I was first introduced to Colleen Hoover at a book club, when we read one of her other novels, November 9. The club seriously slammed the book for so many reasons, but I still enjoyed the author’s writing style, so I thought I’d give her another chance.
At the very least, I can say the book was entertaining. I read it all in one day because I needed to find out what happened next, sort of like a Korean-drama addict when I can’t stop myself from pressing the “Next Episode” button despite that I hadn’t slept in two days.
Here is the blurb from Goodreads (which, as always, I did not read before I started this book. Surprise!):
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.
I’m not saying I hated Slammed. I’m just saying that reading it was a bit frustrating. Maybe I don’t like reading about teen romance in general? I like my young adult dating to be done behind the front stage while the teens are conquering the world or defeating evil or epic-fantasying themselves out. So yeah, it’s my fault that I picked up a teen romance book.
Here are some things I just couldn’t get on board with.
The fact that Will and Layken fall instantly in love
I don’t believe in love at first sight. I do get that there are some people you meet and are instantly attracted to, but. Come on. Serial killers and society have made us assume that all strangers are creepers until proven otherwise. Why is Layken trusting this guy so much already just because he has a little brother the same age as hers?
Will being creepy like literally the day after they first meet
Sure, everyone likes a guy with confidence and all. But he’s already touching her freely, examining her shoulder when they barely even know each other? Not cool. Here’s a quote from the book:
It startles me when I feel him brush the hair off my shoulder and touch my neck. His fingers slip under the collar of my shirt and he pulls it slightly down over my shoulder. “You’re going to need a new bandage soon.” He pulls my shirt back up and gives it a pat. His fingers leave a streak of heat across my neck.”
They have probably known each other a collective of one hour, two hours tops. No. Just no.
Their love is just oh so perfect–at the beginning
Gag me. When they first meet and have their date and everything, it’s like the world is rainbows and unicorns and butterflies. It was just a little too sweet. I get it though. The author was setting up their infallible relationship so that when crap hit the fan, it got all over the room too. But it was still a little cringey to read.
Layken seriously needs to stop wailing and whining and making it all about herself. I mean people have cancer and she’s all woe-is-me, I can’t make out with my boyfriend because society. I’m not saying people had cancer like how my mom always tells me kids are starving in Africa. People in the book. Literally had cancer. Or died. And she’s hiding in her non-boyfriend’s house having a weird breakdown organizing his CD collection.
I’m not the only one who thinks this. Will, her love interest, shares my opinion. More than halfway through the book, he’s all “Are you that selfish that you don’t give a crap about anyone else’s problems?” It was like YES THANK YOU, PLEASE TELL HER TO SHUT UP. I mean, her mom just told her she has CANCER! And she’s crying about her own problems!
What. Just. What.
Here’s what I enjoyed about the book
Her best friend Eddie is super cool. One of those kids you wished you had met when you were new to a high school.
I totally related to Layken when she was all “It’s weird when your best friend has a better best friend.” Growing up in a big city, it is hard to actually make real, stable relationships despite that you’re constantly surrounded by people.
Despite that Layken often came off as whiny, spoiled and self-absorbed, Colleen Hoover created a character who was lonely and complicated and real. Layken had been through a lot of grief and trauma, and then she had to fall in love on top of it. I can understand her emotional meltdowns to a point. She was just a little annoying sometimes.
But let’s not let Will off the hook. I mean, after he found out why they couldn’t be together and he asked her to quit his class, he should have followed through. No good came from her remaining his student. I get it, Slam Poetry changed their lives and she needed to stay in the class for the sake of the story. But Will making the decision to let her stay said a lot about his character.
Not that I wouldn’t have done the same thing in his place. I’m weak too. It also irked me that he was just as fickle. He was supposed to be the responsible older adult. Yet it was Will who kept pulling Layken back when he should have set boundaries on their relationship. Like seriously? You can’t keep it in your pants for a few months?
Anyway now that the rant is over, I have to say I did enjoy the book. I read it straight through in one day. And now that I realized it’s part of a trilogy, I have to look into the other books. The author knows how to keep you hooked. Her characters have a real voice and she builds a wonderful cast and world.