Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Impulse #1


Rate this book
Sometimes you don't wake up. But if you happen to, you know things will never be the same.

Three lives, three different paths to the same destination: Aspen Springs, a psychiatric hospital for those who have attempted the ultimate act—suicide.

Vanessa is beautiful and smart, but her secrets keep her answering the call of the blade.

Tony, after suffering a painful childhood, can only find peace through pills.

And Conner, outwardly, has the perfect life. But dig a little deeper and find a boy who is in constant battle with his parents, his life, himself.

In one instant each of these young people decided enough was enough. They grabbed the blade, the bottle, the gun—and tried to end it all. Now they have a second chance, and just maybe, with each other's help, they can find their way to a better life—but only if they're strong and can fight the demons that brought them here in the first place.

666 pages, Hardcover

First published January 23, 2007

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Ellen Hopkins

78 books17.1k followers
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 ellenhopkins.com.

Like most of you here, books are my life. Reading is a passion, but writing is the biggest part of me. Balance is my greatest challenge, as I love my family, friends, animals and home, but also love traveling to meet my readers. Hope I meet many of you soon!

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
40,549 (53%)
4 stars
20,490 (26%)
3 stars
10,782 (14%)
2 stars
2,949 (3%)
1 star
1,279 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,802 reviews
Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,084 reviews17.5k followers
April 3, 2019
I started Impulse with really high hopes for this after enjoying Hopkins' Tricks series. Unfortunately, Impulse is a pretty terrible book, with severe issues of mental health being tackled sort of horribly and a shitty love triangle no one cares about. And besides that, it contains the most homophobic storyline I have ever had the displeasure of reading. I am not joking or exaggerating when I say this storyline genuinely reads like someone's conversion therapy manifesto.

Let's talk.

Before you call me an SJW keyboard warrior so you can feel morally vindicated in your opinion: Please at least read the damn review? I'm not complaining about this just for the sake of complaining or whatever you'd like to believe. This isn't some kind of minor "negative tropes" thing. If I had less self-confidence, I genuinely cannot imagine how I would've taken this and where this book could've taken me. Like, feel free to love this book – books are always subjective. But please do let me despise this book in peace.


Okay, this is the section where I'm a bitter salty person and I feel the need to explain why this book is just kind of generally bad ignoring all the stuff that is Problematique. Because that's who I am! Basically, it's super fucking obvious that this book wasn't outlined well or like, at all. Each one of the characters goes through so many terrible events that Hopkins cannot possibly resolve them all. She took on too many issues with only three characters, and it quickly approached a point where she didn't even bother exploring these important issues in an inoffensive way.

In terms of character, I had some major issues as well. All these characters could've been redeemable, but they're really not fleshed out? I'm not sure anyone ever told Ms. Hopkins that trauma is not a character trait.

✔ Vanessa has bipolar and kind of a judgemental asshole. That's it. I could've excused her bad behavior if she were redeemed, but she's not developed or fleshed-out, and she never really improves.
✔ Connor is a complete fuckboy and again, I could've excused it, but he's not fleshed-out. He's just boring and annoying.
✔ Tony's a decent character. Again, he's not fleshed-out quite enough, but he's a good guy. We'll talk about his arc later.


✔ I don't think Hopkins did her research on mental health facilities. Every adult in this facility was either a villain or incompetent. Again, this is a toxic message to teens who want to help their own issues. Mental health facilities can be toxic places, yes, but they can also be great rehabilitation centers. Sticking with a negative view of rehabilitation places in every book strikes me as a bad message. This can be realistic on some occasions, it just didn't seem like the greatest plot decision.

Suicide should not be used as a plot device. Do depressed people need stories about how they are doomed to commit suicide anyway, despite their attempts to get better? I don't speak for all depressed people, but reading a book like this or All the Bright Places in a really depressed phase would've been extremely toxic for me. “You eventually will commit suicide” is a very bleak message to give teens who feel their very existence is bleak.

I'll never stop cutting, lithium or no lithium. Only love can make me stop.
I saw this quote in Octavia's awesome review, and I had to look it up because I almost didn't believe it. I'd forgotten how bad this was. Love is positioned as a cure for mental illness. Trust me, romantic love can't cure depression.

✔ There's also this whole undertone of “our illness makes us better” running through the book. I really don't feel like complaining about this because so many other books have this same exact message, but I have a post about this on my blog, if anyone's interested in general thoughts on this topic.

✔ Generally, I feel like this isn't a book for mentally ill teens. I feel like it's a book for neurotypical teens who want to feel like their life doesn't suck.
There's a quote from this review that I think sums it up best.
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.
That's... well. It's just that these books don't portray the reality of being depressed or bipolar, to me. They portray the horror of it all in this way that's meant to shock you, without actually interacting or talking about mental illness in a productive way.


