Okay so, this was the first book I ve read from Ellen Hopkins Before I read it I had been avoiding her writing for a long time because the books looked lengthy and the style of poetry didn t seem to be right up my alley but I was proved wrong Impulse is about three 17 year old teens who have each tried to commit suicide and failed They wind up in a treatment camp called Aspen Springs, and eventually find each other Together, they face their old demons and find new friendship The story is told in three different point of views Tony, Vanessa, and Connors I ll give my opinion on each of them.Connor His storyline point of view was my least favorite He was the typical jock character, and his connection with Vanessa Tony seemed like nothing than pure lust IMO, he deserved his fate at the end of the novel.Vanessa She was the average, streamline character for me I didn t particularly enjoy it when she was narrating the story, but I didn t hate it either The one thing I really liked about her was her connection with Tony at the end of the book.Tony I found his personality and point of view the best out of threesome I was amazed by his development throughout the story, and found myself relating to him at some parts of the book well, I related to all three in a sense.So overall it was a solid book, the only complaint I have is that nothing really major happened, and most of the time it was narrating in the past or how the character s felt about something that happened to them previously but it was still a great read. Impulse is a very short, but very powerful story.Ellen Hopkins is known for tackling those tough issues that are shocking to read about, but are particularly disturbing when they are about such young people Three characters lives intersect at a mental health facility, and at first the story is mostly about each one and how they landed there The story soon shifts gears, and it becomes about the bond these characters created We read on, wondering if they will be able to help each other get on with their horrible lives They all have their own story, but they have one thing in common They all ended up in the facility after a botched suicide attempt The I m sorry to say that is about all I m going to say about this book as far as plot is concerned The beauty of this book is in turning each page and wondering what new bit of information is going to be revealed about each person s past.Ellen writes this book in verse, like several of her other books I find her writing to be excellent When other less skillful authors try to write about these difficult subjects they can often rely on stereotypes and cliches making the whole thing just feel wrong Or they walk on eggshells around the subject hoping you will pull from it what they want you to, but you just end up feeling nothing, because proper explanations or details were never given Ellen has skills, however, and you are most likely always going to have some sort of emotional reaction to her writing Hopkins has said that her books are not about the things that happen to characters, but rather about how those characters react to those things I feel that definitely describes Impulse.I do feel like this book was a little too short, but I can t wait to read the sequel, Perfect.I recommend this book to anyone who doesn t have problems reading about suicide, because honestly she doesn t hold anything back If this is a touchy subject for you, you probably should avoid this book For everyone else this is a tragic yet hopeful story that you will be thinking about long after you ve read it. Three Teens Who Have Attempted Suicide Meet In A Psychiatric Hospital, Battle Their Demons, And Begin To HealThe Handsome Son Of Wealthy Parents, Connor Has Everything Anyone Could Want Except His Family S Love And Affection Jailed For Years After Killing His Mother S Child Molesting Boyfriend, Tony Is Confused About His Sexuality Manic Depressive Vanessa Cuts Herself All Three Stories Intertwine In A Brutally Honest Story About Pain And Resilience I started this book very excited Firstly, the cover looked interesting, then I saw that the story was written in verse form and my excitement level went higher Perhaps my expectations multiplied my disappointment Halfway through the book, I was only reading because I had already started and wanted to finish what I had started Now what to start with1 There were many times when I couldn t distinguish the voices of the three different protagonists I would start a chapter from a new person s perspective but I would have turn back to check whose perspective it was because I could have sworn that somebody else in the book had just said the exact same thing This is definitely a big NO considering the characters are supposed to be very different people Trying to figure out was a phrase I heard too often.2 The main characters were too judgmental I almost started banging my head against the wall each time one of them commented about how everyone else in the institution was crazy I mean, Justin was considered crazy because he had strong religious beliefs And for someone who claimed to believe in God, Tony was not cutting Justin any slack Dahlia was constantly insulted even though they didn t really know her story Lori was derided for being moody when, HELLO, most of them were on anti depressants anyway because they were mostly DEPRESSED All in all, the only impression I could get was that these were just regular kids with problems but the main characters were too concerned with forming weird love triangles