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Slam
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Hornby, the author of High Fidelity and About a Boy, specializes in memorable characters; in his first novel for young adults, he's created a dozy. On his 16th birthday, Sam gets an urgent text message from his ex-girlfriend. He is about to be a father, just as his own parents were teens when they had him. Seeking advice from the poster of skateboarding pro Tony Hawk in his room, Sam learns all the ways his life will change with the birth of his son. Why It Is for Us: Who knew that Tony Hawk had superpowers? As Tony whizzes Sam forward and back in time to show him what his life will hold, we experience a full range of emotions from this baffled but likable young teen. Hornby is able to evoke equal sympathy for Sam and for his parents, who know how difficult it will be to rise above this situation and build a future. [Originally published in 2007.] Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

Hoult, who played the part of Marcus Brewer in the screen adaptation of Hornby's About a Boy, does a credible job-perhaps too credible-as Sam, the 16-year-old hero of Hornby's first YA novel. His tone is conversational, and he relates Sam's story about inadvertently getting his girlfriend pregnant, with little variation in emphasis: he's the epitome of the cool, unfazed teen even in the face of impending doom. But the combination of Hornby's authentic dialogue and Hoult's convincing reading produces some passages of teenspeak, especially between Sam and girlfriend Alicia-"Dunno/ Me neither"-type repartee-that is hard-going as entertainment. Hoult adopts a slightly deeper inflection for the part of Tony Hawk, whose poster Sam uses as a sounding board, but, comically, the quintessential California skateboarder speaks his lines (quotes from his autobiography, which Sam has memorized) with a British inflection. Overall, the audio showcases Hornby's skill at getting deeply inside the mind of his character. Sam, the most talkative teen ever to grind a skateboard, says, "Listen, I know you don't want to hear about every single little moment" and proceeds to recount every single little moment anyway. Ages 12-up. Simultaneous release with the Putnam hardcover (Reviews, Oct. 8). (Oct.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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