Point of Retreat is the second book in the Slammed duology.
Will is still madly in love with Layken, the new neighour he met nearly a year ago. Relationships are a part of life and life is tough, so Will and Layken’s relationship is not easy. Years after his parents death, Will is still adapting to being a parent to his younger brother and after the recent death of her mother, Layken is also adapting to being a mother to her younger brother. Apart from playing the dual role of parent and sibling to their young brothers, both Will and Layken are settling into their relationship with each other. But with secrets and lies pulling Will and Layken apart, Layken asks Will a question he thought would never leave her lips, “why does he love her?”
I read this book for the first time months ago, and was really impressed with it. But with hindsight, I was still in my CoHo honeymoon phase and couldn’t think clearly. But after reading Point of Retreat again, it was a different experience.
I mostly loved the narrative style of the book. I’m obsessed with alternative narrative styles and Point of Retreat is told through both prose and poetry. Really enjoyed that.
Okay now for the story itself.
Because this is the second book in the duology I was already familiar with the characters and their situation before I started Point of Retreat so I more or less knew what to expect character wise. Part of me really enjoyed this book but simultaneously part of me was really annoyed with the characters. Most of the issues that arise and negatively affect Will and Layken’s relationship are directly related to either a secret or a lie. Basically all their issues are their own fault and it could have been avoided if they were honest with either themselves and each other.
This was the one thing that annoyed me throughout the book, but also, this is the very reason I enjoy CoHo. She tells real stories. Relationships are not perfect and CoHo depicts that in her narratives. She shows how someone rationalizes a lie saying that the lie is better than the truth or that it’s going to save someone else unnecessary pain or anger. Then, by the time one party decides that it’s time to tell the truth it’s too late. We’ve all done this, I do this. I figure that I know best and that everything will work out but then it doesn’t and I’m annoyed with myself because I should have known better. Point of Retreat takes the reader through all of that, at some points I was agreeing with some bad decisions because the justifications of it were logical but afterwards I, along with the character, regretted the decision.
If Point of Retreat has taught me anything, it’s that bad decisions are still bad decisions no matter how you try to justify it. And what you think is the right decision for someone else, is actually never the right decision for someone else, others need to make their own choices about people and situations. But Point of Retreat is not about showing the reader that every hardship can be avoided, no, we make mistakes and we learn from them, Point of Retreat is more about showing the reader that hardship are inevitable even if you have the best intentions, and no matte how bleak a situation seems, eventually you come out at the other end.
“she says the only way to get the facts is to ask the questions”
Let me know how you feel about CoHo’s characters, flawed, or flat out annoying?