Slam (novel)

Slam is a novel written by British author Nick Hornby, published in 2007. The book's main theme is teenage pregnancy and it is written from the perspective of a teenager, Sam.

First edition
AuthorNick Hornby
CountryUnited Kingdom
PublisherPuffin (UK)
Putnam (US)
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardback and Paperback)
Pages309 pp
Preceded byA Long Way Down 
Followed byJuliet, Naked 

Main characters

  • Sam Jones is a troubled 16-year-old skateboarder, Sam is scared and unprepared to be a father. His idol is Tony Hawk. He has a poster of him to whom he talks about skate tricks and his life. He has numerous dreams in which he is in the future, raising a child with Alicia.
  • Annie Jones - Sam's 32-year-old mother. She has a hostile relationship with her ex-husband (Sam’s father). She struggles to raise Sam, and is devastated when she discovers his girlfriend, Alicia, is pregnant. She becomes involved with Mark, a man she once knew through work, and it is revealed later in the book that they have a child together.
  • Dave Jones - An uneducated plumber, Sam’s father has no interest in raising his son.
  • Rufus "Roof" Jones - Sam and Alicia’s unplanned child.
  • Alicia Burns - Sam’s girlfriend, who gets pregnant and refuses to have an abortion. She and Sam meet at her mother's birthday party, though they get off to an awkward start due to Sam's obvious flirting.
  • Andrea Burns - Alicia's mother who is upset about the pregnancy. She is a Councillor in the Council organisation at which Annie is an employee. She is also teaching drama at college
  • Robert Burns - Alicia's father who is upset about the pregnancy. He is a college professor.
  • Mark - The new boyfriend of Annie. It is revealed in a "flash forward" that Mark and Annie will raise another child together.
  • Rabbit - Sam’s skater friend who apparently has subhuman intelligence and reasoning skills, with excellent skating skills.
  • Rubbish - Sam’s other skater friend who is apparently smart, with horrible skating skills.
  • TH - Tony Hawk, his idol. Sam always talks to a poster of Tony that hangs in his room and Tony responds with a quote from his book. Tony's advice eventually stops making sense to Sam and discourages him.
  • Alex - Sam’s girlfriend after he and Alicia split up.
  • Carl - Alicia’s boyfriend after she and Sam split up.
  • Emily - Annie's baby who is born after Rufus. She is the sister of Sam.


The novel's protagonist is a troubled 16-year-old skateboarder, Sam, who lives in London, UK . His mother, Annie, gave birth to him when she was just 16. They therefore have an unconventional relationship. He has a poster of Tony Hawk in his room that serves as his friend and confidant. Sam’s two best friends are Rabbit and Rubbish, two skateboarders. Sam’s father, Dave, is somewhat estranged from the family, visiting them only occasionally. After being introduced to Alicia at a party thrown by Annie’s co-worker, Andrea, Sam and Alicia start dating. He believes he is in love with her and visits her numerous times, almost daily, in which they have sex several times. However, one time Sam and Alicia try having sex not wearing protection. Sam knows that due to him having sex with Alicia without a condom, she might be pregnant. He's just not ready to be a father.

After a while, Sam gets bored of his relationship and decides to break up. A while later, Alicia calls him to meet so they can talk. Sam, realizing what news she has, has a prophetic dream of waking up next to Alicia in the future. She is ugly and heavy, and their baby, Roof, is loud and obnoxious. He attends the local college occasionally throughout the week, pursuing a career in art and design. Moreover, Annie is pregnant. Sam awakens the next morning. He is back to his normal time and presumes that he was sent in the future by the mystical powers of his Tony Hawk poster.

In fear of the obvious news that Alicia will give him, he runs away to Hastings and throws his mobile phone in the sea. Thinking he can make a permanent residence there, Sam goes to several attractions, only to be told there is no work. While in a seedy bed and breakfast, Sam meets a rude old man, Mr Brady, that hires him as a helper with various day-to-day activities (helping him up and down the stairs, and retrieving his remote control). In the middle of the night, Mr Brady barges into his room demanding he helps him find the remote that has fallen behind his bed. Sam grudgingly retrieves it, only to decide that he no longer wants to stay in the town. He returns home to Annie who has called the police. After spending some time with Annie, Sam and Alicia meet up and she reveals that she is in fact pregnant. Refusing to get an abortion, Alicia and Sam work up the nerve to tell Alicia’s elitist parents, Andrea and Robert. Originally upset, Andrea and Robert try to convince Alicia to have an abortion. When Alicia refuses, Andrea and Robert lash out and blame Sam for ruining Alicia’s life. Sam, Alicia, Andrea and Robert march over to Sam’s apartment, only to find Annie with her new boyfriend Mark. When told of the pregnancy, Annie breaks down and cries, furious that Sam would ruin his life. That night, Sam has another prophetic dream in which he takes Roof to a doctor’s appointment. Again, Sam has no idea how to take care of Roof and no idea what is going on. Sam upsets his son Rufus, and he again, realizes he is not a suitable father. As soon as Mark moves into their house, Annie becomes pregnant. Sam moves into Alicia’s house only to find that he really isn’t welcome there. He begins to take part-time college classes. He encounters one of Alicia's previous boyfriends who insinuates that Sam's son Rufus is actually his. He confronts Alicia when he believes that she conveniently made it look like it was his child. He moves back into his mother's apartment, resulting in him researching the internet for facts about teenage pregnancies. He discovers that 4/5 of male teenage parents lose contact with their children. He goes to Alicia's and begins to row with Alicia, resulting in her thinking he is seeing another girl. Eventually Alicia's parents clear the matter up. Soon after this Sam and Alicia take Rufus out for the day with Alicia and Sam having sex later. Alicia's mum discovers them and gets particularly angry. Sam and Alicia finally confirm to each other they were from the beginning wrong for each other. Then Sam has a third prophetic dream, presumably a few years in the future. He wakes up with a beautiful girl he doesn’t know. It is revealed she is his current girlfriend, Alex, as Alicia and he broke up. The two go to meet Alicia and her new boyfriend, Carl, in a restaurant. It is made clear that Alicia is the primary caretaker of the baby, but that she and Sam still have a friendly relationship.

Southampton's Reading Slam

In Southampton, 800 copies of the book were freely distributed throughout the city. A message inside the specially printed books' front covers encouraged residents to "take me, read me, discuss me and then pass me on and then wait till it comes."


Slam is available on unabridged audiobook, read by Nicholas Hoult.

Film adaptation

Slam – Tutto per una ragazza, an Italian film adaptation of the novel, debuted at the Torino Film Festival in November 2016 and was released in Italy on 23 March 2017. The film is directed by Andrea Molaioli and stars Jasmine Trinca, Ludovico Tersigni, Barbara Ramella, and Luca Marinelli.[1] Netflix acquired the global rights to the film and released it on 15 April 2017 on its platform worldwide except in Italy.[2]


  1. Carola Proto (20 November 2016). "Slam - Tutto per una ragazza: al Torino Film Festival arriva il film di Andrea Molaioli con Jasmine Trinca". (in Italian). Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  2. Niola, Gabriele (7 March 2017). "Netflix strikes for global rights to Nick Hornby adaptation 'Slam'". Screen Daily. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
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