Thursday, July 19, 2012

Book Review: Impulse, by Ellen Hopkins

Impulse tells the story of three teens in a mental hospital who have, for various reasons, tried to commit suicide. While this free verse story is an emotional and probably accurate portrayal of their experiences, I felt it was quite repetitive and moved much slower than some of Hopkins' other books.

Conner is the rich kid, who tried to shoot himself in the heart and failed. Tony has spent most of his childhood in juvenile detention and when released early, he took an overdose. Vanessa is bipolar and cuts herself when she can't handle the highs and lows. These three are now in Aspen Springs, and expensive juvenile mental facility.

There's much more to each of these teens' stories than the sentences above, and as they become friends and participate in therapy, we slowly learn about each of their horrors. And what they have been through is pretty horrific.

Hopkins verse, as usual, is lyrical and easy to follow. Each perspective is distinct. However, they just moved through the treatment process so slowly, that I must admit, I skimmed the middle. It's kind of easy to find the important pieces of information with this style of writing, so I don't think I missed anything. There's confusion, angst, romance, violence, sadness, and every other emotion in these pages, and even with skimming, I still felt drained by the end. It isn't all happy, and we wouldn't expect it to be.

When I read Crank I was riveted to the pages. I gave Fallout a 4/5 rating. I've read most of her other books and have never felt the dragging pace that I experienced in Impulse. Maybe it was my mood. I would still recommend Impulse to Hopkins fans and those who enjoy novels in verse and teen problem novels. No one can elicit these dark emotions like Hopkins.

Published by Margaret K. McElderry, 2008
Copy obtained from the library
666 pages (I'm not counting these in my page total for the year.)

Rating: 3/5




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8 comments:

  1. I have yet to read an Ellen Hopkins and really should. Which one should I read first?

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    Replies
    1. I would start with Crank, her first and most popular.

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  2. This bums me out. I have this one on my shelf and was hoping it would be as good as her previous books. My favorite of hers is Burned. Have you read that one?

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    1. I don't think I've read Burned, but I get them confused. I'll put it on my list to check... I have Perfect on my "soon" pile...

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  3. I love the Ellen Hopkins verse novels, but have not read this one. It is too bad that this one doesn't live up to what you expected after reading some of her other work. She is a master on writing emotional material, and usually delivers a faster pace. Thank you for your review.

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    1. The emotional impact is definitely there...it just bogged down for me. Possibly my mood...sometimes it's hard to take all that pain, although I thought I was prepared.

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  4. I thought this book was great, but I can't say I enjoyed it. While many of Ellen's other books seem to be outside my privileged, suburban realm, this one (and its companion, Perfect) strikes close to home. These kids are the kids I see every day of my life. They are my friends kids, the kids I work with at school... I think Impulse and Perfect should be read by every parent and teacher, and then passed along to their kids because it has so much wisdom in the experiences these kids have...

    Karis @ YA Litwit

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    Replies
    1. I agree, but, my "suburb" is experiencing a terrible heroin problem. A student died of a heroin overdose last year. So, unfortunately, her other books are hitting home too (and some of the most popular in my library.) I would love for teens to read ALL of her books...(and many of them do.)

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