Study Guide


By Nick Hornby

Slam Introduction

When you're sixteen, few things matter more on a Friday night than what your boyfriend or girlfriend is doing. And for Sam, our main man in Nick Hornby's 2007 Slam, it's no different. He spends every waking moment with his true love, Alicia, and can't be bothered to hang out with his buddies or parents anymore.

In fact, when Sam's not with Alicia, he feels like he's suffocating or going to die. Sound familiar? These two lovebirds fall head-over-heels in love faster than you can say "take it easy," and they barely come up for air. So when they get hot and heavy one night, Sam and Alicia give each other their v-cards and never look back.

That is, until a few weeks later, when Alicia announces she's not feeling like herself anymore and skipped her period. Enter a pregnancy test. Now before you go thinking this is a mushy love story or one about teenage angst, think again. Sam and Alicia have a lot of big deal stuff to figure out when their life is derailed, an no matter what decision they make, they will have to live with it for the rest of their lives.

The New York Times Bestseller and ALA Best Book for Young Adults tackles some million-dollar questions about sex, love, pregnancy, and what to do when your life doesn't turn out the way you planned. And as an added bonus, it does so without ever getting preachy, which is good because nobody likes a lecture.

What is Slam About and Why Should I Care?

Maybe you've never been pregnant as a teenager. Maybe you've never been pregnant at all. Perhaps the idea of a screaming, pooping, peeing little miracle isn't your idea of a fun time. No judgments here.

Even so, you can still find something to relate to in this book. While the book is about teenage pregnancy specifically, underneath all the talk of ultrasounds and delivery music is a search for what to do when life throws you a curveball. Sam and Alicia didn't plan on getting knocked up before their eighteenth birthdays, but when they do, they have to make a bunch of really tough decisions right away.

We're betting you can relate to that. After all, haven't we all been:

  • rejected from our top college pick?
  • dumped by the love of our lives?
  • looked over for that promotion we've been dreaming about for months?

(Or maybe even all three?) Let's face it: Life is full of surprises, no matter how old you are. Some of those come in little bundles of joy at a hospital, while others are at work, school, university, or even at home. Part of growing up is figuring out how to deal with these surprises, even when they scare you. Sam and Alicia do this in a specific way, and you might do it in another. So long as you go down swinging, we're cool with it—after all, life's going to keep throwing all the curveballs it wants. Batter up.

Slam Resources


Nick's Nook
Check out the range of books from the author, from About a Boy to High Fidelity on his website.

Teenage Pregnancy
Learn more about teen parents just like Alicia and Sam at this U.S. government website.

Articles and Interviews

An Evening with Nick Hornby
Find out what it's like to spend the day with the guy.

Stuff I've Been Reading
Sure, we know authors write, but what do they read? Find out here.


The Author's Perspective
Nick Hornby talks about his idea for the book. So get it straight from the horse's, er, author's mouth.

Skate or Die
A fan takes on the book, trailer style. What would you do differently?

The Late, Late Show
The author has even been featured on Craig Ferguson.


No Horns Here
Author Nick Hornby smiles for the camera.

Tony Hawk
Dude knows how to jump, twist, turn, you name it. We totally get why he's a god to Sam.