So here's probably my biggest issue with the book.
My lifestyle has caused me a lot of pain. I hope to change that when I get out of here.
This doesn't look too bad; Tony has been a prostitute, so that's probably what he's referring too, right? Well, no. He's actually specifically referring to being gay here.

Let me repeat that: his "gay lifestyle" caused him pain. His gay "lifestyle." Caused him pain.

His redemption is becoming straight.

I cannot begin to explain how harmful "positive character development in the form of learning you're actually straight" is. A narrative implying sexual assault caused him to believe he is gay, implying that had he not been gay, he wouldn't have been sexually assaulted as much, is victim blaming and absolutely disgusting.

The idea of a gay character “realizing he's straight” has some kind of gross connotations in the first place and I don't think most straight authors have the nuanced understanding of queer experience to tackle it, but it is technically a thing that can happen to people. It's also technically likely he'd just realize he was bi, not that the possibility is ever mentioned. It's a lot rarer than homophobes would like to believe, and it's far rarer than straight people realizing they're actually gay, little as said straight people would like to believe. (I'm kidding. Mostly.) But the entire sexuality-change storyline is portrayed in an incredibly homophobic way here. It genuinely reads like fucking anti-gay propaganda. It is disgusting and it is horrifying to read.


Again, and I feel like a broken record at this point: Hopkins' prose is great, and I like that she's trying to speak to teens without mincing words. However, she needs to stop stereotyping neuroatypical and lgbtq people. She's not being great and representing us. She's being shitty. I can feel her fucking disdain for me through her pages and I'm so, so tired of it. I really wish I hadn't given her another chance.

And again, this review isn't meant to be an attack on you. The book is in places well-written, exceedingly emotionally manipulative, and who knows, maybe Vanessa's storyline resonated with some readers. But I'd really ask anyone who's recommending this to consider the storyline for themselves and really, genuinely consider the canon of the book. Because this is really gross.

Blog | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube
Profile Image for Chelsea.
1,143 reviews598 followers
January 30, 2018
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 more 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 gun
Parents pressuring children to be perfect
Parents with mental illness
Parents who neglect their children
Parents who abuse their children
Molestation of young children
Rich kid problems
Juvenile detention
Drugs - literally all of them - weed, heroin, meth, crystal
Suicide by drugs
Suicide by cutting
Mental health facilities
Bipolar Disorder
Teacher/student relationships
Veteran parents
Use of medication
Parental suicide

And 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 as:
"Voices. Strange faces. A witches' stewpot of spells." Yup, a teenage boy would totally say ‘a witches' stewpot’.

"Nothing about her hints nymph or flirt. She's a bulldog."

"Shit happens...and my shit literally hit the fan." Ellen Hopkins does not understand the meaning of the word ‘literally’.

"Part of it is my old self, wanting nectar from a flower, the beat of a new heart." Puh-leez. Like anyone thinks like this.

"...an ice princess mom who raised me with glass kisses." Oh, come on. You expect me to believe this guy, who was talking about orgasms a page ago, thought up this metaphor?

"She doesn't even blink. Even a female dog wants her puppies clean and wrinkle-free—unless, of course, she's a Shar Pei." This 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 more dramatic. You tell me. I just think it sounds weird.

"A woman like that will work like clay—soften her up, touch her just right, the sculptor is guaranteed to have his way."

The oversexualization of teenagers in this book is ridiculous. Yes, some teens are crazy horny but these guys are unrealistically gross.
"I'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 are."

This 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 insulting.
"...acting too tough to tumble. He's a nutshell asking to crack. Wonder if he's ever let a guy touch that pumped-up bod." Just makes the character sound like a perv.

"Did 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 fillies?" I 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 more 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 perverted.
"Tony says he's gay and I'm guessing he really believes it, but he doesn't seem that way to me." Like you have any fucking idea or right to judge someone's sexuality, Conner.

"It [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 here." This 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 gay.

"It's so new, this woman thing, yet it doesn't feel foreign. It feels like where I've always belonged."

Romanticization 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. Here:
"Vanessa and Tony—two fractured people, healed (perhaps) by unforeseen, not to mention unlikely, love." Oh 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 shit.
"I'll never stop cutting, lithium or no lithium. Only love can make me quit." If 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.


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 more 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.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,964 reviews294k followers
March 30, 2012

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 more 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 game...

Half 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.

366 reviews
March 3, 2011
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 with...

