hear it, Ashley! I usually avoid reading an author I've not truly enjoyed, but I really will have to give Hopeless a try now. Thanks for the input! :)

Lisa Taylor Keertana wrote: "Oh, really? I'll check out Hopeless then if you weren't as impressed with this but were really impressed with that one. Thanks, Lisa! :)"

You're welcome! I look forward to seeing what you thought of Hopeless :-)

Josephine  (reading in twilight) I just started this last night, and I agree, generally. :D Thanks for reviewing it!

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