and figuring each other out that they only took the time to gossip about everyone else Vanessa didn t seem at all special or kind per se, so I don t understand why Tony and Conner were both so fixated on how pure and perfect she was All she did was act anti social with everyone else And the only time she actually socialized was when she was insulting Dahlia.3 Their stories ended up not being very interesting Only Tony s story seemed even remotely engaging And for all the internal whining they did, and all the times when the story was cut off before some big revelation Conner didn t seem like anything than any regular rich kid with not overly affectionate parents It was never really addressed why he felt depressed enough to try to commit suicide over Emily, neither was why he hated Cara so much and called her a b h Vanessa didn t have much to tell either, and much of what was going on with her could be explained away because she was bipolar And the way she would describe her dad as if she hated him, then as if he was the greatest person in the world was just very confusing.4 There were just too many oversexualized references in the book Especially in places that they were not really necessary 5 The love thing was just strange How can Tony, Vanessa, and Conner be sitting together in a bus full of people, and Tony starts kissing Vanessa and expects NO ONE to see And no one actually sees Except Conner And for all their friendship, Tony and Vanessa are not considerate enough to keep their PDAs out of Conner s sight especially since he liked Vanessa too.6 All these, and , make me so frustrated with the characters that I cannot really relate with them.One star for effort and emotion But if she s writing in verse form, Hopkins should try to pay attention to it because towards the end it just got sloppy as if she wrote really short prose then just arranged it in lines SPOILER ALERT The whole Vanessa and abortion thing was just like WTF I mean, is the HUGE secret she had been holding all this while I didn t even really mesh with the rest of the story so far And after the BIG REVELATION, it was never brought up again, as if mentioning it once was enough for Vanessa to get over it Meh www.melissa413readsalot.blogspot.comHoly noooooo I knew this was going to happen I just knew it I m guessing everyone would if they read the book This story is about three kids, Conner, Vanessa and Tony who all tried to commit suicide Each of their stories is very sad..so very sad They all end up in the same psych ward together and form a friendship One has overbearing parents that push their children to be the best, they have no warmth for the children They just keep pushing them And it pushes the one over the edge to have an affair with an older person, but when that ends, it pushes them over the edge GunshotOne has a father in the military and left at home with a grandmother, a little brother and a mother who is bipolar and accidentally kills herself Cuts the veinOne has a father that left and a mother that lets her boyfriend molest them In juvie for years and years from killing the molester PillsboozeI felt for each of these characters They push different drugs on them that seem to help all but one Everything is gooduntil they die This author writes the most heartfelt, real stories and I just love them They are horrible, but they are based on real life Unfortunately Great book, sad and great It s hard to review this book, it really is Suicide is not something to be taken lightly, and it is also something very hard to grasp Something that we usually tiptoe around, nobody wants to be that close to death Ever What makes it so shocking is to wonder What can drive a person to such an ending Why is it that they couldn t see beyond their current situations, and why did they thought they had nothing left to loose.It was especially hard for me to read this because I ve been in this sort of situation, think of me as Vanessa If you have read the book if not, well, you need to read it, you really do Everything was so real, and I actually thought I was going to have trouble keeping up with the writing style, but no, it was really easy to follow and to get into it Impulse shows the life of mainly three teens, though there are people interned in Aspen Springs and you get to catch a glimpse of them Impulse really shows this Some people will make it Others won t In school, in a marathon, in life, in anything you can think about Some people aren t strong enough Some people don t want to fight any They all act on their Impulse.A strong story that comes with stronger decisions If you ve read titles such as Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma or Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, Impulse is a must be in your shelf THE GOOD I m really warming up to novels in verse, because I feel like they re introspective I like that the author isn t afraid to explore tough or sensitive issues and does so pretty straight forward can you tell by my tone that I really struggled to find good things, because OH BOYTHE BAD where even to start jesus h christ so the mental health aspect was Poorly Handled ps this is an understatement and romanticised fyi, the plot takes place at a mental health facility like look at this shitI ll never stop cutting, lithium or no lithium Only love can make me stopNOVanessa and Tony two fractured people, healed perhaps by unforeseen, not to mention unlikely, lovethe characters who recover are the ones that fall in love and THIS IS SO WRONG I CANNOT the