(This post also appears today at Guys Lit Wire)
Nick Hornby’s first venture into YA fiction is the story of a 15-year old skateboarding-crazy teen, whose life is just starting to look up when his girlfriend gets pregnant and everything comes crashing down faster than you can say frontside alley-oop. Slam follows an ordinary guy on a journey he never planned, into territory that’s intense, sometimes hilarious and as real as it gets.
I’d been thinking about reading Slam for months, since I’m a huge fan of Hornby’s other work (High Fidelity, About a Boy, How to Be Good, A Long Way Down). I admire how he manages to create stories about everyday people that are compelling and thought-provoking. I’ve always thought his books should come with a warning somewhere on the back cover: Attention: Story inside is deeper than it appears. Hornby makes me appreciate the drama of ordinary life. This said, I admit I was a tad put off by the premise of his first YA novel. After all, there are plenty of books out there already that explore teen pregnancy. I had to wonder, couldn’t he come up with something a little more unexpected? I was worried that this book would veer into territory that’s been done and then some.
Oh Nick. I should never have doubted you. Forgive me?