Monday, February 28, 2011

First Book Blogger Book Club Review: Slam by Nick Hornby

The fine people at First Book reached out to book bloggers all over the Internet inviting us to join their First Book Blogger Book Club.  Each month we will review one of the books First Book provides on its First Book Marketplace.  Together, we hope to spread the word that book lovers like you can help put books into the hands of children in need.  If you know of a school or group that could benefit from the First Book program, or if you can donate to this great program, please go to their website for more information.
Allow some of our favorite authors to explain more about First Book:

I am honored to be a part of this project. 
Now on to my review of February's pick, Slam, by Nick Hornby!


"I'd slammed too.  I'd never had a slam like this, though.  The wheels had come off the trucks, the trucks had come off the deck, and I'd shot twenty feet into the air and gone straight into a brick wall.  That's what it felt like, anyway.  And there wasn't even a mark on me."

I could have pulled quotes from every chapter of Slam.  Nick Hornby's prose is accessible art and hits the mark with both young adult and adult readers. 

Sam narrates his story - one of family, friends, first relationships and being 16.  He is a skater who regularly talks to a poster of his idol, Tony Hawk...only TH talks back with excerpts from his own coming of age autobiography, Hawk - Occupation: Skateboarder.  While Sam experiences the most cataclysmic event in his young life - he gets his girlfriend, Alicia, pregnant - he looks to Tony Hawk for advice, but some things you just have to learn on your own.

While I loved this book, I kept wondering about Slam's intended audience of young adults.  How would they feel about this book?  How would their parents feel about this book? Even though I am not, nor have I ever been a 16 year old boy, I feel like Nick Hornby took a chance with Sam's voice, and he nailed it.  Sam's story is so touchable that even if parents don't quite agree with Sam's actions or the outcome, Nick Hornby was not writing a morality tale.  He doesn't preach to his teen audience.  This was the truth wrapped in fiction with a sprinkle of humor to keep it all from becoming too heavy.

Slam was a great read! 

Book Extras:
The NY Times Book Review (from 2007)
Penguin Reading Guide
Add Slam to your Goodreads TBR list

About the Book:
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile; First Edition edition (October 16, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0399250484
ISBN-13: 978-0399250484

About the Author: (from Penguin) (pardon me while I try not to swoon)
Born in Redhill, Surrey, England, Nick Hornby graduated from Cambridge University and worked for a time as a book reviewer and a teacher of English to foreign students. His first book, a collection of critical essays on American novelists, was published in 1992 and was quickly followed by his celebrated soccer memoir Fever Pitch. The first of his internationally bestselling novels, High Fidelity, was published three years later in 1995. Three others have followed, including About a Boy (1998), How to be Good (2001), and A Long Way Down (2005). Slam is his first novel published for young adults, though virtually all of his work – including his many writings about music – has had widespread appeal to teen readers.
For additional information on Nick Hornby and his other titles, visit

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You love books.  I love books.  Help a child fall in love with books too.

Alison's Book Marks is reviewing this book in support of First Book, through which 18,000 books are placed in the hands of children in need EACH DAY. Donate to First Book HERE. Learn more at their website:

1 comment:

MissA said...

It was a good read, you're so right, I felt like every page was quotable. While I'm not a 16 year old boy, I am a girl in high school and I felt Sam's voice was authentic. The only difference is that I couldn't run away to Hastings ;) (since it's a lot harder for the girl to run away). Sam's voice was funny and the fact that he tried to run from his problems and keep putting off planning the future seemed very teenager-ish to me.

Great review!

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