one gay character turns out not to be gay at the end In his words My lifestyle has caused me a lot of pain I hope to change that when I get out of here just to be clear, he s talking about his gay lifestyle He was sexually assaulted, which led him to believe he was gay but hey, rejoice, he s actually not whyyyyyyyy is this happening gay people aren t gay because something bad happened to them, stoooooop this ALSO suicide is basically treated like a plot device and in the end, one of the characters commits suicide so that the other two can basically be together without anyone interfering, at least that s what I gathered out of it WHHYYYYYYYY there are so many sensitive issues crammed in, that at one point it doesn t seem believable any suicide by several methods , self harm, drug abuse, sexual assault, sexual abuse, abortion, child neglect, AIDS, murder and others I m not mentioning because I am Tired this actually leads, imo, to poor character development and they just feel like they re there I couldn t sympathise to any of them oversexualization like, my dudes, it was painful at times this book is a Mess like noYAY or NAY avoid it like the plague, but if you do decide to read it for yourself, be mindful of the crap This novel, written in free verse poetry, is set at a mental institution and follows three teens who tried to commit suicide Conner is a rich kid with a perfect life who tried to shoot himself Vanessa, whose mother is also bipolar, is a cutter who went too far one day And Tony, who lived on the street after being abused as a child, tried to kill himself with a drug overdose Now they are all at a private mental hospital, trying to come to terms with what has brought them there.I d heard good things about Hopkins, but my ultimate reaction to this book was bleh I knew it was going to be a problem novel, but I had hoped that Hopkins might do something interesting here Instead, the characterization was often either flat as in the case of Conner and his family or full of holes as in the case of Tony Vanessa is the most well fleshed out character, but Hopkins leaves at least one major plot element just sort of dangling it s mentioned a few times, and then dropped I suppose it might be in part due to the first person nature of the narrative, but I was also disappointed by the way that Conner, Vanessa, and Tony seemed to be the only human characters in the novel The other patients were characterized solely by their mental illnesses, and were very rarely treated with any kind of sympathy I also didn t quite feel that Hopkins did a good enough job evoking the different voices of the main characters through the poetry, which was supposed to have been written by them it all seemed as though it was written by the same person.I think this could be popular with upper middle and high school students, but it s likely to rub some mature readers the wrong way. Why Impulse is the WORST Book I ve Ever Read Warning This review will contain unmarked spoilers Also, if you loved this book and are going to be angry if someone didn t like it, you may want to keep scrolling.Oh boy Where to start This is my second time reading this book The first time was about a year ago, and it has stuck with me as one of the worst books I ve ever read I decided I wanted to do a reread as of an in depth analysis, looking for the problematic aspects I picked up on the first time around The Plot The story follows three teens who have found themselves in Aspen Springs Psychiatric Hospital, each having recently attempted suicide Conner is a golden boy with a bright future, Tony has spent much of his life in juvie and on the streets, and Vanessa lives in the shadow of her mother s mental illnesses.I have this picture in my head of Ellen Hopkins sitting at her computer, trying to come up with her next novel idea All of a sudden, it hits her Why not make a list of all the horrible things that could happen and try to incorporate it into one book Issues that are involved in this book Suicide by gunParents pressuring children to be perfectParents with mental illnessParents who neglect their childrenParents who abuse their childrenMolestation of young childrenRich kid problemsJuvenile detentionDrugs literally all of them weed, heroin, meth, crystalSuicide by drugsCuttingSexualitySuicide by cuttingMental health facilitiesBipolar DisorderSchizophreniaTeacher student relationshipsHomophobiaAIDSVeteran parentsUse of medicationParental suicideAbortionMurderAnd those are only the major ones This list is long, if you didn t notice Far too long of a list of complex issues for an author to deal with and execute well in one novel.Each of these subjects deserve care and consideration when being written about, but most of them are either barely touched on or dealt with poorly It came off as if the author wanted to cram as many issues as she could into the book simply for shock value.From the interviews with Hopkins that I have read, this book is not own voices, and it shows Hopkins talks in all of her interviews about how she needs to write for teens because their lives are so complex and whatever, yet she obviously does not understand teens in the slightest More on that later The Writing The thing is, this book actually doesn t start off that bad, but I think that s what makes me hate this book so much I actually went in thinking I was going to like it, whereas books that are shit from page one I don t expect anything out of.Most of the writing is good, quite good even There are some passages about death and