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Excelling at Chess
Jacob Aagaard
The Art and Craft of Feature Writing: Based on The Wall Street Journal Guide
William E. Blundell


Slam - Nick Hornby This is Nick Hornby's first YA novel, and the result is something a little less edgy than his earlier books (About A Boy, High Fidelity, etc). Slam's protagonist is a 16 year-old skateboarder who gets a teenage girl pregnant, and as he struggles to deal with the fallout, he's mysteriously transported forward in his life and forced to live out the day in unfamiliar circumstances. It's an interesting SF/fantasy twist to an otherwise straightforward YA novel. While it's a pleasurable read -- Hornby's a brilliant writer after all -- but the characters in Slam feel a little flat and uninteresting. My sense is that Hornby writes the protagonist a little too realistically (he says "I dunno" a lot), and as a result, he's not all that interesting or endearing.It's as if Hornby attempted to write to a less sophisticated YA crowd, and in the process sheared away many of the bits that made his prior novels so wildly interesting.I enjoyed Slam, but likely won't re-read it (I read High Fidelity and About A Boy several times). If you're new to Hornby's writing, consider High Fidelity or About A Boy instead.