1. 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 more 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 more, 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 more 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
Profile Image for Megs ♥.
160 reviews1,284 followers
January 23, 2012

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 more 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 more 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.
Profile Image for Jude.
198 reviews637 followers
April 10, 2013
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 more 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 anymore. 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

Profile Image for Mary Books and Cookies.
553 reviews406 followers
June 29, 2018

* I’m really warming up to novels in verse, because I feel like they’re more 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 BOY


* 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 shit: “I'll never stop cutting, lithium or no lithium. Only love can make me stop.“
* NO
* “Vanessa and Tony—two fractured people, healed (perhaps) by unforeseen, not to mention unlikely, love." - the 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
* there are so many sensitive issues crammed in, that at one point it doesn’t seem believable anymore: 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... no

YAY or NAY: avoid it like the plague, but if you do decide to read it for yourself, be mindful of the crap

Profile Image for Thomas.
1,463 reviews8,571 followers
February 11, 2009
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 more 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.
Profile Image for Chelsea.
1,143 reviews598 followers
February 20, 2017
***This is an old review. I did an in-depth analysis of this book during my second read. That review is much better! Link: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... ****

Trigger warning for every bad thing ever—and I mean EVERY bad thing! Please only pick this up if you are comfortable with seriously mature subject matter.

Also, semi-rant ahead. Be prepared.

This is another one of those books that I’m incredibly conflicted about. I started off confident that this was going to be a four star book, but that slowly climbed down to a three, and then a two.

Though two was my initial rating I've decided to lower it to a one after looking over my finished review. If I can write this long of a rant about a book it can only receive a one star.

I read the companion novel to this book, Perfect, back in November for my book club. I thought it was well written, though I didn’t find it enjoyable due to it basically being A Series of Unfortunate Events: The R-Rated Version.

The ending of Perfect threw me for such a loop that I felt like I just had to pick up Impulse to see the story from the other side. Sadly I liked Perfect a lot more, due to the characters being much more likable and developed among other things.

Impulse follows three characters, one of which is Conner, the twin brother of Cara from Perfect aka the reason why I picked up this book. The three main characters are living in treatment facility and each has attempted suicide.

Typically I don’t pick up books that deal with such a heavy subject matter, but I think that every once in a while it’s good to set my fantasy aside and pick up something raw and real, like I was hoping Impulse to be.

Sadly I found Impulse to be one of the worst portrayals of mental illness I’ve ever read about.

Gah, I had so many problems with this book, where do I even start? Let’s go through the main characters.

Conner: I expected to really like Conner’s character from Perfect, but Imma be real here; Conner creeped me the fuck out. Was this intentional? Why did the author feel the need to turn a character that should have been sympathetic into a creep? He makes these weird sex references and metaphors and made me extremely uncomfortable, and it bordered on being perv-y.

Tony: I liked Tony well enough throughout most of the book. He’s sympathetic and believable; he has an interesting story arc and is an overall good guy. My issue was with the way his sexuality was dealt with, but it’s a spoiler.

Vanessa: I felt absolutely no connection to her. Her chapters were boring and she was the most undeveloped of the group. Also Vanessa was kind of a mary sue special snowflake whatever, you know the type.

All of the characters kind of felt underdeveloped to me, which is weird since this book is 666 (*eye roll*) pages, plenty of time to develop your characters. I remember really feeling like I knew the characters at the end of Perfect, but I never connected to or cared about any of these characters. Probably cuz they creeped me out, just sayin'.

The “teens” didn’t sound like teens in the slightest. Has Ellen Hopkins ever talked to a teen? I probably should have grabbed some quotes, but the way these kids talked was ridiculous. I can’t picture anyone, let alone someone near my age, talking like these people. Maybe the constant sexual crap was her attempt at making them sound younger, but it did not have that effect on me at all.

This was another book that promises to be a hard hitting tale of mental illness, but it’s really just a disguise for an incredibly weird creepy romance and love triangle.

Guys, when are going to stop romanticizing mental illness? Love is NOT a cure for mental illness. This book portrays treatment facilities in a bad light and the characters that recover recover through falling in love, but this is just not accurate.

The biggest issue for me was how oversexualized this was. SO FREAKING OVERSEXUALIZED and it was not necessary at all. All these freaking kids talk about is sex, who they want to have sex with, metaphors about sex blah blah blah STOP. We get it, they’re supposed to be teenagers but my god. It made incredibly uncomfortable.

Frankly I think Hopkins was more concerned about her story being shocking than being accurate in portraying mental illness.

Sorry for the incredibly long review/rant, I just hate when a book dealing with heavy subject material like this disappoints. Though they deal with very different subject matter I recommend Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things or Hate List for a book that portrays mental illness well.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,471 reviews9,638 followers
July 28, 2015

Holy 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. Gunshot...

One 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 vein...

One has a father that left and a mother that lets her boyfriend molest them. In juvie for years and years from killing the molester. Pills...booze...

