Rarely has a series elicited such passion from me on so many levels. Sure, I think lots of people would enjoy "The Twilight Saga," even more would enjoy "The Hunger Games Trilogy," and some sickos like me will LOVE LOVE LOVE the "Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy." However, most people who know me, who are friends with me, and who love reading, NEED to read "Slammed" and "Point of Retreat" by Colleen Hoover. Need. To.
This is not a paranormal love story like "The Twilight Saga" or "The Eden Trilogy." These are real people, real lives, no hope of eternity to linger in the distance- we are left to deal with the here and now.
This 2-book series follows Layken Cohen and William Cooper as they navigate what they hope to be a romance- filled relationship. Layken (Lake) is new to William's neighborhood and their connection is instant. Lake finds out after their first trip to a club night dedicated to Slam Poetry, that their connection is deeper that a skipped heartbeat. Will is a talented and dedicated slam poet, and you learn a lot about him, and yourself, while he's up on stage.
Let me give a huge shout out to the emotionally strong Layken Cohen. She doesn't pine away thinking, "what could Will POSSIBLY see in me, la la la...." She has the mentality, "He's hot, I like him, I know he likes me, what the HELL is the problem?!" She's got tenacity, and that's been so lacking at the core of so many female characters lately....
Life throws 2 HUGE roadblocks in their way in the first novel- both of them could justifiably keep the lovers apart independently, but the double blow is enough to leave the reader in tears, praying for our fictional star-crossed pair. The physical romance is written tastefully and using the correct words to allow you to feel what Lake is feeling, and what Will is feeling. Each touch leaves you wanting more and each roadblock is so real that you can feel the punch in your gut. Again, we're not dealing with angels, vampires, werewolves- we are dealing with real life and you could be reading this story about a best friend.
The supporting characters are just that, beautifully supportive but they do not overtake the story. We are able to enjoy what they bring out of the main characters, but we're not left spending too much time wondering when they'll show up again. The main characters are that strong and that engrossing.
Poetry is essentially the third main character in this story- and it is done SO. WELL. The author clearly took time to study slam poetry as an art and performance, as her descriptions are dead on. Further, she is also a poet (not many writers are) and the poetry itself is done well, even while written through the characters' perspective. Take a minute to realize how awesome this is. Not only can she write poetry, but she can do it through several different characters that have different make ups, backgrounds, and emotions- that's a big deal. I've written poetry for nearly 20 years and I don't know if I could write it from inside the head of someone else. Even if they're a character I've created.
When Slammed (book 1) ends, we're left with a glimmer of hope, some sadness, and a yearning for more of Will and Lake's story.
"Point of Retreat" (POR) begins beautifully, but more challenges await our lovers. This book is full of emotional climax after climax and you WILL cry along with our characters. It's a true fight for love. The supporting characters have a larger role in POR, but they are still handled with care in the context of Will and Lake. Many times through the book they are ACTUALLY SUPPORTING Will or Lake for different reasons.
In POR we're given a deeper look in to Will's emotional determination and his ability to prove himself, and his love, to Lake. The roadblocks here are even more detrimental than in "Slammed," and I swear you must keep a tissue nearby. It feels so real.
While I generally favor a trilogy, and was nervous about starting a book that was only a 2-part series for fear that I'd be left wanting more, "Point of Retreat" didn't disappoint. Colleen Hoover was able to build the main characters, supporting characters, build several emotional climaxes, and leave us with a satisfactory resolution.
Poetry is prominent and urgent in POR, and is written just as thoughtfully and delivered just as well.
These are two books I feel strongly about being made in to movies. They would do well based on the character development and story lines on their own, but the element of slam poetry would play out beautifully on screen. And, hey, it never hurt to throw more poetry in to the world.
**This is how passionate I am about these 2 books. I own them on my Kindle. However, I'm going to purchase one copy of each book from the authors website and give them away. Leave a relevant comment either here, or on any Facebook link to this blog I have posted. You also must share this link on your Facebook page. On Monday evening (5/14), which is my birthday (!) I will select a name at random from the comments I receive, and mail you a copy of "Slammed" and "Point of Retreat." You must also promise to pass the books along when you're done ;) **