Every time I go to the library, I tell myself that I need to just return books and not check anything else out. Every time I go to the library, I leave with books. What can I do. On this last trip, I was tempted by Slam. I have to say, I went in with zero expectations. I have no particular interest in roller derby, so I wasn’t sure if I’d relate to this one.
I was so pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it! I read it all in one sitting and, despite some minor problems with it, I thought it was really well-written.
I’ll start with those problems, which really were pretty minor:
First of all, the pacing is a little off. Things happen very quickly, which isn’t necessarily a problem in a graphic novel (better than nothing happening, after all), but I felt like the resolution at the end kind of came out of nowhere.
My other problem is probably related to the very fast pacing — the fact that even after finishing this volume, I didn’t felt like I really knew any of the characters. We’ve been introduced, I recognize their faces, I know their names, I know little things about them… but I feel like we’ve just met, and by the end of the first volume, I like to feel more than just vaguely familiar with a character.
Those minor problems aside, here are some things that I really liked about this graphic novel:
First of all, the art. I really enjoyed the art style. It’s eye-catching and fun without being over-the-top. The characters are all really different from each other and easy to differentiate, which is something I haven’t found in a lot of graphic novels I’ve recently read.
Second of all, the friendships and the backstories. Here I want to say that this was shelved as YA at my library and while there’s nothing inappropriate in here, I don’t think that teenagers would necessarily relate to a lot of the problems that the characters face. We have one woman who joins roller derby because she finds out that her fiance had been cheating on her. I can relate at my current age. When I was fourteen years old? Probably not. We also have a friendship that really struggles because of school and work and other commitments. Also something I can relate to at my current age. As a teenager, I probably would have rolled my eyes and made some kind of comment about how if you really wanted the friendship to survive, you’d find the time to hang out. I thought this was really well-done because it wasn’t shoved in your face, but it was kind of a running theme through the volume.
I’m really excited to read the next volume of Slam. (Honestly, I’m probably going to do it a couple minutes after I finish writing this review.)
Have you read Slam? What was your most recent book-related surprise (positive or negative)?
Let’s talk in the comments!