Reviewed by The Compulsive Reader for TeensReadToo.com
Sam figures that his life is going pretty well. He's doing all right in school, he gets along with his mom, he has a great girlfriend, and is getting good at skateboarding. He has aspirations of attending college, unlike his mom, who had to drop out of school when she became pregnant with him.
But all of his dreams come crashing down when his girlfriend, Alicia, tells him that she's pregnant. And she has no intention of getting rid of the baby.
Sam spooks. He goes into denial. When that doesn't work, he tries running away, physically and emotionally. And then, an unexplainable thing happens...while he dreams at night, he gets whizzed into the future and is shown an unexpected life that will force him to face the facts and take responsibility for his actions.
SLAM is a frank, vivid, and highly realistic take on teenage pregnancy from a point of view that is completely different from what many are accustomed to. Hornby doesn't waste time by working in lectures of the consequences of premarital sex, but instead gives us Sam, who is a little selfish, very scared, a bit ashamed, but ultimately a strong character who, through many trials and despite his own feelings, manages to pull himself together and attempt to be the best dad he can be -- and is surprisingly good at it.
The more unbelievable element of the story, Sam's visits to the future, gives the story just the right dash of unique appeal without seeming too implausible. Hornby does more than just give us an intriguing account of teen parenthood; he reveals each emotion, thought, and feeling with startling clarity and humor, until you understand and empathize with Sam. SLAM is a fascinating, compelling, and even poignant read that won't soon be forgotten.