Impulseby Ellen Hopkins
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./b>/b>
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.
Hopkins (Crank) weaves together the story of three troubled teens locked up in a psychological facility after suicide attempts, once again writing in artful free verse. Each character is full-bodied and distinct. Conner is a wealthy overachiever who had an affair with a teacher; Tony, who thinks he is gay, was locked up in juvenile detention center for years after killing his mother's child-molesting boyfriend; Vanessa is a manic-depressive who cuts herself to "hush the demons/ shrieking inside my brain." All three have attempted suicide. As they begin to open up to their counselor—and each other—they reveal an almost unbelievable amount of grittiness in their backgrounds. Vanessa, for example, found her own mother dying after an overdose and did not call for an ambulance, and had a boyfriend who "wouldn't even hold/ my hand" while she was waiting to have an abortion. But readers will find themselves invested in the characters by the time the three head to their outdoor challenge—the final piece of their program—and can finally divulge their darkest secrets to one another (Tony and Vanessa even form an unexpected romance). This is a thick book, but the free verse makes for a fast read. By book's end, readers may well feel the effects of each protagonist's final choice. Ages 14-up. (Jan.)Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Three teens tell their stories, in free verse, from a psychiatric hospital after failed suicide attempts. Their lives unfold in alternating chapters, revealing emotionally scarred family relationships. An absent father, a bipolar mother, and a secret abortion have caused Vanessa to slash her wrists. As a compulsive cutter, she hides a paper clip to dig into her skin. Tony's drug overdose was triggered by an addiction in which he exchanged sex for money. Abused as a child, he is confused about his sexuality. Connor is the son of rich, controlling parents, and he survives a self-inflicted gunshot wound after a doomed affair with a female teacher. Initially, the narrators are inwardly focused, having arrived at "level zero," the beginning of their treatment. As they become acquainted with one another, the story, told in spare verse and colorful imagery, becomes more plot-driven and filled with witty dialogue. Both boys value Vanessa's friendship and there is an inkling of competition for her affection, although she assumes that Tony is gay. During a wilderness camping trip with other patients and staff, which would graduate the trio to the final level of treatment, it becomes apparent that one of them is mentally backsliding at the thought of returning home and has stopped taking meds. The consequences are played out, leaving the others to grapple with an additional loss and a newfound appreciation for life. Mature fans of the verse format will devour this hefty problem novel.
Vicki ReutterCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
“Readers Laura Flanagan, Jeremy Guskin, and Steve Coombs tap into the raw, overwhelmed feelings of abused adolescents and deliver such an honest performance that it’s startling. They perform with a visceral complexity and perfect timing that are nothing short of masterful.”
Read an Excerpt
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
no rhyme, no reason,
for a passing semi.
intersect at a place
no reasonable person
would ever want to go.
lives that would have
been cut short, if not
for hasty interventions
by loved ones. Or Fate.
people, with nothing
at all in common
except age, proximity,
and a wish to die.
at the edges and come
unwoven to reveal
a single mutual thread.
you could turn off
the questions, turn
off the voices,
turn off all sound.
to close out
the ugliness, close
out the filthiness,
close out all light.
to cast away
cast away all jeopardy.
you could somehow stop
the uncertainty, somehow
stop the loathing,
somehow stop the pain.
The glass doors swing open,
in perfect sync, precisely
timed so you don't have
to think. Just stroll right in.
I doubt it's quite as easy
to turn around and walk
back outside, retreat to
unstable ground. Home turf.
An orderly escorts me down
spit-shined corridors, past
tinted Plexiglas and closed,
unmarked doors. Mysteries.
One foot in front of the other,
counting tiles on the floor so
I don't have to focus the blur
of painted smiles, fake faces.
A mannequin in a tight blue
suit, with a too-short skirt
(and legs that can wear it),
in a Betty Boop voice halts us.
I'm Dr. Boston. Welcome to
Aspen Springs. I'll give you
the tour. Paul, please take his
things to the Redwood Room.
Aspen Springs. Redwood Room.
As if this place were a five-star
resort, instead of a lockdown
where crazies pace. Waiting.
It doesn't have a hospital
stink. Oh yes, it's all very
clean, from cafeteria chairs
to the bathroom sink. Spotless.
But the clean comes minus
the gag-me smell, steeping
every inch of that antiseptic
hell where they excised
the damnable bullet. I
wonder what Dad said when
he heard I tried to put myself
six feet under -- and failed.
I should have put the gun
to my head, worried less
about brain damage, more
about getting dead. Finis.
Instead, I decided a shot
through the heart would
make it stop beating, rip
it apart to bleed me out.