I felt for each of these characters. They push different drugs on them that seem to help.. all but one. Everything is good...until 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

 photo book banner_zpsh916lrql.jpg
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
274 reviews723 followers
May 18, 2010
Yet another teen fiction author who was never a teen herself. This book probably would have been good if the teenagers had acted like teenagers!

"What's it like?" I ask. "Making love to someone?"
Vanessa takes my hand. "I thought I knew, once or twice before, but now I see there was no love at all between us. I won't know until I make love to you."

Gag me with a spoon! Ellen! Come on, these are seventeen year old kids! Let's get real, please. No teenager talks like that. Not even seriously depressed ones. Tony and Vanessa were so nauseating it's no wonder Conner jumped off a cliff. I would have too.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Heba.
60 reviews2 followers
August 2, 2015
This book bothered me so much.

I was extremely interested in a book written in verse. I had heard good things about Ellen Hopkins, so I decided to buy Impulse and it's sequel, Perfect.

Three extremely troubled teens, in a psych hospital, trying to work through their problems and mental illnesses.

These characters were shallow, and not likable. I didn't like these characters ... I didn't care about them. I couldn't relate to them.

Their language was also aggravating. Teenagers do not talk like this:

..." 'What's it like' I ask. 'Making love to someone?'
Vanessa takes my hand.
"I thought I knew, once or twice before, but now I see there was no love at all between us. I won't know until I make love to you."...


One thing that especially bothered me was the lack of accuracy in this book... These kids save their Prozac pills to "get high" later.... Prozac takes WEEKS to take effect- so I don't know where that idea came from. Also, who thought it would be a good idea to take a bunch of troubled teens, seriously depressed, suicidal, or otherwise- on a rock-climbing trip. With cliffs. Without harnesses.
This book didn't paint an accurate description of what actually goes on in a professional health facility.

The plot was focused mainly on the weird love triangle, and not on the actual issues to their depression, and mental illness. The relationship stuff felt EXTREMELY inappropriate and out of place.

All in all, this book was disappointing, and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. This ISN'T an accurate portrayal of troubled teens at all. The so-called "beautiful" writing, was hardly enough for me to not skim the last 150 pages.
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,401 reviews11.7k followers
September 13, 2009
"Impulse" is not an easy book to read. The plot is rather dark: three teenagers find themselves at the same psychiatric clinic after failed suicide attempts. Vanessa slit her wrist a little too deep during her "routine" cutting experiment. Conner tried to shoot himself in the chest. Tony overdosed on pills. The reasons seem to be typical - Vanessa suffers from bipolar disorder and cutting is her only way to get her mood swings under control. Conner is going through a severe case of heartbreak after his relationship with his girlfriend is over. Toni is an addict who sells his body for drugs. But as the story progresses, the lives and experiences of these teenagers unfold in front of our eyes and we learn that there are much deeper reasons for these kids to desire to end their lives.

The only reason I picked up this book was because I needed to read something in verse for my reading challenge. I am not a big fan of poetry, so my expectations were rather low. But as soon as I opened the book and read the first lines, I was hooked. The writing is so vivid and emotionally charged, I couldn't keep the story out of my head. I've read stories about similar subject matter in the past, but this book was by far the most memorable for me. I guess verse just adds even more impact to the narration as it skims over unnecessary details and focuses on raw emotion.

I will definitely read more of Hopkins in future, maybe after taking a good long break from "Impulse," I need some time to settle my mind...
Profile Image for ella ☆ any pronouns.
328 reviews70 followers
May 29, 2018
NOTE: The more I think about this book, the more I realize how much I enjoyed reading this book, regardless of all of the below. While everything that I have written below is still accurate and should, and will, stay in this review, I honestly really enjoyed reading this book. Actually, at the time I am writing this review, I just rechecked this book out from my local public library, and I am going to start rereading it.

With the above in mind, please disregard anything that states such along the lines of 'I hated this book' or 'I didn't like this book at all'. As I may have had problems with the book itself, I truly did enjoy reading it, as stated in the above blurb on more than one occasion. I would go back and rewrite this review, or at least edit it, but, quite frankly, I'm too lazy to do so at the moment. Who knows, I might do so down the road, but for right now, it's staying the same.

There are some MINOR unmarked spoilers scattered throughout this review

It's no surprise that Hopkins is pretty much known for tackling a lot of hard, serious topics in her books, but she went overboard with the number of them in Impulse. The main ones being suicide, but not just one or two kinds of suicide, but three -- pills, blades, guns -- along with mental health facilities. In addition, there are a lot of others such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, parental abuse, parental suicide, molestation, any drug you can name is probably mentioned somewhere in this book, cutting, abortion, and those are just some of the main ones. I could give you my longest Goodreads review listing the issues she attempted to tackle, but I want to make this at least somewhat entertaining, so I'm stopping there. Nobody who tries to tackle THAT many issues in one single novel is going to do it well.

