Slam-Nick Hornby

This is Nick Hornby’s first true Young Adult novel.  The main character, Sam, is a 15 year old skater who becomes a teenage father.  The book follows the events leading up to the pregnency, through the pregnancy, and after the child is born.  In general it is realistic fiction but there are some fantastical moments throughout the story.  Due to Sam’s interest in skating there is a bit of inoformation about Tony Hawk sprinkled throughout the novel.

The book isn’t bad- however I do not see many teenage boys being interested in reading about pregnancy- even if they are teenage dads themselves.  There is a lot of skater jargon and the role of Tony Hawk might attract teens interested in the skating world to the book.  I think the book does a good job at discussing the issues surrounding sexual relationships between teenagers, safe sex, and the way a baby changes things.

This book could be used in a classroom but some might object to the frank discussion of sexuality.  I might suggest it to students that mention interests in any of the topics presented.  It is not a difficult read and feel it is appropriate for students in 9th-12th grade.

2009 Young Adult Book Challenge

Guidelines for 2009 Young Adult Book Challenge

1. Anyone can join. You don’t need a blog to participate.

2. Read 12 Young Adult novels. No need to list your books in advance. You may select books as you go. Even if you list them now, you can change the list if needed.

3. Challenge begins January thru December, 2009.

4. You can join anytime between now and December 31, 2009.

Click here to join.

My Read list:

1.  Slam- Nick Hornby

2. Maximum Ride: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports- James Patterson

3. Maximum Ride: The Final Warning- James Patterson

4. An Abundance of Katherines- John Green

5. Cuba 15- Nancy Osa

6. Bullyville- Francine Prose

7. Tangerine- Edward Bloor

8. Wintergirls- Laurie Halse Anderson

9. How Ya Like Me Now- Brendan Halpin

10.  Beauty Shop for Rent- Laura Bowers

My “to read” list:

1.  Slam- Nick Hornby

2. The Poison Apples- Lily Archer

3.  Cuba 15- Nancy Osa

4. The Book Thief- Markus Zusak

5.  Wintergirls- Laurie Halse Anderson

I Am the Messenger- Markus Zusak

I Am The Messenger centers around a 19 year old male searching for his identity.  Throughout the novel he speaks candidly about his relationship with his mother, his feelings of sexual inadequacy, and his friendships.  He is mysteriously pushed into action when he begins to receive cryptic messages on playing cards.  The novel chronicles his experience with these cards while keeping their origin a secret.

This is definitely a novel for older teens and young adults searching for meaning in their lives.  I would recommend it to men and women aged 16-22.  I believe it could be used in a classroom, and provides many topics for discussion.  With its male protagonist and some violence, I believe this book appeals to male readers.


2006 – Michael L. Printz Honor
2006 – Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book
2005 – Publishers Weekly Best Books of the Year – Children
2003 – Children’s Book Council Book of the Year Award in Australia