depression that do feel real The verse is fine, though I think the verse just serves to reinforce the emotional manipulation with those oh so dramatic indentations.But the writing falters with Hopkins s weird ass descriptions Ellen Hopkins has no idea how human beings talk to each other, let alone teenagers The dialogue is frickin weird Such asVoices Strange faces A witches stewpot of spellsYup, a teenage boy would totally say a witches stewpotNothing about her hints nymph or flirt She s a bulldog Shit happensand my shit literally hit the fanEllen Hopkins does not understand the meaning of the word literallyPart of it is my old self, wanting nectar from a flower, the beat of a new heartPuh leez Like anyone thinks like thisan ice princess mom who raised me with glass kissesOh, come on You expect me to believe this guy, who was talking about orgasms a page ago, thought up this metaphorShe doesn t even blink Even a female dog wants her puppies clean and wrinkle free unless, of course, she s a Shar PeiThis is the quote meant to illustrate how Conner s mother is an evil bitch, but honestly if someone said this to me I would fall over laughing out of sheer confusion.Perhaps this sort of writing is an attempt to make the story dramatic You tell me I just think it sounds weird OversexualizationA woman like that will work like clay soften her up, touch her just right, the sculptor is guaranteed to have his wayThe oversexualization of teenagers in this book is ridiculous Yes, some teens are crazy horny but these guys are unrealistically grossI ve got her right where I want her on her knees, my hands caught in her silky blond hair as she whispers, I want you, Conner Let me chase away your thought of your Emily Come to me when you get out of this place I ll show you how a real woman makes love to men such as you, and I don t give a damn how high the stakes areThis may shock you, but not all teens are obsessed with sex The oversexualization here is just a lazy attempt to make her characters sound like teens It s uncomfortable and actually kind of insultingacting too tough to tumble He s a nutshell asking to crack Wonder if he s ever let a guy touch that pumped up bodJust makes the character sound like a pervDid she have a clue that all those dollars spent on haute couture allowed her sweet young son to feed his appetite for carnal pleasure to divvy himself among a stable of filliesI actually feel gross reading that sentence I m supposed to sympathize with this character And she actually thinks a teenage boy would say this Or even an actual person of any age Misrepresentation of Mental Health Facilities This book shows a mental health facility as completely incompetent They don t help the characters at all.Books about mental health should make an effort to show or even imply good relationships between the teens and therapists and those trying to help them, because many teens reading books like these are struggling with similar issues.All adults but one in the novel are absolutely horrific It does not encourage those going through similar things to seek help from adults and professionals, which is such a missed opportunity.Let s not even talk about the fucking level four wilderness camp Please explain to me what mental health facility would think it s a good idea for their final test to be taking the formerly suicidal teenagers hiking ON A FUCKING CLIFF What did they think was going to happen But that aspect is just part of the Ellen Hopkins trademark overdramatic shock value books All it does is piss me off The Characters Though this is a long book 666 pages, lol the characters still feel underdeveloped Things could have been delved into with depth Perhaps this was due to the verse Conner He could have been a sympathetic character, but he actually ended up sounding kind of creepy He comes off as manipulative, jealous, judgemental, homophobic, and rude His thoughts are gross and often revolve around sex He mocks the other patients dealing with mental illness Yet we are meant to sympathize with him Tony He s a nice guy I liked Tony, really He was the most interesting of the three More on him in a bit.Vanessa Vanessa is a complete special snowflake She thinks she s ugly but all the guys fawn over her and constantly tell her how beautiful and amazing she is She s actually incredibly boring compared to the other main characters.Suddenly, in the last 40 pages or so, Vanessa reveals she had an abortion previously Vanessa s abortion plot is so pointless It s brought up once near the very end and never talked about again Why was it even included We got no hints of it in her perspective and nothing about how it impacted her Missed opportunity Tony s Sexuality Tony starts off the story confident in his sexuality, until he suddenly realizes he was only gay because he was sexually abused and turns straight.This is so problematic I hardly know where to start.Tony talks about how he thinks perversion is a result of being a target of perversion and then says he doesn t think he is gay, implying that his being gay was a result of being sexually abused.Yes, I know Ellen Hopkins isn t homophobic, I ve read other stuff by her However, this book reinforces the idea that gay people are gay because there is something wrong with them, and that being gay is a form of perversion.The story also implies that Tony needed to realize he was straight in order to recover.It also reinforces that people who have been sexually abused are somehow broken or damaged or worse likely to be pervertedTony says he