All of Hopkins' books, for the most part, revolve around teenagers, which I find ironic considering she had literally NO idea how teenagers actually talk in Impulse. On what world would a teenager who was not even one page before talking about his girlfriend having an orgasm describe his own mother as, ...an ice princess mom who raised me with glass kisses.

Not to mention, while we were on the topic of how Hopkins failed to represent teens well in Impulse, there is so much talk about love and sex to the point where it all feels way too oversexualized. Apparently, to Hopkins, all teenagers want is sex, which, while true for some, is not accurate for all teenagers.

Hopkins used love basically as a cure for mental illness. I'll never stop cutting, lithium or no lithium. Only love can make me stop. I'm not a genius or anything, but I'm pretty damn sure love can't magically cure depression and stop a person from cutting.

In the end, Conner's suicide is used essentially just so Vanessa and Tony can get together. I know the whole idea of the book is that three teenagers become teens who tried to commit suicide, but suicide is more or less just used a plot device. The whole sh*tty love triangle theme throughout nonetheless just made me angry and annoyed the entire time I was reading. I couldn't ignore it, either, as the entire story, for the most part, revolves around the love triangle, which, in the long run, leads Conner to suicide.

Probably the most problematic thing I have EVER read was regarding Tony's sexuality throughout this book. Tony essentially realizes that is only gay due to him previously being sexually abused so then he "turns straight".

Listen. I don't like this AT ALL because it nonetheless implies that all gays are gay because something has happened to them and something is wrong with them. That is NOT the case whatsoever! It also insinuates that Tony has to be straight or else he won't recover and leave Aspen Springs.

I don't know if there is anything I hate more than when I am reading a book where the main setting is a mental health facility and the mental health facility is represented in an inaccurate way. A lot of teens who read books such as Impulse are going through something similar and that is why they choose to read it. Because of that, it is important for the book to accurately represent mental health facilities. Hopkins sets up a bad relationship between the teens and their therapists by implying they are bad people. I think there was maybe one adult in this novel who wasn't portrayed as evil, horrible people.

I liked the idea of having the levels that they advance to until they thought it would be a good idea to take FORMAL SUICIDAL TEENAGERS on the side of a f**king cliff. Yeah, because basically gifting teens who had once attempted to commit suicide an opportunity to kill themselves by taking them hiking on the side of a cliff where they could jump any second is a good idea when the whole idea of the levels is to advance them until they prove themselves as "healthy". It just doesn't make any sense to me??

I thought all three of the characters were nonetheless underdeveloped and kind of bland. There were several times where I had to flip back a couple pages to refresh whos perspective I was reading because they all blended together to me even though, after the first 50 pages, I figured out every six pages was a new perspective and they always went in the same order.

I also didn't understand the whole secret revelation of Vanessa's abortion. It felt so out of place as it didn't flow or mesh with anything else in the story, not to mention, that it was brought up within the last like 60 pages or so and never mentioned again. It seemed unnecessary to me, to be honest.

The conclusion will be rewritten at a later date, as stated in the second little blurb at the very top/beginning of this review.
Profile Image for Kirsten.
2,126 reviews87 followers
February 13, 2009
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 more mature readers the wrong way.
Profile Image for merina rey.
47 reviews50 followers
June 13, 2018
I’m torn in regards to my feelings about this book in general. It did destroy me in more ways than one, though.
Profile Image for Liz.
179 reviews8 followers
June 30, 2018
Edgy 14 y/o me would've eaten this up for sure. Tbh I kind of miss when YA was allowed to be this messy and dark
Profile Image for Mariah Roze.
1,020 reviews923 followers
November 22, 2019
"Three lives, three different paths to the same destination: Aspen Springs, a psychiatric hospital for those who have attempted the ultimate act—suicide.
Vanessa is beautiful and smart, but her secrets keep her answering the call of the blade.
Tony, after suffering a painful childhood, can only find peace through pills.
And Conner, outwardly, has the perfect life. But dig a little deeper and find a boy who is in constant battle with his parents, his life, himself.
In one instant each of these young people decided enough was enough. They grabbed the blade, the bottle, the gun—and tried to end it all. Now they have a second chance, and just maybe, with each other's help, they can find their way to a better life—but only if they're strong and can fight the demons that brought them here in the first place."
Profile Image for C. Maria.
315 reviews50 followers
September 20, 2015
I was thinking of giving it 3 stars but the last 20% of the book made me change my mind.

My happiest memories have no place in the past; they are those I have yet to create.

Ellen Hopkins did a phenomenal job with this story - it's powerful, heartbreaking and I do think it really shows the struggles and turmoils people with depression have. And suicide it's even a harder topic to write about - it goes deeper and it really hard to grasp every aspect and reasoning behind it.

