Title: Slam
Date Completed: 2/9/2011
Author(s): Nick Hornby
Copyright: 2007, G.P Putnam’s Sons
# pages: 309
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
ISBN: 978-0-399-25048-4

When Firstbook asked me to read and review Young Adult Fiction, I jumped at the chance. We have similar missions – getting books into kid’s hands – so I’m happy to help further the mission in any way I can.

But, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t nervous about it. After all, I’m neither a teenager nor male, so I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to understand Slam. I thought to myself, ‘what if I can’t remotely connect with the story line?’ I didn’t want to make a fool of myself or let Firstbook down.

So, I’m happy to say that I not only connected with the story line, I really couldn’t put the book down. For a novel with such a heavy storyline, it had me laughing at very regular intervals. It is a story of a teenage boy who is pretty quiet, somewhat conservative, loves to skateboard and, well, becomes a father at the age of sixteen.

There are two things I really liked about this story. First, Sam gets all of his advice about growing up from a Tony Hawk poster in his bedroom. If you don’t know, Tony Hawk is the granddaddy of all skateboarders. Any problem that Sam has can be addressed by Tony. I never knew skating was so deep! Second, I liked the way that the whole discussion about teenage pregnancy was handled. Sam starts out, like many of us do when faced with a monumental problem, ignoring it and thinking it might go away. When he realizes that isn’t going to work, he faces it head on. The story shows how his life is changed forever. He won’t be able to pursue the future that he had been planning. But, the thing that I like is that it also shows that he moves ahead with the new future that he has been given. He knows that it isn’t going to be what he was hoping for, but it doesn’t have to be the end of his life either.

Most importantly, this book gets the point across that it only takes one mistake, one lapse in judgment to completely alter the rest of your life. It gives kids a glimpse into why it is important to be responsible and make good decisions. It acknowledges that kids-will-be-kids, but also helps them to understand that they aren’t immune to the troubles and tribulations faced by adults.