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. (Goodreads synopsis)
“Falling in love can feel like poetry. Or it can feel like a slam to the heart.”
I read this book in February 2013 and couldn’t wait to share it with all of my friends and now on this new blog. This story is so unique, insightful and smart. The use of The Avett Brothers (whom I LOVE) in the beginning of each chapter was brilliant. It made me go back through my collection of their songs and play a bit before each chapter to set the mood. There are not many things that I love more than the combination of music and literature. Sigh…
Every character was so well developed and added such richness to the entire story. Even though the story focused mostly on Layken and Will’s relationship, the sub characters and their involvement with one another made you feel like you were a part of their inside circle. Julia, Eddie, Gavin, Kel and Caulder were such amazing additions to the plot and I love how Colleen Hoover develops each personality making a “new family” for the ones who were shattered from heartache. I could spend hours and paragraphs about these characters from Julia’s amazing advice and strength, Eddie’s honesty and friendship, Kel and Caulder’s innocence and acceptance and Gavin’s kindness and humor.
Julia to Layken: “There are three questions every woman should be able to answer yes to before they commit to a man. If you answer no to any of the three questions, run like hell.”
“Does he treat you with respect at all times? That’s the first question. The second question is, if he is the exact same person twenty years from now that he is today, would you still want to marry him? And finally, does he inspire to be a better person? You find someone you can answer yes to all three, then you’ve found a good man.”
I have never attended a slam poetry session and was blown away by how touching and intelligent these poems were. They were not preachy but fill you with wisdom and enlightenment while navigating through life’s trying times. When Will and Layken are unable to “be together” they use the medium of poetry to express their feelings to one another. Not just about their forbidden love but about what they are going through within their personal lives.
“I got schooled this year
A boy that I’m seriously, deeply, madly, incredibly, and undeniably in love with.
And he taught me the most important thing of all…
To put the emphasis
On life .”
The relationship of Will and Layken was more than a love story or a rushed romance that too many books seem to do lately. It was not reduced to smutty scenes that left little to the imagination. They have amazing chemistry and respect one another on many levels. The story might seem heavy to someone reading the review or the synopsis for the first time but I can reassure that there are many laugh out loud moments and great banter between ALL the characters.
“I have just experienced the most passionate kiss I’ve ever received from a guy, and it was on the freaking forehead!”
The story perfectly portrays that happiness, grief, love and loss can coexist when patience and appreciation for one another is acknowledged. Friendships are important, even vital, and when the family you have is not enough or no longer around, these new acquaintances become so much more.
“Be accepting. Of everything. People’s differences, their similarities, their choices, their personalities. Sometimes it takes a variety to make a good collection. The same goes for people.”
*Need more Will and Layken? Point of Retreat is the second book in this series. NO, there is no cliffhanger in Slammed, it’s just another wonderful dose of Colleen Hoover’s great story-telling and to see how the characters evolve into the new situations they experienced from Slammed. (don’t want to give anything away 🙂 ) A review coming soon.