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Slamby Nick Hornby
Synopses & Reviews
Just when everything is coming together for Sam, his girlfriend Alicia drops a bombshell. Make that ex-girlfriend — because by the time she tells him she's pregnant, they've already called it quits. Sam does not want to be a teenage dad.
There's only one person Sam can turn to — his hero, skating legend Tony Hawk. Sam believes the answers to life's hurdles can be found in Hawk's autobiography. But even Tony Hawk isn't offering answers this time — or is he? In this wonderfully witty, poignant story about a teenage boy unexpectedly thrust into fatherhood, it's up to Sam to make the right decisions so the bad things that could happen, well, don't.
"'Listen,' says Sam Jones, the garrulous young narrator of Nick Hornby's likable first novel for teenagers, 'I know you don't want to hear about every single little moment.' He then relives every single little moment anyway, and that's just about one date with a pretty girl. But he's wrong about us. We want to hear whatever this kid has got to say — the whole scary, hilarious story. ... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review) It's not that Sam's tale, stripped to its bones, is all that different from a million other YA novels. His involves a boy; the boy's struggling young single mom (mum, actually — this is London); a girl; the girl's posh, bickering parents; a surprise pregnancy; the baby's arrival; and the messy aftermath. Other novels might sub in a different crisis — drugs, alcohol, racism, illness or disability, a sibling's death, whatever. But lots of them turn on what Sam, a skateboarder, calls a slam. His own life illustrates. There it was, 'ticking along quite nicely,' until the day the pretty girl, Alicia, alerted him to his impending fatherhood, and he realized that 'the wheels had come off the trucks, the trucks had come off the deck, and (he'd) shot twenty feet into the air and gone straight into a brick wall.' That voice is the difference. As Sam says, 'You can tell someone the facts in ten seconds if you want to, but the facts are nothing.' You have to know what it feels like to suddenly become a dad at 16, which is where Sam has an advantage. His creator, the author of several wry sagas of British life, is known for channeling adult male voices with uncanny verisimilitude. It turns out he can channel teenage boys as well. Yet Sam, who is 18 as he recounts the story of his 15- and 16-year-old self, isn't just a junior version of the 30-something hero of 'High Fidelity.' Age-appropriately, he's all over the map. There's teen anguish: 'The boy who was talking to Alicia that afternoon ... he wasn't sixteen. ... It feels now, and it felt even then, as though that boy was eight or nine years old. He felt sick, and he wanted to cry. His voice wobbled just about every time he tried to say anything. He wanted his mum.' And there's near-constant teen humor (I'm still laughing about the birth scene and the parental squabbles). But the book's real distinction is conveying the illusion of teen artlessness when it actually pulls off some seriously artful moves. In one effective plot device, Sam has an ongoing, Socratic-type conversation with a poster of his real-life skateboarding hero, Tony Hawk. In another, he's 'whizzed' repeatedly into the future, where he finds out how much he will prove capable of. Hornby just makes it look easy. Elizabeth Ward reviews children's literature for The Washington Post Book World." Reviewed by Elizabeth Ward, Washington Post Book World (Copyright 2006 Washington Post Book World Service/Washington Post Writers Group)
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"Hornby pens a first novel for teens that is a sweet and funny story about mistakes and choices." VOYA
"Like the movie Knocked Up, this is a story about an accidental pregnancy that nudges the male protagonist into adulthood....
"We know exactly how Sam feels — even when he feels differently from the beginning of a sentence to the end — and it feels just right: a vertiginous mix of anger, confusion, insight, humor, and love." Booklist (Starred Review)
"Hornby's witty, gentle genius shines through." USA Today
"Vintage Hornby: a witty trek inside the emotional life of the modern male." People
Hornby's first novel for young adults — a wonderfully witty, poignant, New York Times-bestselling story about a teenage boy who is unexpectedly thrust into fatherhood — is now available in a trade-sized paperback edition.
The #1 New York Times bestseller, now in paperback!
For 16-year-old Sam, life is about to get extremely complicated. He and his girlfriend — make that ex-girlfriend — Alicia have gotten themselves into a bit of trouble. Sam is suddenly forced to grow up and struggle with the familiar fears and inclinations that haunt us all.
Nick Hornby's poignant and witty novel shows a rare and impressive understanding of human relationships and what it really means to be a man.
The #1 New York Times bestseller now in paperback.
For 16-year-old Sam, life is about to get extremely complicated. He and his girlfriend—make that ex-girlfriend— Alicia have gotten themselves into a bit of trouble. Sam is suddenly forced to grow up and struggle with the familiar fears and inclinations that haunt us all.
Nick Hornby’s poignant and witty novel shows a rare and impressive understanding of human relationships and what it really means to be a man.
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About the Author
The New Yorker calls bestselling author Nick Hornby "the maestro of the male confessional." He is the author of the novels A Long Way Down, How to Be Good, High Fidelity, and About a Boy, and the memoir Fever Pitch. He is also the author of Songbook, a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award, and The Polysyllabic Spree, and editor of the short story collection Speaking with the Angel. He is the recipient of the American Academy of Arts and Letters' E. M. Forster Award, and the Orange Word International Writers' London Award 2003.
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