Sunday, February 3, 2013

Slammed - Easy and Youthful but still Deep and Engaging

Slammed (Slammed, #1)Slammed by Colleen Hoover
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I started this 7+ hour audio last night and finished it the afternoon, so I guess I'll have to admit that I enjoyed it quite a bit. Sure, there were some things that irked me (including the narrator since it was audio - I was picturing how the structure of much of the writing would have looked on paper and I would have read it differently and thus possibly enjoyed it even more).

The story focuses on the possible relationship between Layken and Will, the instant and insurmountable bond between their little brothers, Kel and Callden (sp? It was audio!) and the emotion and hardship filled reasons for them to have ever met in the first place. There were times when I found eighteen year old Layken to be a bit immature, which bothered me at first considering the author was trying to sell me on her fateful relationship with 21 year old Will (we all know how much difference a few years can make when you're that age!) but I realized later on that this actually helped me to think of her as real. It was kind of refreshing that she didn't quite fit into the protagonist cliche that has been dragging me down lately, particularly in many YA novels. She was pretty instead of being the plain-jane little sister. She seemed to be of relatively normal intelligence, not the super smart and geeky sibling that "just didn't fit in". She was confident, not constantly in the shadow of the "better" sibling and sitting aside waiting to be noticed and appreciated. She actually seemed like a pretty normal teenager. Will, on the other hand, was definitely the way too good fairly tale. While that bothered me at first also, I had to remind myself that these guys really do exist in the world. Granted, most 21 year olds are definitely NOT to this stage, but he has also experienced a lot more of life's ups and downs than any 21 year old I have ever known.

There were also a few elements of the story that were a bit of stretch in the believability category, but it was overall engaging and enjoyable. There were many places that pulled at the heartstrings and many others that were laugh out loud funny. The supporting characters, particularly Kel and Callden, were easy to fall in love with. Their 9 year old views on the hardships faced by their families were also so refreshing and enlightening. Their coping mechanisms were something that can only be successfully utilized by the young and innocent - oh to be 9 years old again!

But please folks, can we get over this new concept of completely random names? Layken? Callden? A girl named Eddie? Really?! One of these alone would have been OK, but to pile them all on into one book is a bit excessive. Is this a way of trying to make them more memorable? If so, it certainly worked, but not in the right way. My memory of a character will ultimately boil down to if they were actually a well written character, good or bad, and all I'm going to remember about their name was that it was stupid.

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