Title: This Girl
Author: Colleen Hoover
Genre: Contemporary New Adult
Rating: 4 stars
The Slammed series tells the story of Will Cooper and Layken Cohen (her mother wanted to name her Layla, her father Kennedy, so they compromised). When the series begins, newly eighteen-year-old Layken has just moved to Michigan from Texas with her mother Julia and much-younger brother Kel. Her father had died unexpectedly six months earlier, and Layken is dealing with the after-effects of that as well as resenting the enforced move. Will and Caulder (his much-younger brother) are their new neighbors, and the first people the Cohens meet in Michigan. Slammed deals with Will and Lake’s early relationship and its many–and significant–obstacles. Point of Retreat takes place several months later, and explores the next phase of their life together.
I’d been meaning to read this series for a while, so when book three became available on NetGalley, it seemed like a clear sign that now was the time. I listened to books one and two (Slammed and Point of Retreat) in a little more than a weekend, took a quick break to listen to another book (so as to make the series last longer, of course), and then picked up book three.
This Girl brings the Slammed series to a satisfying conclusion, and it really earned its four stars. Much of the novel is simply Slammed from Will’s point of view (originally we got Layken’s), cleverly revealed as Layken asks Will (mostly but not entirely during their first weekend as man and wife) what various events from their first months together were like for him. Much of what happens we saw in book one, of course, but this time we get to see things from Will’s perspective so we’re also privy to some scenes, events, and conversations that Layken knew nothing about originally. We also understand more of Will’s reasoning and motivation (although all along in this series I’ve identified more with his character than with Layken’s, so much of this wasn’t news to me) throughout. We do get to see Will and Lake’s wedding, glimpses of their honeymoon (it’s fairly PG-13), and some of what comes after. The ending is all new, and definitely squee-worthy for fans.
One of the more satisfying parts of this book is the fact that Layken finally, finally is able to understand what Will was going through in book one. Throughout the series, this is what’s kept me from giving the book five stars–Layken’s inability to really “get” why Will had to make the choices he makes. As a teacher and a single parent myself, it was just so frustrating for me to see her seemingly unable to put herself in his shoes for even a little while. I had to keep reminding myself of her young age, but still. If she wanted to be treated like an adult, she needed to be able to act and think like one. Until she reached that point, it did make me a little crazy listen to Will berate himself for being an a**hole when really I wanted to applaud him for making the right decision and shake her for not getting that he was.
I actually listened to this one on audio as well (yep, got it from NetGalley and *still* purchased the audio–figured I had to have the complete set), and was very glad that even though both books two and three were from Will’s POV that the powers that be decided to go with a different narrator for this one. I liked his version of Will so much better–for one thing, “Caulder” actually sounded like “Caulder”, whereas the other narrator made it sound like “Carter”. Drove me crazy. Plus, this narrator gave Lake a Texan accent, which was kind of cute.
Definitely four stars. Recommended to those who enjoyed books one and two. It’s possible that this one could be read without the others, but the experience would definitely be missing something.