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Slam

An honest look at teen pregnancy from boy's point of view.

What parents need to know

Educational value

May inspire teens to read more of Hornby's books, including About a Boy and High Fidelity.

Positive messages

This is a pretty frank book about the consequences of teen sex -- and just how many lives are impacted.

Positive role models

Teens have sex, but deal honorably and fairly maturely with the consequences, firmly supported by their families.

Violence

One brief fight.

Sex

It is about teen pregnancy. Fifteen-year-olds have sex, not described, and the girl gets pregnant. A mention of "pulling out," references to people who are gay, discussions of condoms and abortion.

Language

Some swearing, including "s--t" and "f--k."

Consumerism

Products and stores mentioned.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Smoking, underage drinking, reference to marijuana.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is a book about teenage pregnancy, which means that teens (in this case, 15-year-olds) have sex -- and the girl gets pregnant. None of it is described, but there are discussions about condom use, abortion (the girl refuses), and other sexual references. There's also some swearing, and numerous products are mentioned. Teens deal honorably and fairly maturely with the consequences, firmly supported by their families -- and readers will walk away with a real understanding about the consequences of teen sex -- and just how many lives are impacted.

What's the story?

Fifteen-year-old Sam is an ordinary, nice kid. He gets along pretty well with his single mom, who had him when she was 16. He does OK in school, and has a few not-very-close friends. He likes to skateboard, and idolizes Tony Hawk, whose poster he talks to about his troubles, and gets answers that are quotes from Hawk's autobiography, which Sam has memorized. When he meets a pretty girl, Alicia, who wants to have sex with him, he is naturally thrilled, and they start a passionate relationship. They are careful and use condoms. After a while the passion cools, and they split up. But then Alicia discovers she is pregnant, and she is determined to have and keep the baby. So begins a journey for which neither of them is ready.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

It may seem odd to say about a book on this theme, but with the author's touches of magical realism, humor, and warmhearted respect for his characters, this is a delightful read. 

The jacket copy says, "Nick Hornby has made a career writing about men who act like boys. Now he gives us a boy who acts like a man." That's about as perfect a description as you can get about where Hornby's first book for teens falls in his oeuvre so far. The book is filled with his characteristic wit, insight, and appealingly quirky characters -- especially Sam, who thinks Tony Hawk is a god, and who gets all the advice he needs by talking to Hawk's poster.

Adult authors often stumble when they try to tackle writing a kids' book. But given the kinds of books Hornby has been writing, perhaps it should be no surprise that his first YA novel is so well done.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the issues this story raises. How does it compare with other books that you've read about teen pregnancy? Is it more or less realistic?

  • The author, Nick Hornby, is best known for his books for adults. What makes this book a young adult book? Is it just the teen narrator, or is it more about the lessons the characters learn?

Book details

Author:Nick Hornby
Genre:Contemporary Fiction
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:G.P. Putnam's Sons
Publication date:October 16, 2007
Number of pages:304

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Adult Written byg.rempel17 March 17, 2010
love it, i have not even finished it and i love it, im doing this book for a senior project. and we had to use a british author. this is the only book i thought that would be a little interesting. but its more then that. its amazing.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written bykreese April 9, 2008

Thought Provoking....

Obviously this book deals with teen sex and the issues that pertain to it, but overall, it was a great book. Nick Hornby shows readers the physcological, social, and economical effects of teen pregnancy in a new way; throught the eyes of the father.
Adult Written bymoviemadness April 9, 2008

Great Book

Totally awesome book deals well with the subject of teen pregnancy. It doesn't gloss over the important social, familial, and psychological issues that go along with it. The characters are believable and lovable. Great for 15+!