Slammed (Slammed, #1)

Slammed (Slammed, #1) - Colleen Hoover Initial reaction: I'm mulling over a few ways to write this review to express my thoughts, but the overarching reaction? I wish I could've liked this more. Sadly, with all the formulaic notations, the lack of connection with the main character (who made me want to pull my hair more than a few times), and several mismatches of emotional resonance and melodrama rather detracted me from liking this novel. Hopefully whatever form I decide to write this review in, it'll explain why I feel that way about the novel.Full review:"Slammed" is the second book I've read from Colleen Hoover, following a recent ARC read of "Hopeless". This is going to be a difficult review for me to write because while I had qualms about "Hopeless" in spurts, I still appreciated Hoover's narrative voice for the most part.I'm kind of glad I tried that book first versus this one, because if "Slammed" had been my introduction to Hoover, it probably wouldn't have allowed me to see how she's progressed since writing this one. This was a book I know many people on my friends list loved, but typing this now, I struggle to try to put into words why I didn't enjoy it.Originally, I wanted to try to pen a review for this in a slam poetry format, but that's a tough translation to text versus spoken word (which I'll explain more in a little bit). Poetry is something I'm quite passionate about and yeah, I've been to my fair share of slam sessions, particularly in my undergrad uni days. I know there were many people who picked up this book not knowing what it was and this book was an introduction into the realm of slamming. But for me - I already knew, and I think that was part of the intrigue of me picking it up because I haven't come across an author who tackled the subject. It's a cool thing for it to be a focus, especially in a genre that's oriented towards the college aged crowd (which technically this book is given its listing under NA).Here's the thing: slam poetry is difficult to translate to text because a lot of it is about timing, emotional resonance, passion, and an ability to pick up and go with it in person in the format of the spoken word. If you've never been to a slam session, I suggest you take the opportunity to do so, it can be fun, immersible, enlightening, among other things. It's an experience you have to be in it to really understand how much goes into it. I think picking up the audiobook of this actually enhanced my enjoyment (what little there was) of the book because the narrator did a good job with the delivery and timing of the poems contained in this book. I don't think that would've been the same if I'd read this simply in the translation to text. That said, let's get to the nitty gritty on what this book was about, because the slam sessions were really only the backdrop, not the primary focus of this particular novel.This book started off on an interesting note, about a young woman named Layken who moves with her little brother and mother after the sudden death of their father. Layken meets Will, a guy not much older than her whose company she enjoys, and who has a little brother around the same age as her little brother. (The boys, I should tell you, are probably the characters in the book I most liked watching in their interactions.) I had trouble with the insta-love connection between Layken and Will, but I tried to ride it for a while to see where it would go. I definitely liked the exploration into their respective pasts because that was the only thing in this book that seemed at least remotely plausible - with the deaths of parental figures, taking care of their younger siblings, taking on additional responsibilities and coping with those respective losses. But the romance...ahh, I had trouble digesting that with the instalove machine.Then the second part of the plot hit when Layken realizes she's fallen in love with her high school poetry teacher. The two now have a forbidden romance - huzzah! Not. >..