Book Review: This Girl

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Author: Colleen Hoover
ISBN: 978-1-4767-4653-1
RRP: $17.99

This Girl is the third and final installment of the Slammed Series by Colleen Hoover. It completes the story of Will and Layken which began in Slammed and continued in Point of Retreat. I enjoyed this book and found it to be quite a quick and easy read but because This Girl is the first I have read in the series I did find it a little hard to get my head around.

From what I can gather both Slammed and Point of Retreat are told from Layken’s point of view and This Girl is from Will’s. Part of me was expecting that this would be like a retelling of the first two books from the other side of the story. That isn’t really the way it played out though.

This Girl alternates between present and past with Layken questioning him in the present about things they went through in the past, which then gives us the opportunity to see those events through Will’s eyes. The present gives us a look at the point they have come to in their lives with Will’s recollections giving us an added depth to the events of the past. Coming into the series at this point means that none of the information was repetitive to me which was a good thing but it also means I didn’t quite have the full picture which I didn’t have a problem with until the random appearance of a brand new character in the last chapter whom I have no idea how fits into the story or who she is.

I got a big picture overview of where they ended up and some of the biggest impact events that got them to that point but having not read the first two books I was missing the day to day occurrences that propel a story from start to finish. I still really did enjoy the read and my issues with it are really the minor ones that come from entering a series in the last installment – which is really my own issue, not an issue with the story.

At the beginning of the series, when the recollections start, Will is a twenty-one year old student teacher who has been left orphaned and responsible for his seven year old brother. He is still struggling with his new responsibilities and the major changes his loss have wrought on his life. Instead of finishing college, where he was studying to become a teacher, he takes on a role as a student teacher which will enable him to graduate a semester early. The issue with being a student teacher in a high school is that you are only a very few years older than your students and that can create some rather large problems. I remember my favourite teacher in high school started with us as a student teacher and the authority and respect took a lot longer to cultivate than with any of the older teachers. As that respect grew we found she could relate much better to us than most of the older teachers. She started with us at the beginning of high school so the age gap was much bigger than the one between Will and his students which was only three years.

this girl

The student teaching position is at Wills old high school so he knows a lot of the staff from when he was a student, and he is still young enough that some of his hangouts, particularly the Slam Poetry club, are also frequented by some of his students so keeping that professional distance can be a little difficult. He has what seems to be quite a friendship with a couple of his students because of time spent in the club. This friendship seems to be limited to time at the club and doesn’t extend to other time spent together outside of school so wouldn’t be too hazardous to his career I wouldn’t think.

The problems begin when Layken Cohen moves in across the road with her mother and younger brother after the loss of her father. She is eighteen and they spark an immediate connection which all seems perfectly fine until they meet in the halls at school and realise that she is one of his students so whatever they thought might start had to end.

These characters have suffered so much, and to top it all off they are irresistibly attracted to one another and can’t be together which is only exacerbated by the fact that their younger brothers quickly become best friends, they live directly across the road from one another and they share third period – avoidance is not going to be an easy option. They are terribly torn between what’s right, what they need to do for the good of those around them and what their hearts know that they want.

At turns they try to do the right thing and then within minutes of being alone ruin all of that hard work. Will knows what he has to do but can’t bring himself to let Layken walk away so every time she starts to come to terms with the way things have to be he goes and tangles her right back up. I think reading this from her point of view in the first two books would have been even more heartbreaking, especially because she couldn’t know the torment that Will was suffering right alongside with her.

A great book with some fabulous characters and a heartbreaking story of love, loss and having to grow up way too fast. It is very easy to read as a stand alone but you would definitely benefit from having read the beginning of the series first. Another Colleen Hoover that brought me to the brink of tears for the heartbreak her characters have to face.

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