Slammed (Slammed #1)Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Source: Simon and Schuster/Netgalley
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.
My Thoughts: Let me just say that all the wonderful things I heard about Slammed are absolutely true, the book is amazing. I have had both Slammed and Point of Retreat for a while, and after reading my friend Nereyda's review over at Mostly YA Obsessed, I decided I was making the time to fit these in, and boy am I ever glad that I did. This series is a must read.
After her father's sudden death, 18-year-old Layken, her mom, and her little brother Kel move from Texas to a small house in Michigan. Layken feels like her world has been ripped apart, but she tries to keep it together for her mom and for Kel, sucking it up even though she doesn't want to move. As they arrive at their new home, Kel immediately finds a neighbor boy about his age and begins to play. When Lake gets out of the van, her brother wants to play around, but she's tired and not in the best of moods. When she looks into Kel's eyes and sees the sadness there, and the question on the other little boy's face, she gives in and becomes a make believe Zombie. She looks up, and there is one of the hottest guys she has ever seen, Will Cooper, who just happens to be the brother of Kel's little friend. The two seem to hit it off, and Will is different than any other guy she has ever met, not that she has lot of experience with guys. Will takes her on a date, a very unique one, and introduces her to world of Slam poetry. They end up falling for each other, hard, and Lake learns that Will's background is as heart wrenching as her own, if not more so. Everything seems to be going good, that is until she and Will end up face-to-face in a situation that, as the synopsis says, "slammed them to the core." They are forced to end their relationship because of the circumstances, even though they neither one wants to.
These two walk through an extremely difficult season, and believe me they have both already been dealt a hand in life that no one their age should have to face. They struggle along in their journey, having to live with their choices, deal with their family issues, face illness and death, and career choices, both heaped with responsibilities that no 18-year-old or 21-year old should ever have to deal with. In the end, they must decide what part love plays in all this, and how great a risk they are willing to take for it.
I absolutely loved this book. There is nothing about it that I did not like. The plot is amazing, and the story will suck you in from beginning to end. It is heart breaking and heart warming, and leaves you feeling emotionally spent and emotionally satisfied at the same time. I loved the characters. Layken is awesome. She is very mature for her age, and is an amazing main character. Will is incredible to. The things he has endured are hard to comprehend, yet he perseveres for the sake of his brother, who he loves dearly. He comes off as a jerk to Lake a couple of times, but he really has a heart of gold. He's struggling just as much as she is with the situation they are going through. Oh, he is super hot also. I loved Layken's mom. She's a remarkable woman, one that marks your heart forever. I just loved their little brothers, Kel and Caulder to. Eddie, who becomes Lakyen's best friend is a hoot also. The relationship between Will and Lake will rip your heart out, yet it is absolutely beautiful. The emotional journey you go on in this book with these characters is a ride you will not soon forget. This book is a must read for contemporary romance loves. Colleen Hoover has written a novel that will touch you deep within your soul, one you will remember for a long time.
Quotes from Slammed:
“I got schooled this year by a boy. A boy that I'm seriously, deeply, madly, incredibly, and undeniably inlove with. And he taught me the most important thing of all... To put the emphasis
On life .”
“I got so schooled this year. By a nine year old. He taught me that it's okay to live life a little backwards.”
“God Layken. How do you do it? she says. She blows her nose and grabs another tissue out of the box. How do I do what? I sniff as I continue to wipe the tears from my eyes. How do you not fall in love with him? The tears begin flowing just as quickly as they had ceased. I grab yet another tissue. I don't not fall in love with him. I don't not fall in love with him a lot!”
“And life definitely doesn't want me To just let it tell me that the girl I met, The beautiful, amazing, strong, resilient girl That I fell so hard for Should only come in third Life knows.
Life is trying to tell me, that the girl I love The girl I fell So hard for? There's room for her in first.
I'm putting her first.”
“I love you, Lake," he smiles as he presses his forehead against mine. "You deserve to come first.”
Point of Retreat (Slammed #2)Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Publisher: Atria Books
Source: Simon and Schuster/Netgalley
Hardships and heartache brought them together…now it will tear them apart.
Layken and Will have proved their love can get them through anything; until someone from Will’s past re-emerges, leaving Layken questioning the very foundation on which their relationship was built. Will is forced to face the ultimate challenge…how to prove his love for a girl who refuses to stop ‘carving pumpkins.’
