Run like hell: “Slammed” by Colleen Hoover

There are three questions every woman should be able to answer yes to before they commit to a man. If you answer no to any of the three questions, run like hell…Does he treat you with respect at all times? That’s the first question. The second question is, if he is the exact same person twenty years from now that he is today, would you still want to marry him? And finally, does he inspire to be a better person? You find someone you can answer yes to all three, then you’ve found a good man.

Slammed by Colleen Hoover
352 pages; Atria Books; September 2012
Young Adult

I really wanted to like this book.

It’s about slam poetry, you guys. What do I like so much? Poetry. I very much admire people that can get up and perform their work in front of people in that kind of environment. A romance? Involving slam poetry? That’s highly reviewed all over the place? Well. Count me in!

I really did not like this book.

Layken (don’t ask about the name, there’s an explanation for how ridiculous it is, but I’m not even going to bother telling you about it) moves from Texas to Michigan with her mother and younger brother after the unexpected death of her father. Immediately upon arrival, she meets Will, her next-door-neighbor. BAM NOW THEY ARE IN LOVE. He is a slam poet. They spend two days being all “I can’t believe this is happening” and “ZOMG EVERY TIME I KISS YOU IT IS BETTER” until they find out…DUN DUN DUN…a TERRIBLE REASON THEY CANNOT BE TOGETHER! So the rest of the book is them being all “but I love you!” “But NO NO NO WE CANNOT!” and this goes on for THREE HUNDRED AND FIFTY TWO PAGES. Also there’s more death, which is sappy as shit, and there’s this strange undercurrent of misogyny that I totally could not get over.

I really, really, REALLY did not like this book.

Without spoiling you, I can’t tell you the plot points that a., led to the “breakup” (listen, you read YA, you know it’s only temporary, I mean, TRUE LOVE WILL FIND A WAY, amiright?) or b., led to what I consider a weird daddy-complex situation and maybe a little bit of anti-feminist bullshit. I mean, someone might read this review and want to read the book. I can’t predict the future. And I hate people that spoil books in reviews, they’re just the worst.

I will tell you that Layken is the worst, you guys. And she’s the main character. She’s whiny, she thinks of no one but herself (even when she’s daintily crying over Will, it’s really about her, or supposedly taking care of her little brother, it’s still all about her), she throws these epic tantrums that would be out of place in a toddler…and everyone’s just like, “Aw, Layken, here’s a tissue, babe.” NO ONE CALLS HER ON HER SHIT. I mean, sure. Her dad died, and she got handed a shitty hand in life. Fine. Thing is, the only character I really liked (Will wasn’t TERRIBLE, but he was in love – well, the book said so, but I think really he wanted someone to take care of and boss around – with Layken) was Layken’s best friend Eddie (Eddie’s a girl, the names in this book are so awful and the explanations behind them are worse) and Eddie’s this foster kid whose mom tried to sell her in a Walmart parking lot so she could buy drugs. And even EDDIE was like, “Aw, poor Layken, your sad, sad, terrible life.” NO ONE WOULD WANT TO HANG OUT WITH LAYKEN SHE WAS JUST THE WORST EVER OF ALL THE PEOPLE EVER.

Also, slam poetry works well on a stage; it does not transcribe so well. Even GOOD slam poetry. I assume Hoover wrote the poetry in this book? It’s terrible. Just terrible. No one would perform this. If they did, they wouldn’t make it to round two of the slam, I’m telling you right now, unless maybe everyone else at the slam was performing similar garbage and you had to choose the best of a bad situation, I don’t know.

And? I am so, so, SO over books/movies/television shows with this love-at-first-sight bullshit. Lust at first sight? Yup. Attraction at first sight? Most definitely. Intrigued with someone at first sight, wanting to get to know them more? Yes, of course. It takes TIME to fall in love. How much time? I don’t know your life. Thing is, too many young people think they’re in LOVE (hearts! stars! birdies flying around their heads!) when they don’t know what that word MEANS. Love isn’t easy, chickadees, and it’s not seeing someone and being all “I WILL MARRY THAT PERSON SOMEDAY.” You have to get to know them and you have to know their crabby sides and their good sides and the fact that sometimes, it’s not all about you, and sometimes, that person’s going to act like an asshole, and sometimes, you are. And eventually, you realize, even though you both are kind of dicks now and then, you still love the big jerk, and he/she loves you. And that’s a lot more real and lasting than “I saw this guy in my driveway; I love him now the end.” THAT ISN’T HOW LOVE WORKS.

This is part of a series. I will absolutely not be reading the rest of this series. You couldn’t pay me enough money. I’d rather shut my pinkie toe in a steel-core door three times over than read any more of this series.

And the quote at the top of the review? This was the advice Layken (ugh, that NAME)’s mother gave her before her first date with Will. Just look at that. Every “woman” should be able to answer those questions. So, break it down a little: he should treat you with respect. Fine. I’m down with that. If he was the same person 20 years from now, would you want to still marry him. IT IS HER FIRST DATE. But I’m not taking too much umbrage with that one. Finally: does he “inspire” you want to be a better person. Does HE inspire YOU want to be a better person. Not, do YOU TWO, TOGETHER, inspire each OTHER to be better people. Does he see something in you that’s lacking, and does that, in turn, make you want to be a better person? If these were rules for BOTH men AND women, I wouldn’t be so upset by them, I suppose. But the man’s supposed to make her want to change…while he, I don’t know, stays the same for twenty years because they’re going to get married after their first date?

Well, at least he’s treating her with respect, so there’s that, I suppose.

I really, really, REALLY did not like this book.

*shakes it off*

*picks up something that’s hopefully less pain-inducing*

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7 comments

  1. becomingcliche

    This review was the awesomest. I love your ranty reviews! Maybe I should read this one… Nah! Thanks for taking one for the team so I don’t have to think I’m missing something. But you’re going to have to tell me why they can’t be together. I am dying to know!

    • lucysfootball

      No no no. You would hate it. DO NOT READ!

      Hee, I haven’t been ranty lately. Not enough bad books this year, I guess. (That’s probably a good thing?)

      I’ll totally email you the TWIST! You’ll laugh. It’s foolish.

  2. Cassie

    I’ve had this book FOREVER. My cousin’s girlfriend gave it to me (and the second in this series), but I have avoided it after reading the first five pages because I’m scared I won’t like it either. I think it’s kind of nuts that it’s about slam poetry, I thought it was like “Slammed”…drunk.

    And you said really…three times at the end, so I don’t think I’ll read it.

    WAH.

  3. sunraeny

    Oh I’m disappointed you didn’t like it. You make valid points but one of the reasons I like YA is it’s simpler & just mostly silly fluff 🙂

    It was a little dark & twisty for me & the sequel is even darker

    • lucysfootball

      I usually don’t mind fluffiness, but this one was just weird for me. Too many weirdnesses. (And I don’t know if you watch “Pretty Little Liars” at all? But the main plot reminded me way too much of a plot point on there so I was immediately all “ugh, SAW THIS ALREADY.”)

      I usually like YA a lot, and the new “New Adult” that’s the thing nowadays (like Rainbow Rowell’s writing – have you read any of her work? “Eleanor & Park” or “Fangirl?” I think you’d LOVE her!)

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