I liked the main characters and each of their story. I'm sad about the ending - he didn't deserved that. None of them deserved the hand they were dealt with

I liked that Conner, Tony and Vanessa were so close to each other.

Is like no other kiss, ever. It wants, but does not demand. It asks, but doesn't take. It gives, and pleads for more. It is filled with desire, but also curiosity, and it teaches me that a kiss should come gift wrapped, not stripped naked. Most of all, it makes me want another kiss exactly like this one.

I liked how Tony's and Vanessa relationship progressed. It was cute and I really liked Tony's story and how he still had a lot of love to give and hope for him and his future. He really tried -more that the other characters - he actually tried to find his true self. And some of my favorite quotes are from him.

I wish I could give every kid the kind of childhood I didn't have--one filled with toys, warmth, love.

Love means holding on to someone just as hard as you can because if you don't, one blink and they might disappear forever.

One thing I really didn't like was that 90% of the time I didn't know from which perspective I was reading and it was confusing and frustrating.

"Life is all about change.If it were static, think about how boring it wouldbe. You can't be afraid of it, and you can't worry that you'll mess things up.You deserve good things, and I want to be one them."
Profile Image for Donna.
3,905 reviews22 followers
September 13, 2017
3.5 stars

This is the third book by this author that I've read. The first one was 2 stars and the second was 3. Her books are not for everyone. She writes sad, gritty stories about all sorts of dysfunction and messed up youth. I've noticed two common themes that run through all of her stories: drug use and insta-love.

The characters were damaged and needy, which explains the holes they needed to fill. Drugs, as well as a host of other things, plagued the youth in this book. And so did insta-love. The words "I Love You" come way too easily to them. Relationships blossom at first sight, as the characters try to fill their neediness and inadequacies. It just makes them appear even more damaged.

I liked the writing. There were some beautiful passages that had me saying, "Wow. I liked this book better than the other two I've read. Because of that, I need to round up to 4.
Profile Image for Spencer.
284 reviews60 followers
May 21, 2015
I'm left speechless by this book. I think my heart left my body while reading this, and if anyone finds it please tell me.

I absolutely loved this book. This book was so beautiful, relatable yet heartbreaking all at the same time. Vanessa cuts herself, I used to cut myself. Conner is in a perfect family, and all he wants to do is kill himself. I have what people would call a perfect family, and it's hard to live up to their expectations. Then we have Tony who is the gay guy with a very rough past, and I'm gay and my past is something that haunts me every single day. So, that being said Ellen Hopkins nailed all the characters.

If you've ever had depression, this book is something that I think you'll be able to relate to. This book is perfect. Speaking of Perfect, I can't wait to read it next.

639 reviews
September 19, 2010
Man, this book was breathtakingly beautiful. It was sad, happy, angry,depressed and anything else you can think of.Man, it was so awesome!

Vanessa. She was said to have red hair. Everyone thinks she beautiful and sweet. And I agree. She fall in love with a guy named Trevor who broke up with her. Trevor got Vanessa pregnant, Trevor wanted nothing to do with the baby. SO she got an abortion. Her mom had BPD and gave it to her. Her dad is never home. So the only option, to cut. She gets caught and gets landed into a crazy house It's amazing how Vanessa cuts herself with so many things. Vanessa meets Tony, has a bit of attraction to him, and finds out he's gay. Meets Conner, and has attraction. The attraction grows then Conner starts to turn weird since he doesn't take his meds. Tony loves Vanessa. He isn't gay anymore. They go out. Happy end? NO.

Tony. Is gay. He went to Juvie because a man raped him. Make sense? It doesn't, but luckily, Larry died(Larry's the raper). Tony's mom is crazy and his dad left him. Tony's fake father Philip raises him for many years. Philip is gay. But don't worry, they didn't have attraction.But then one day, Philip dies. Sad... So, Tony attempts suicide.He gets sent to a crazy house.Tony meets Vanessa. Thinks she is a pretty thing. A few days later,daddy came back for a visit in the crazy house! Well, Tony hates daddy. Vanessa feels sorry for Tony. Tony meets Conner, instant friends.YAY! Tony has an attraction to Conner. Conner likes Vanessa. Tony likes Vanessa. Conner starts to act weird. Tony and Vanessa like each other back, in fact, they love each other. Boo-ya! Happy end? Nooo.....

