Wednesday, August 14, 2013
The Slammed trilogy by Colleen Hoover is a chronicle of the relationship between Will and Layken, neighbors who share tragic similarities in their family situations and who also experience quite a bit of turmoil in their relationship. The series is pretty unique and I don't want to give too much away, so just know these things:
* Will and Layken's relationship is forbidden, which makes them crazy
* A lot of their relationship develops around poetry slams
* Their families will break your heart
* If you don't listen to the Avett Brothers, you will.
There are several things that I really loved about this series as a whole. First of all, I think Hoover did an excellent job of conveying the emotion that each character felt in a very true way. They didn't always handle difficult situations with grace; in fact, for the most part each character was a complete mess when disaster struck. However, to me that is very real, and made the books much more relatable. While I'm on the subject of the characters relatability, let me also mention that the books are filled with inside jokes that develop throughout the series, which makes the characters and their lives seem so real. They have funny little terms for situations and experiences (an example would be "basagna," otherwise known as lasagna as pronounced by a little kid, and a portent for evil). While these books are in no way fantasy, the closest approximation I can come up with that describes what Colleen Hoover does is "world-building." These characters exist in their little universe in Ypsilanti, Michigan, and she brings the reader in effortlessly. We know what they are thinking, how they will react to certain situations. I found myself bracing for certain tense situations as if it was my own life. These books definitely wrap the reader up in their world, and definitely elicit tears along the way.
My list of complaints is short. First of all, it is a little bit unbelievable that Will and Layken's personal situations were so similar. While I appreciated how it brought them closer, it was a little hard for me to suspend disbelief at that one aspect of their lives. It wasn't enough to turn me off the book, but it did niggle a bit. Secondly, you could almost skip the last book. There is some new information in it, but for the most part it is a rehashing of Slammed, only from Will's point of view. The last scene brought me to tears, and there were a few choice bits of information that had been left out of Slammed, but for the most part the book was not very satisfying. However, overall this series was moving and an excellent reading experience.
Slammed: 4 stars
Point of Retreat: 3.5 stars
This Girl: 3 stars
Warnings (for the series as a whole): Detailed makeout scenes, language