My Thoughts: Point of Retreat picks up from where Slammed left off. I especially loved this book, because it is told from Will's point of view, where as Slammed was told from Layken's. These two are finally able to be together. Will has been there for Layken through a really difficult time, and they are there for each other as they move forward. Layken is in college and Will is working on his Master's degree. Their relationship finally seems secure, and both of them couldn't be happier, in spite of life's circumstances. They plan a weekend away, intending on taking things to the next level, when Vaughn, someone from Will's past, comes into the picture. Vaughn is Will's old girlfriend and happens to be in one of his classes. He doesn't get around to mentioning this to Layken, kind of accidentally on purpose, because he doesn't want to have to deal with the fact that Vaughn wants to rekindle their old relationship, even though Will isn't interested. On the day they are planning to leave for their "life-changing" weekend, Vaughn decides to show up at Will's house, his grandparent's are there, the boys are both there, and Layken's due to walk over in 15 minutes. When Layken comes over, she overhears what Vaughn says to Will, and when she sees the two of them together, she is heartbroken, and questions everything she and Will have, wondering if the things Vaughn says could be true.
For Will, things couldn't get worse. The girl he loves is pushing him away, and he doesn't know how to get her back. Will has to find a way to prove his love for Layken, showing her that he loves her for her, and not just because their circumstances have thrown them together. The task before him is anything but easy. Just when things seem to be working out, tragedy strikes and Will must face the possibility of losing Lake forever.
I really didn't think that this second book could be any better than the first, and in the beginning I just thought okay, this is going to be a nice sweet story, but boy was I wrong. The drama and intensity of Point of Retreat, (and when you read the book the title will take on a whole new meaning for you), was astounding. I didn't think the hardships these two went through could get any worse, but they face challenges in Point of Retreat that I didn't see coming. Everything they have and everything they are is put to the test. Will and Layken are both such strong main characters and I grew to love them even more in this book. We also get to know Eddie and Gavin (the best friends) better in this book, and we are introduced to a new character, 11-year-old Kiersten, who I just fell in love with. Again, this books captured me from beginning to end and I could not put it down. My heart felt like it had been lovingly warmed, ripped out, squeezed, shaken, and then put back together again. Colleen Hoover has taken it up a notch in Point of Retreat and left me utterly spent, and I mean that in a good way. This is one book, and one series that contemporary romance lovers will not want to miss. I butterflying loved it.
Quotes from Point of Retreat:
“It's the clear headedness behind her voice and the calm reasonable expression in her eyes that rips my heart right out of my chest. She turns to leave and all I can do is let her go. I just let her go.”
“A guy can tell a girl he's in love with her until he's blue in the face. Words don't mean anything to a woman when her head’s full of doubt. You have to show her.”
“It's like you came along and woke up my soul”
“Sometimes things happen in life that you didn't plan for. All you can do now is suck it up and start mapping out a new plan.”
“Well, you would realize…Like i eventually realized…That the good things about her? All the beautiful?
It’s not real. It’s fake. So you keep your ocean, I’ll take the lake.”
What a beautiful word
What a delicate creature.
Delicate like the cruel words that flow right out of your mouths and the food that flies right out of your hands…
Does it make you feel better?
Does it make you feel good ?
Does picking on a girl make you more of a man?
Well, I’m standing up for myself
Like I should have done before
I’m not putting up with your Butterfly anymore."
(Kiersten slides the sack off her wrist and opens it, pulling out a handful of hand-made butterflies. She takes the microphone out of the stand and begins walking down the stairs as she continues speaking.)
“I’d like to extend to others what others have extended to me.”
(She walks up to Mrs. Brill first and holds out a butterfly)
“Butterfly you, Mrs. Brill.”
(Mrs. Brill smiles at her and takes the butterfly out of her hands. Lake laughs out loud and I have to nudge her to get her to be quiet. Kiersten walks around the room, passing out butterflies to several of the students, including the three from the lunchroom.)
“Butterfly you, Mark.
Butterfly you, Brendan.
Butterfly you, Colby.”
(When she finishes passing out the butterflies, she walks back onto the stage and places the microphone back into the stand.)
“I have one thing to say to you
And I’m not referring to the bullies
Or the ones they pursue.
I’m referring to those of you that just stand by
The ones who don’t take up for those of us that cry
Those of you who just…turn a blind eye.
After all it’s not you it’s happening to
You aren’t the one being bullied
And you aren’t the one being rude
It isn’t your hand that’s throwing the food
But…it is your mouth not speaking up
It is your feet not taking a stand
It is your arm not lending a hand
It is your heart
Not giving a damn.
So take up for yourself
Take up for your friends
I challenge you to be someone
Who doesn’t give in.
Don’t give in.
Don’t let them win.”
(Okay, remember this poem, because after you read Point of Retreat, butterfly will have a whole new meaning.
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