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Slam Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 16, 2007
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...full of pleasures that readers familiar with Hornby should recognize, such as the kooky subsidiary characters and clever off-center dialogue... -- Kirkus
...full of wit, humor and pathos. -- San Francisco Chronicle
A sure bet for Hornby fans of any age -- Publishers Weekly, starred review
A sure bet for Hornby fans of any age. -- Publishers Weekly
Hornby's witty, gentle genius shines through. -- USA Today
Hornby...shows he understands the psyche of an adolescent boy just as well as he does those of men. -- KLIATT
The characters are given the opportunity to grow with charm and wit while facing the challenges of young adulthood. -- School Library Journal
Vintage Hornby: a witty trek inside the emotional life of the modern male. -- People
Well-balanced wit and weight, prominent pop-culture placement...and an exploration of that tricky line that separates youths from adults. -- The Washington Times
Top Customer Reviews
I'm guessing there have been a number of good YA books about teen pregnancy -- and if that's the case, add this one to the list. The simple story is narrated by 18-year-old North London lad Sam, reflecting back over the past two years. While it's pretty bare bones -- the cast doesn't really extend beyond Sam, his girlfriend, their respective parents, and two skater acquaintances -- things are made livelier though the device of having Sam discuss his problems with a poster of legendary pro skater Tony Hawk (whose responses are passages Sam has memorized from Hawk's autobiography). There are also a few jumps into dream sequence/time-travel which break up the straightforward narrative, although they don't actually add up to that much.
The book's real strength comes from Hornby's ability to capture the inner life of a teenage boy while avoiding all the usual pitfalls. Sam is neither too articulate nor too dense, and he's basically a well-adjusted, pleasant teen who hasn't gotten into any trouble -- until now. His narrative is full Hornby's trademark observational wit, although without nearly as many pop culture trappings as usual. The book certainly carries a cautionary message about teen sex, but it's never hectoring or reductionist. There's a strong sense of hopefulness for Sam, despite the deep hole he's dug himself. It's not an amazing book, but certainly a cut above the average.
Well, this time it's a young, rather lost BOY who is forced to grow up too fast, in Hornby's first foray into young adult fiction, "Slam." It's a gently humorous, rather bewildered story, albeit one that occasionally reads like a sex ed cautionary tale.
Sam is an ordinary kid, from a line of people who always messed up their lives early on. He loves skateboarding, talks to his Tony Hawk poster, wants to be a graphic art designer, and his love life is just starting to bloom. So he's blindsided when his ex-girlfriend Alicia reveals that she's pregnant, and that she intends to keep the baby.
Suddenly Sam is facing Alicia's snobby parents, his shattered dreams, and the fear that he can't be a good dad. Somehow his Tony Hawk poster flashes him months into the future, giving him glimpses of how his life will suddenly twist. And when Alicia has the baby, Sam finds that he needs to grow up in a hurry -- for his son, his parents, and the changes that are happening way too early.
To be honest, my first reaction to "Slam" was a pained groan. Nick Hornby crafts really insightful, unique fiction, and a story about teen pregnancy just seemed so.... simple. After all, there are only a few ways a pregnancy can turn out, and all but one don't make for a very long story.
But Hornby spins the story in his usual laid-back, meditative style, full of contemplative moments and pop culture references. It feels like reading a gently humorous memoir, but one with a painful sting of regret.Read more ›
But I love Nick Hornby. I'd read all of his novels except for this one, and I decided that he deserved more of a chance. So, I picked the book back up, refreshed myself a little on what all had happened, and finished it up. And it was pretty good. Sam was a little annoying--but a realistic kid in a difficult situation. And the novel was neither preachy nor unrealistically hopeful. I considered it a solid novel that I'd probably never read again.
But then Hornby got even another chance. I teach high school and had the novel on a list of books that students could read for oral book reports. A couple of students chose it (thinking that it was a relatively short and easy option), and when they came to do their report, they had loved it. Loved it. These were not enthusiastic readers, but the novel had struck a chord. They had found it funny and thought that its character--with his uncertainty, his impulse to remain a child, his recognition of limitations, his vague hopes that he might build a good life--was good and realistic. And they really appreciated Hornby's honest and amusing take on a situation that they'd encountered often in their group of friends--teen pregnancy and parenthood. I had one of the best conversations of the year with these students.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A whole new twist on teenage pregnancy. Funny and highly entertaining.Published 9 days ago by Shlomo Zehavi
The book Slam is published in 2007 by Penguin. It is the first young-adult novel of Nick Hornby and about a young teenager named Sam Jones. Read morePublished 2 months ago by $$Can$$der$$King$$
Slam is another novel based around odd characters with a plot that rings true to life. Hornby excels at this, and it's a very entertaining read that delivers on its themes. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Lou Kotler
My teenage son received this book for a gift, but got through only a few chapters before abandoning it, deeming it "not very interesting". Read morePublished 8 months ago by D. Jennings
I had to think about this book for a bit...this is not typically a book that I would read. When I read the synopsis of this story about teenage pregnancy, I was drawn to the fact... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Lacy
Much to the probable annoyance of nearby sun-lounger occupiers, I read this on holiday by the pool. Annoyance? Yes; the book had me laughing out loud with its wit. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Stuart Aken
Hornby's 'research' for this book and the voices of its characters can't have consisted of more than ten minutes on Wikipedia. Tom Wolfe he isn't. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Mr. K. A. Potapov
Written by: Nick Hornby
Narrated by: Nicholas Hoult
Length: 7 hrs and 17 mins
‘Slam’ was the 2007 contemporary young adult novel from... Read more
I read this book after High Fidelity, which so far is NH's best. This one is better than I expected and though it's apparently listed as YA, it doesn't read as one. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Joniz