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Publisher: Atria Books
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Falling in love can feel like poetry. Or it can feel like a slam to the heart.Every so often I am blown away by how much I enjoy and connect to a story. Slammed is one of those rare books. From the first few pages I found myself sucked into Layken's story and was heartbroken time and time again as her life took turns I didn't want it to. Since finishing the book last week, I've found myself thinking about the story and I am so excited to start Point of Retreat. I don't know what expectations I had for this story, but they were far exceeded.
Following the unexpected death of her father, eighteen-year-old Layken becomes the rock for both her mother and younger brother. She appears resilient and tenacious, but inside, she's losing hope. Then she meets her new neighbor Will, a handsome twenty-one-year-old whose mere presence leaves her flustered and whose passion for poetry slams thrills her.
Not long after a heart-stopping first date during which each recognizes something profound and familiar in the other, they are slammed to the core when a shocking discovery brings 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 forces that tear them apart. Only through the poetry they share are they able to speak the truth that is in their hearts and imagine a future where love is cause for celebration, not regret.
Layken's had a rough time. First, her father dies unexpectedly. Then her mother up and moves the family from sunny Texas to chilly Michigan. Then she meets the boy of her dreams, only to learn they can't be together and there's nothing she can do about it. In her struggles to be at peace with her father's death, forgive her mother, and cope with the loss of hopes for a happy future, we are taken on a journey of love, loss, forgiveness, compassion, and family.
I'll happily admit this book made me cry. Several times. I'm quite the emotional reader, but not all--or many, really--books touch me enough to really cry. A lot of what Slammed deals with are deep fears of my own. (Not the part about why she can't date Will, though!) I don't think I could handle what she goes through, but reading about a character who deals with hardship in a realistic way is so refreshing. She gets mad and goes storming off. Layken can be selfish and doesn't set her priorities properly, but these are mistakes we all make--especially as teenagers. But seeing Layken overcome her these mistakes for the good of her family is so satisfying and touching.
Yes, there are flaws in Slammed, but they hardly detracted from my reading experience. This one definitely takes the cake as my favorite new adult novel--if that's what you classify it as, otherwise I just loved it. :)