I picked up the Slammed series by Colleen Hoover on a whim after seeing several positive reviews on Goodreads. There has been an explosion of YA contemporary/ New Adult books by indie authors lately and it’s exciting to see all these fresh new voices on the scene. I’ve just started getting my feet wet with the indie scene but I’ve been pretty lucky with what I’ve read so far. The characters and emotional connection in Slammed made this series memorable for me. And the inclusion of slam poetry in the storytelling is a great touch. I’m including my thoughts on each book and a chance to win e-books of them both.
In Slammed, 18-year-old Layken (Lake) moves with her mother and little brother to a new town after the death of her father. She meets her new neighbor, 21-year-old Will and his younger brother who are living on their own after losing their parents. Will and Lake hit it off right away and he introduces her to his passion slam poetry. But soon their relationship veers off course with the introduction of a shocking reveal. And then there’s another whammy that hits Lake that has her needing Will more than ever.
I could feel the raw emotion and chemistry between Will and Lake. Even though they fall for each other awfully fast the obstacles and tension between them kept things from being too predictable. Even when they are apart you could feel the magnet pulling them back together. Both characters have a lot of baggage in their lives but I rooted for them to make it work.
The slam poetry inclusion gives the book a creative edge and the poems are well done. There’s also a nod to the band The Avett Brothers with snippets of lyrics that introduce each chapter.
When I started the book and when I finished the book I was in an entirely different place emotionally. Some of the events hit a little too close to home in my particular situation, but ultimately I liked the journey I took with this book. And I immediately picked up the sequel, Point of Retreat.
In Point of Retreat, Will shares his point of view, and his relationship with Lake is pushed to the breaking point. A little bit of time has passed and Will and Lake are settling into a new groove. But the calm waters quickly turn rocky when some skeletons in the closet emerge.
I may have liked the sequel even better than Slammed. It was a nice change of pace to hear what Will had to say. His character voice is strong and his thoughts came through just as I imagined them. I liked hearing the male POV this time and learning more about what makes Will tick.
Both Will and Lake have younger brothers (Caulder and Kel) and they re- appear in the sequel, along with their new friend, Kiersten. Kiersten steals the show with her sarcasm and wit. She fits right into the group, and her mom is wonderful too. The kids fit seamlessly into the story and I like the family they’ve all become. And it’s great how all the kids fall in love with slam poetry.
The one reservation I have is that the drama is a little more heavy-handed this time around and went on for a little longer than I would have liked. But on the other hand there are plenty of bright spots to compensate.
These books would make an excellent addition to your summer reading. Fans of New Adult, poetry, great characters, romance, and emotional reads in general should give this series a try.