I couldn't even do that
right. The bullet hit bone,
left my heart in one piece.
In hindsight, luck wasn't
with me that day. Mom
found me too soon, or my
pitiful life might have ebbed
to the ground in arterial flow.
I thought she might die too,
at the sight of so much blood
and the thought of it staining
her white Armani blouse.
Conner, what have you done?
she said. Tell me this was just
an accident. She never heard
my reply, never shed a tear.
Much after that, except
for speed. Ghostly red lights,
spinning faster and faster,
as I began to recede from
through the ER doors,
frenzied motion. A needle's
sting. But I do remember,
just before the black hole
swallowed me, seeing Mom's
face. Her furious eyes
followed me down into sleep.
It's a curious place, the
Land of Blood Loss and
Anesthesia, floating through it
like swimming in sand. Taxing.
After a while, you think you
should reach for the shimmering
surface. You can't hold your
breath, and even if you could,
it's dark and deep and bitter
cold, where nightmares and truth
collide, and you wonder if death
could unfold fear so real. Palpable.
So you grope your way up into
the light, to find you can't
move, with your arms strapped
tight and overflowing tubes.
And everything hits you like
a train at full speed. Voices.
Strange faces. A witches' stewpot
of smells. Pain. Most of all,
A new guy check in. Tall,
built, with a way fine face,and 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.
They gave him the Redwood
Room. It's right acrossfrom mine -- the Pacific
Room. Pretty peaceful inhere most of the time, long
as my meds are on time.
Ha. Get it? Most of the time
if my meds are on time. If youdon't get it, you've never
been in a place like this,never hung tough from one
med call till the next.Wasted. That's the only way
to get by in this "treatmentcenter." Nice name for a loony
bin. Everyone in here is crazyone way or another. Everyone.
Even the so-called doctors.
Most of 'em are druggies.
Fucking loser meth freaks.I mean, if you're gonna
purposely lose your mind,you want to get it back some
day. Don't you? Okay, maybe not.
A long time ago, but it
wasn't exactly my idea.Shit happens, as they say,
and my shit literally hitthe fan. But enough sappy
crap. We were talking drugs.
I won't tell you I never tried
crystal, but it really wasn'tmy thing. I saw enough
people, all wound up, dropover the edge, that I guess
I decided not to take that leap.
I always preferred creeping
into a giant, deep hole whereno bad feelings could follow.
At least till I had to come upfor air. I diddled with pot first, but
that tasty green weed couldn't dragme low enough. Which mostly
left downers, "borrowed" frommedicine cabinets and kitchen
cabinets and nightstands.Wherever I could find them.
And once in a while -- not often,
because it was pricey and tough
to score -- once in a while, Itumbled way low, took a ride
on the H train. Oh yeah,that's what I'm talking about.
A hot shot clear to hell.
Copyright © 2007 by Ellen Hopkins
Meet the Author
Ellen Hopkins is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Crank, Burned, Impulse, Glass, Identical, Tricks, Fallout, Perfect, Tilt, and Smoke, as well as the adult novels Triangles and Collateral. She lives with her family in Carson City, Nevada, where she has founded Ventana Sierra, a nonprofit youth housing and resource initiative. Visit her at EllenHopkins.com and on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter at @EllenHopkinsYA. For more information on Ventana Sierra, go to VentanaSierra.org.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Vanessa was a troubled beauty, Conner was a depressed hunk, and Tony was the childhood disaster. Different lives but all similar pasts. Drawn together at Aspen Springs by a tragic choice of suicide from hate, love, depression, and the thrust to die. During their stay at Aspen Springs, they will have to face their past and their deep dark secrets of death, family, and longing heart for the gone loved ones. Inside the walls of Aspen Springs a different life arouses for the better or the worst for Vanessa, Tony, and Conner. Knowing the truth of them selves will soon be discovered.
Ellen Hopkins has a unique style of writing that had me hypnotized through out the book. I could not put the book down when I started. Instead of reading page after page full of text, Hopkins writes the story beautifully and poetically. I, myself never knew how poetry could tell such an invigorating story. I fell in love with the characters and their story. The story flowed wonderfully through out. "Impulse" was an insightful for teen depression and what goes through their head.
If you like a new experience in reading Ellen Hopkins has written it for you. With her intriguing way of writing will have you mesmerized. I recommend this book AND MY OTHER RECOMMENDATIONS to young adult reader over the age of 14. People with a creative mind set will enjoy this book.