Conner. Hates his parent since they're so into acheiving things set too high. Never really showed their love. Was Kinda raped as a child. Fell in love with an older women. Is obsessed with Emily. Has a twin sister who is popular. Loved love. Then hated it. then loved it. then felt like he didn't deserve it. Tries to attempt suicide. Click, BAM! Dies? nooo.... Ends up in a crazy hospital. Meets Vanessa. Feeling the sparks. Meets Tony, Best friends. Joke around all day. Kinda likes Dr. Boston. Ehhh... Conner likes Vanessa. Conner goes into insta-depression. Tony tries to make him happy. No affect. Conner see's Vanessa and TOny together. Conner doesn't want any love. Some more depression. Everyone goes camping! They have challenges and all that and Bam! Do you know what happens?

Conner dies. Yes, he goes off the rope even though he is the strongest one there. Physically that is. Emotionally, he was a mess. His parents were shit to him, his lover left him, Vanessa loves TOny and Conner is sad. Since he wanted to die in the beginning, why not die in the end.

Honestly, the ending made me so sad. The story was great. So descriptive and all that. I wish Conner didn't die though.... :(...
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for allison.
27 reviews
May 15, 2017
Wow, just wow. It didn't take me long to finish this book because it was fast paced and it just. Wow. that's all I have. This was amazing. I just the ending felt like I had lost Conner as a best friend. Like, he just jumped off the cliff and i just thought i lost someone that was important to me. What a major plot twist Ellen.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
4 reviews2 followers
February 21, 2009
Without Warning

You're traveling
A highway, the only road
You've ever known
And WHAM! A semi
Comes from nowhere
And rolls right over you
You don't wake up
But if you happen
To, you know things
Will never be
The same
That's not
So bad.
Lives intersect
No rhyme, no reason
Except, perhaps
For a passing semi
Profile Image for Syndi.
2,905 reviews636 followers
August 3, 2018
I can't. I just can not. Do not get me wrong. This book is about suicide. A very sensitive and taboo subject to talk and discuss. Especially when the 3 characters all have mental disorder. It does not make this book more raw.

But the writing is just too slow. I just can not finish it. Just can not.

DNF shelve.
Profile Image for Rebecca K. 8b.
4 reviews18 followers
November 9, 2017
This book is great and really digs deep into heart touching topics. I would recommend this to more mature readers and even though I read the second book first by accident it wasn’t confusing because yes it has a second book but it’s from different character perspective so it was really cool to see it from this angle. Definitely a great read.
Profile Image for Yanisa.
57 reviews
February 13, 2015
This book was amazing...
At first I thought that the story would be hard to understand or that the world would make less sense since this book is all in free verse, but I loved the writing style and the way the words were projected towards us. Yes, the story was dark and the characters were depressing, but I really loved it and was completely entranced in it the whole way through. I got attached to the characters so quickly and just wanted more and more of their stories, all equally amazing -all equally tragic. I was surprised by how much I cared for these people -Tony, Nessa and Conner in that they were all so crazy and depressed. I like that they used each other to bring out the best of themselves and that there was not just love but friendship and hope and forgiveness. The verses were so easy to read and the words felt like weight to me. Even though it usually didn't sound like poetry to me, it sounded like something special; a voice, a calling a demand to be heard. I really enjoyed the organization of the chapters(3 poems each) and that dialogue was announced through a change in text. I was able to predict the end and the relationships long before the middle of the book, but feel that that knowing did not take away from my experience. Just the concept of young people having nothing but themselves to hang on to searching for a way out -for a reason to exist was really emotional and meaningful to me. The only parts that I was truly depressed however were Vanessa's verses about her cutting and the blue and red pools... the rest though sad, I actually made peace with. I like that the story was raw and real and moving, however I am not completely satisfied with the ending. I realize and accept that Conner couldn't handle it anymore and broke apart, but I wanted more of a closure, a tie to the end. I cant wait to read more by Ellen Hopkins and am really excited about this sequel. I have a feeling that the next novel will not be as touching for me just because the characters are new and I REALLY WANNA SEE MORE NESSA AND TONY, but overall I loved this book and cant wait for more reads.

