SLAMMED is undoubtedly one of my favorite books this year. I went in reading it as a self-published e-book, and that soon after it was picked up by Simon & Schuster. This book had me laughing, cringing, crying and raising my fist in appreciation. It also introduced me to poetry slams, which I was ignorant of. I am now dying to go to one!
Layken Cohen and her family (sans deceased father) have left Texas and moved up north to Ypsilanti, Michigan. Upon arriving at the rental house, Kel has met a boy his age and Layken has met a guy. He just happens to be the hunky brother of the 9 yo.
Will Cooper is dreamy. I mean, Will Cooper is a great character and has a lot of heartache and secrets that Lake will soon find out. The two of them become closer within a few short days and the two younger brothers become fast friends. Layken's mother takes an instant like to Will and encourages Lake to give him a chance.
Will takes Lake out on a date a few days after arriving and brings her to a poetry slam. Lake is amazed by what she is seeing and listening to. She's never done anything like this before and is mesmerized. Will agrees to perform one of his poems. It's there that she finds out that Will's mother and father were killed in a horrible car accident three years ago and he has been raising his little brother ever since. Lake is moved to tears and finds herself actually falling for Will.
That is until Monday rolls around. Lake's first day of school is interesting. She meets Eddie (a girl) her boyfriend, Gavin. And her English elective teacher, one Mr.Will Cooper. Will realizing that he cannot jeopardize his job, informs Layken that they can no longer see each other because it will cause problems and taking care of his brother is the most important thing right now. Lake is torn between what is right and what she wants.
As much as the two try to stay away from each other, they find it more and more difficult. The pull to bring them closer grows stronger. It also becomes more stronger when Layken finds out the reason why they moved to Michigan. Julia Cohen has been diagnosed with Stage four lung cancer and before her father passed, they had decided to move to Michigan for Julia's treatment. Lake is horrified to realize that she'll be left alone and that her mother wants a family friend to care for Kel.
Because Lake is losing her mother and Will and Caulder (Will's brother) have grown close to the Cohen's, Will takes in Lake to work through her feelings. Lake is angry at her mother, well more like pissed. But she feels safe with Will as well. As much as those two try to hide their feelings, they just can't. Pretty much everything comes to a head when Lake is being accosted by a classmate at the poetry slam, and Will punches out his student. He immediately resigns from the school and is transferred to another school district.
You would think that it would work out for Will and Lake to get together, but it sort of does the opposite. Because he is so busy with traveling and relying on the Cohen's to help with Caulder, Will and Lake don't see enough of each other.
However Will realizes that he cannot live in a world without Lake and after she comes clean in a poetry slam, he does the same declaring his love for her.
I have no clue who the Avett Brothers are, but they are quoted at the beginning of each chapter. Lake and Will's favorite group is the Avnett Brothers and they fall in love over their words of wisdom. This book opened up so many emotions for me. And I cried, boy did I cry when I read this. I was literally pulled into the story, the poems, the little one's halloween costume. Will and Lake's romance was so brittle and beautiful. When he realizes that he doesn't want the ocean, but the lake, you can't help but sigh because you know that he is finally coming to terms with his feelings. When he kisses her in the laundry room, when she carves pumpkins because she can't deal with what is going on around her. Even when she organizes and alphabetizes everything because she can't stop the stress, Will is falling for her.
If there is one book you read this year, I suggest you read this one. It will leave you breathless and happy and sad, and amazed. Colleen Hoover wrote a fantastic book and thankfully there is a wonderful sequel as well.