s gay and I m guessing he really believes it, but he doesn t seem that way to meLike you have any fucking idea or right to judge someone s sexuality, ConnerIt being gay doesn t mean that to me, Vanessa My lifestyle has caused me a lot of pain I hope to change that when I get out of hereThis is Tony actually implying that being gay is a cause of pain I can t get over how his storyline of redemption is a storyline basically where he is cured of being gayIt s so new, this woman thing, yet it doesn t feel foreign It feels like where I ve always belongedRomanticization of Mental Illness Not only is this book just a thinly veiled love triangle, but it is also one of the worst cases of romanticizing mental illness that I have ever read HereVanessa and Tony two fractured people, healed perhaps by unforeseen, not to mention unlikely, loveOh Jesus fucking Christ Implying that people who deal with mental illness are broken by calling them fractured and literally saying they were healed by love The only characters that recover do so through falling in love, which reinforces that love is a cure for mental illness and the only way to recover is to fall in love romantically Man, am I tired of reading that shitI ll never stop cutting, lithium or no lithium Only love can make me quitIf that doesn t prove this book romanticizes mental illness I don t know what will The main character blatantly says that love is the only thing that can cure her Overall Don t get me wrong, I ve thought a lot about why this book is so highly rated I think people get caught up in the overdramatized style, the emotional manipulation, and the pure shock value and it gets mistaken for good writing In the end, a lot of people miss these issues because they re caught up in the writing.This is definitely one of my least favorite books I m glad I reread it, because finding these quotes and providing a well researched review makes me feel a lot better I can only hope some others will see this review and recognize how many problematic tropes can be found in this book.Also, I think this is the longest review I ve ever written Considering my feelings on this book, I m not surprised. 3.5 stars The fact is, this is my third read by Ellen Hopkins and all of the books I ve read so far have affected me quite deeply I ve discovered in this past year that I really like novels in verse, I couldn t imagine it being my thing before I first picked up Burned but all the ones I ve read have been all the emotional, moving and effective because of it Before I start on about what I don t like, I ll just say now this book is worth your time if you are okay with the depressing, disturbing and occasionally gross.But, there s this one thing that is the same in all of Ellen Hopkins books, and to understand it best try and imagine the novel is two halves Not a first half and a second half but various different parts of the novel that either fall into half one or half two Okay, now half one is like the very first Saw film original, shocking, disturbing, horrifying but good as well because it s so different Half two is like the rest of the Saw films put together.Ellen Hopkins is Jigsaw and she wants to play a gameHalf two is made up of the parts that made me think surely Ms Hopkins is going to give these poor little buggers a break now I mean, honestly, how many ways can you find to torture a person In the same way that I quickly became tired of the Saw series and it s tendency to just keep inventing new and exciting ways to horrendously kill people, there were parts where I thought Ellen Hopkins went too far This book was 666 pages long ominous but really didn t need to be, the story was good, the characters were interesting everything else that happened was like seeing how bad their lives could possibly get.In the words of Bruce Nolan Ellen Hopkins is a mean kid sitting on an ant hill with a magnifying glass Let s take Tony Tony was repeatedly raped by his mother s boyfriend, he runs away and ends up popping pills and trying his hand at prostitution in order to get by, he then attempts suicide and gets carted off to Aspen Springs Psychiatric Hospital There the doctors try and re connect him with his long lost father but Tony s unsure of his sexuality and his dad s some uber religious and homophobic nutter What next for this poor kid Like I wouldn t have felt sorry for him had he just been raped Ellen Hopkins doesn t know when to stop, it s like right, he s been abused, drugged up, prostituted, discriminated against I know, give him diarrhea as well This book would be great to read if you think your life s shit No matter how bad it gets for you, these kiddies have it so much worse And if you think your life s worse than this, I recommend writing to Hopkins as you ll probably feature in her next book.It s not like it isn t good Half number one is fantastic well written, interesting, moving, gritty And I can handle disturbing, it can usually get me hooked I just feel that Hopkins uses the shock factor too much and it becomes less believable because of it.
Ellen Hopkins is the New York Times bestselling author of Crank, Burned, Impulse, Glass, Identical, Tricks, Fallout, Perfect, Triangles, Tilt, and Collateral She lives in Carson City, Nevada, with her husband and son Hopkin s Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest pages get thousands of hits from teens who claim Hopkins is the only one who understands me , and she can be visited at ellenhopkin
- Audio CD
- 405 pages
- Ellen Hopkins
- 28 March 2017 Ellen Hopkins