Rating: 2/5 stars.
I cannot count on my fingers and toes how many times I wanted to throw this book across the room. Or better yet, slam it down on the floor. (get it? “slam”?)
I kid. I didn’t have such an intense reaction to Slammed. I barely had any reaction at all; I sat through the book like one sits through a cheesy, melodramatic romance movie. Bored and waiting for the next feature, or in this case, the next typo…
Slammed had such a fascinating premise. My favorite part of the book was Hoover’s inclusion of slam poetry, because I had only heard about it a couple of times before reading the book. Hoover incorporated love at first sight, forbidden romance, death, tragedy, and a multitude of other themes/motifs in the story. It should’ve been fantastic.
But it wasn’t. The main character, Layken, goes on a date with 21-year-old Will. They go to a club together where they witness some slam poetry. The next day, something happens that threatens their relationship. Here’s Layken’s perspective:
His words cause me to wince, because I know deep down he’s right. Whatever was happening with us, it was more than just an infatuation. I can’t possibly comprehend at this moment what it must be like to actually have a broken heart. If it hurts even one percent more than the pain I’m feeling now, I’ll forego love. It’s not worth it.
What? How did this happen? They went on one date and already her entire world breaks into bite-sized pieces? I don’t dismiss the notion of strong, instantaneous connections (check out Gayle Forman’s Just One Day to see what I mean) but the development of Layken and Will’s romance lacked explanation and felt cliche. I did not discern an adequate amount of characterization or a proper setup of what comprised their emotions for one another.
Layken annoyed me to no end as well. As a seventeen-year-old, I found her overreactions, insensitivity, and constant mood swings flabbergasting. Sure, some eighteen-year-olds may act a lot more immaturely than I do, but Layken had no consistent traits that endeared me to her; the only part of her personality that I picked up after 311 pages was her tendency to almost move on from an incident one moment and then get irrationally upset about it the next. Will’s character bothered me too – he’s 21 and acted responsibly in some scenarios, but contradicted his character altogether other times just to further the romance.
That brings me to my next point: plot. Hoover threw so many “issues” into the story that never progressed to their full potential. I expected touching, deep, tear-jerking moments, only to receive temper tantrum after temper tantrum after temper tantrum. Nothing felt sincere or true.
I wish I could have connected to the characters or the story or the writing as others on Goodreads have. But Slammed fell short; I felt like everything about it could have been done so much better if it had been broken up into different books or edited more. I would only recommend this if you’re looking for a mindless, mawkish read with a dearth of emotional depth.