Slammed, and Point of Retreat by Colleen Hoover.
A “slam” is a poetry contest where the contestants perform their poetry before an audience who then judges them, sort of an American Idol for aspiring poets. It is a slam which brings together the 2 main characters of these books: Lake, a girl whose father has just died and who has just been uprooted with her mother and younger brother, to Ypsilanti, MI, and Will, her new neighbor across the street. They connect immediately but quickly stumble upon a huge barrier to their relationship. Obviously, since there are 2 books, there is an ongoing relationship of sorts, but the ups and downs are extreme and the reader is pulled right inside their hearts to feel the rollercoaster ride right along with them. The poetry woven in so beautifully throughout the story gives it an added dimension and the quirky characters that surround Lake and Will add some welcome levity. Possibly the only characters who remain somewhat flat are their 2 younger brothers who play a huge role but are not developed to their fullest, in my opinion.
In the second book, however, a couple of new characters are introduced, and one, the younger brothers’ friend, Kiersten, is my favorite. She’s an 11 year old poet, sage and wiseass, and everyone in the book adopts her as their best friend for very different reasons. I sort of felt that way, too. She becomes quite the heroine at the end and you can’t help but smile and silently cheer for her when you read about it.
Basically, I laughed, I cried… but for real. When I don’t want to read another book right away because I still want to live with the characters for a little while longer, I know I’ve read a good book. This is one of those. Actually, this is two of those!