I know that I'm already done my review, and reading it over it's okay, but I just feel like writing some more so that is what I will do. I'm sorry if my reviews are horrible -no one probably actually reads them and that's completely okay for me because I mostly just use them for me to express what I feel and look back to them when I'm lost and confused. A major theme in this book is death. The opposite of life? no I don't think that's a good enough definition for it, but I cant think of a better meaning right now. But I would say that death isn't a bottle of pills or a gun to the head. It isn't blood dripping down your wrist or a rope around your neck. Death is what starts to become of your heart when you stop. Stop feeling love, stop talking, stop thinking for yourself and stop being and reaching to become the person you aspire for yourself. With those kids, death was their pathway out of their problems. A way of drowning the demons and ignoring the pain. I don't think people who kill themselves are cowards, but I also don't think them as brave. I think of them as a version of myself, who I could be if there was no hope and there existed no light. I wish that sometimes the world would stop spinning, just for a minute or two, to allow myself time to rest. To sleep without stress and wipe away my tears. But like Conner, the world will only stop spinning when you do. When you decide that you've had enough and that you cant handle anymore. Which is really sad, since I have a strong belief that you can handle it. That we humans together are capable of anything. That with an extra helping hand we can crawl out of this pit that is our suffering, with one friend you can stop drowning, with a shred of hope you will realise that you're worth it and with everything that you are built with, you will see that there is a force on this universe that will redefine gravity, and stop the earth from orbiting for just that one second that you need to breathe deeply. Or maybe there isn't a force capable of that and maybe that is why people die. I hope that there is though, and that one day we will find it.
1 review
December 13, 2008
Impulse by Ellen Hopkins
I’ve never known anyone to personally who has attempted suicide or anyone who’s life is pure horror with scarred relationships till I read Impulse by Ellen Hopkins. The book tells from the three character’s point of view about their life and their everyday struggle to control their inner demons. Ellen Hopkins has shown me how lucky I am for having a good life.

Connor is one of the three main characters. He is your typical everyday popular guy. He’s a jock, has blonde hair, and all the girls love him. You would think he is obsessed and loved himself but really he wants to be someone else. His parents are really controlling and doesn’t let him have much of a life. Finally one day he attempts suicide and takes a bullet to his chest.

Tony is another of the three main characters. He doesn’t really know who he is, or what he thinks of himself. When Tony was younger he would exchange sex for money. He was abused as a child and he questions his sexuality. He likes to escape all his questions and confusing life by overdosing on pills and different kinds of medicines.

Vanessa is also one of the three of main characters. She keeps to herself and is really quiet. At home she lives with her grandma and little brother. She has a crazy bipolar mother, and her dad is never around. Secrets haunt her everyday that make her keep giving herself to the knife. She loves how the pain of cutting herself takes her mind off the pain she feels inside so she becomes a cutter.

Impulse is a depressing and very sad book. This book will take you into three teens lives and show you the horror and suffering they indure everyday. The teens meet at a psychiatric hospital in Aspen Springs and become friends.

At the hospital they must go through different levels to prove that they can handle going back out into the world and to not physically harm themselves. They start at level zero and they must work up through 5 levels. The fifth level is when they get to leave. As they pass more levels they will have more freedom to do stuff.

The genre of this book I think is realistic fiction/ thriller and young adult. This book is fiction but it is closely related to some ways a lot of teens live today. It lets you deep inside on how life is for these kinds of teens. I think it’s a thriller because its fast paced and it grabs you from the start. I recommend it to mature teens and young adults because of the graphic situations and language.

Ellen Hopkins was born March 26, 1955 in Carson City Nevada. She was adopted as a young child and went to school at Santa Ynez Valley. She wrote her first poem at age nine. She went on to study Journalism at the University of California before dropping out to start a family. Since becoming a novelist she has written many other books. They are all about teens and their everyday struggles. These books are Crank, Burned, Glass, Identical and she is finishing up her newest one Tricks that will be released in the summer of 2009.

Even though this book is really depressing and graphic it has a really good story to it, and you get a good idea of how hard some teens have it. If you want to know what happens and if these teens solve their suicidal problems you’ll have to read the book!

Page Count: 666

Genre: Realistic fiction/ thriller

Profile Image for Madison.
7 reviews
October 6, 2008
Text to World

This was a very dark, yet very effective story of three depressed teenagers who end up at the same treatment center. I wanted to use this for text to world because I feel that it is important for people to understand what others around them go through. Each of the teens in this story attempted suicide, and all for different reasons. Whether it be overbearing and harsh parents, torment from previous relationships, or a long life of constant turmoil, these teens have been through it all. Who knows what the people around you have gone through, or are going through? I just wanted to illuminate this story to the text to world section to say that people struggle through life, and a smile or friendly word can make a difference of a lifetime. This book really showed me how simple it is to brighten a day while giving me a first hand (well, kind of) experience of depression and struggles in life that some have to go through every day.
584 reviews25 followers
June 25, 2014
I'm still reeling after having just completed the reading of this novel. I am humbled at just how little I know and how complex life is on so many levels. This is a book of "inside" and "outside" stuff. It raises so many questions for me. Just how important is our environment in molding who and what we are? What about relationships, especially family? I think about resiliency and the difference one caring adult can make in a person's life. Pain - both physical and emotional...how difficult to treat and overcome. The kind of deep, psychological pain that is explored in this book is real for so many. How does one rise above deep debilitating experiences? What is the way out of hell for those that have really experienced the fiery furnace? I once worked with struggling teens. Could I have helped them more?

I will be processing this book for sometime. Definitely a mature read.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,802 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.