Dear Author

Recommended Reads Saturday: Slammed by Collen Hoover

Slammed by Collen Hoover is recommended by Lily Nell. My name is Lily, I’m 29 years old and I loooove your website. I buy a lot of the books u recommend. I read a novel by a new author that I loved and I haven’t seen it on your website in the past, so I thought I would recommend it to you if you havent’ read it. It’s called SLAMMED and it’s by Collen Hoover. This book is just different from other YA books. I thought it was going to be cheesy at first because the couple does have an insta-love type thing happen, but then you are just blown away in chapter three and i couldn’t put the book down. The sequel good, too. I also really loved The Opportunist by Taryn Fisher. I wasn’t crazy about the ending, but there will be a part 2 I hear.

I am recommending this book because Like I said before, it was very refreshing and different than any other YA book I’ve read. The main character is named Layken and she is a strong character who goes through a lot. The H’s name is Will and he is so swoon worthy.

The following is an excerpt from Slammed posted with the approval of Collen Hoover.


Will opens the door without reading the sign. I start to inform him the club is closed but he seems like he knows what he’s doing. The silence is interrupted by the energy of the crowd as I follow him through the entryway and into the building.  There is an empty stage to the right of us with tables and chairs set up all over the dance floor.  The place is packed.  There’s a table toward the front that looks like a group of younger kids, around age fourteen or so.  Will turns to the left and heads to an empty booth in the back of the room.

“It’s quieter back here,” he says.

“How old do you have to be to get into clubs here?” I say, still observing the group of out of place children.

“Well, tonight it’s not a club,” he says as we scoot into the booth.  It’s a half circle booth facing the stage so I scoot all the way to the middle to get the best view.  He moves in right beside me.  “It’s slam night,” he says.  “Every Thursday they shut the club down and people come here to compete in the slam.”

“And what’s a slam?” I ask.

“It’s poetry.” He smiles at me. “It’s what I’m all about.”

Is he for real? A hot guy who makes me laugh and loves poetry? Someone pinch me. Or not. I’d rather not wake up.

“Poetry, huh?” I say. “Do people write their own or do they recite it from other authors?”

He leans back in the booth and looks up at the stage. I see the passion in his eyes when he talks about it. “People get up there and pour their hearts out just using their words and the movement of their bodies,” he says. “It’s amazing. You aren’t going to hear any Dickinson or Frost here.”

“Is it like a competition?”

“It’s complicated,” he says. “It differs between every club. Normally during a slam, the judges are picked at random from the audience and they assign points to each performance.  The one with the most points at the end of the night wins. That’s how they do it here, anyway.”

“So do you slam?”

“Sometimes. Sometimes I judge, sometimes I just watch.”

“Are you performing tonight?”

“Nah.  Just an observer tonight. I don’t really have anything ready.”

I’m disappointed. It would be amazing to see him perform on stage. I still have no idea what slam poetry is, but I’m curious to see him do anything that requires a performance.

“Bummer,” I say.

It’s quiet for a moment while we both observe the crowd in front of us.  Will nudges me with his elbow and I turn to look at him.  “You want something to drink?” he says.

“Sure. I’ll take some chocolate milk.”

He cocks and eyebrow and grins. “Chocolate milk? Really?”

I nod. “With ice.”

Okay,” he says as he slides out of the booth. “One chocolate milk on the rocks coming right up.”

While he’s gone, the emcee comes to the stage and attempts to pump up the crowd.  No one is in the back of the room where we’re seated, so I feel a little silly when I yell “yeah!” with the rest of the crowd.  I sink further into my seat and decide to just be a spectator for the remainder of the night.

The emcee announces it’s time to pick the judges and the entire crowd roars, almost everyone wanting to be chosen.  They pick five people at random and move them to the judging table.  As Will walks toward our booth with our drinks, the emcee announces it’s time for the “sac,” and chooses someone at random.

“What’s the sac?” I ask him.

“Sacrifice. It’s what they use to prepare the judges.” He slides back into the booth.  Somehow, he slides even closer this time. “Someone performs something that isn’t part of the competition so the judges can calibrate their scoring.”

“So they can call on anyone?  What if they would have called on me?” I ask, suddenly nervous.

He smiles. “Well, I guess you should have had something ready.”

He takes a sip from his drink then leans back against the booth, finding my hand in the dark.  Our fingers don’t interlock this time, though.  Instead, he places my hand on his leg and his fingertips start to trace the outline of my wrist.  He gently traces each of my fingers, following the lines and curves of my entire hand.  His fingertips feel like electric pulses penetrating my skin.

“Lake,” he says quietly as he continues tracing up my wrist and back to my fingertips with a fluid motion. “I don’t know what it is about you…but I like you.”

His fingers slide between mine and he takes my hand in his, turning his attention back to the stage. I inhale and reach for my chocolate milk with my free hand, downing the entire glass. The ice feels good against my lips. It cools me off.

They call on a young woman who looks to be around twenty-five. She announces she’s performing a piece she wrote titled “Blue Sweater.”  The lights are lowered as a spotlight is positioned on her. She raises the microphone and steps forward, staring down at the floor. A hush sweeps over the audience and the only sound in the entire room is the sound of her breath, amplified through the speakers.

She raises her hand to the microphone, still staring down to the floor. She begins to tap her finger against it in a repetitive motion, resonating the sound of a heartbeat.  I realize I’m holding my own breath as she begins her piece.

 

Bom Bom

Bom Bom

Bom Bom

Do you hear that?

(Her voice lingering on the word hear)

That’s the sound of my heart beating.

(She taps the microphone again)

Bom Bom

Bom Bom

Bom Bom

Do you hear that?  That’s the sound of your heart beating.

(She begins to speak faster, much louder than before.)

It was the first day of October.  I was wearing my blue sweater; you know the one I bought at Dillard’s? The one with a double knitted hem and holes in the ends of the sleeves that I could poke my thumbs through when it was cold but I didn’t feel like wearing gloves? It was the same sweater you said made my eyes look like reflections of the stars on the ocean.

You promised to love me forever that night…

and boy

did you

ever.

It was the first day of December this time. I was wearing my blue sweater; you know the one I bought at Dillard’s? The one with a double knitted hem and holes in the ends of the sleeves that I could poke my thumbs through when it was cold but I didn’t feel like wearing gloves? It was the same sweater you said made my eyes look like reflections of the stars on the ocean.

I told you I was three weeks late.

You said it was fate.

You promised to love me forever that night…

and boy

did you

ever!

It was the first day of May. I was wearing my blue sweater, although this time the double stitched hem was worn and the strength of each thread tested as they were pulled tight against my growing belly. You know the one.  The same one I bought at Dillard’s? The one with holes in the ends of the sleeves that I could poke my thumbs through when it was cold but I didn’t feel like wearing gloves? It was the same sweater you said made my eyes look like reflections of the stars on the ocean.

The SAME sweater you RIPPED off of my body as you shoved me to the floor,

calling me a whore,

telling me

you didn’t love me

anymore.

Bom Bom

Bom Bom

Bom Bom

Do you hear that?  That’s the sound of my heart beating.

Bom Bom

Bom Bom

Bom Bom

Do you hear that?  That’s the sound of your heart beating.

(There is a long silence as she clasps her hands to her stomach, tears streaming down her face)

Do you hear that?  Of course you don’t.  That’s the silence of my womb.

Because you

RIPPED

OFF

MY

SWEATER!

 

The lights come back up and the audience roars. I take a deep breath and wipe tears from my eyes. I’m mesmerized by her ability to hypnotize an entire audience with such powerfully portrayed words. Just words.  I’m immediately addicted and want to hear more. Will puts his arm around my shoulders and leans back into the seat with me, bringing me back to reality.

“Well?” he says.

I accept his embrace and move my head to his shoulder as we both stare out over the crowd. He rests his chin on top of my head and strokes my upper arm with his fingertips.

“That was unbelievable,” I whisper.


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