Three troubled teens cross paths at Aspen Springs, a psychiatric hospital, after attempting suicide. Connor, Tony, and Vanessa all have demons that try to pull them under and get them to succumb to the temptation to try it again; this time making sure they succeed.
Connor's overbearing family, only concerned about his GPA, or his making the varsity football team, or getting into an Ivy League college, offer no solace during his time of need. Feeling suicide is the only answer after a deeply emotional love affair ends, he takes a gun and points it to his chest before pulling the trigger.
Tony, after many years in a juvenile home for a crime that still haunts him, decides to ease his feelings of despair and loneliness by swallowing a handful of pills, only to vomit them up and be found by the police lying on the sidewalk unconscious.
Vanessa is a cutter. In order to ease her mind in any time of stress she slices her skin with anything sharp enough to do the job. One day, when she was drowning in her blue ocean of sadness, she cuts too deep. She feels herself slipping into the abyss until her younger brother, Bryan, walks in and finds her. When he calls for their ex-nurse Grandma, she is able to hold off death.
After arriving at Aspen Springs, Connor, Tony, and Vanessa are introduced to a life under constant surveillance, strict routines, and hours and hours or counseling. Immediately the three form a bond, feeling drawn to one another as if they might be able to save each other from death. Together they navigate the regulations of the hospital and make progress toward healing as they tell each other their deepest, darkest secrets; things they won't even tell their counselors.
Ellen Hopkins uses her wonderful free verse style to weave together the story of three troubled teens as they attempt to heal the terrible scars left by their lives. The consistency the author uses when alternating the points of view makes the story easy to follow. Hopkins gives away just enough information that the reader feels a part of the story while still saving a big bang for the end. IMPULSE is a great story that reveals the importance of family during the healing process and is a must read for anyone who knows a teen.
I had just gotten the book a couple of days ago because one of my friends said it was really good i read the back and thought why not get that one! Ive read many other books be ellen including crank, glass, and burned which were all very good. I got this book and could not stop reading it i was drawn to it ! I faced so many emotions reading this book sadness sorrow forgivness happiness and many more! I hope that anyone that has doubts about this book reads it b/c its worth it! Rock on Ellen!
This was by far one of my favorite books by Ellen Hopkins. It was emotionally provoking and I really felt for the characters. I loved Tony and Conner, so the ending really dissappointed me. The vocabulary was intense because these 3 teens were so poetic. I guess it comes with being a suicidal emo kid. They all have great obstacles to over come in the healing center they were in for trying to do themselves in. Tony, a spunky orientally confused kid had a smart mouth. He was someone who would love to see you smile even when he was feeling bad. Vanessa, she was a sweet girl. Bi-polar and schzophrenic by birth her problems were understandable. On top of that she had to watch her mother die. That's crazy. And Conner, who was pushed to perfection by the comparisons between him and his twin sister. His mother is a cold person and she really got on my nerves. But all and all, crazy, tear jerking ending and everything else in between, this story was definately one of the best I've ever read!
This novel is one of the first I've read from Hopkins, and I'm glad i finally picked this book up from the shelf and read it. I loved it personally, because I am a huge fan of poetry, and this book uses a lot of cascading, poetic lines. This book hit me emotionally like a big fat blow to the chest. I cried, yeah, but that's what makes you really love a book - when you care for the characters as if they were people you knew and loved. If you like poetry, or just something different in general, then I toooootally recommend this book. If you like to read about drama, romance, and teens who find their inner-selves, then this book will be a great read for you! =]
i love ellen hopkins to death and she made me cry... again. its kinda scary how she can think of all these characters and what their problems are. Some parts are kind of slow( like Connors point of view.) but this book is very realistic and i recommended it to all my friends who like reading things like this. I love you Ellen and keep on writing amazing books.
as stated previously there aren't many books that i want to read over and over again. this isn't a lame thrill that lasts for 10 minutes, this book really makes me take a second look at everything. the characters, Connor, Tony, and Vanessa, all make what they did to themselves seem logical... almost. they are all crazy and amazingly sane simultaneously. the book is a surprisingly quick read, simply because Ellen Hopkins writes in stanzas, so her books just looks huge. i'd reccomend this to anyone who likes the more emotional subjects, yes this book has its funny points, but its always brought right back down to earth, even the ending.
However, the Nook Book is seriously messed up for me. The paragraphs and chapters are off. It's annoying. Please fix.
This was the crappiest book ever. I thought that this book was going to be good. But now i understand the cliched saying "never judge a book buy its cover". If you love crappy fake poetic diaries this story's for you, but if not.... dont waste your time or your money on this rip off. —ODd
This book is about how teens that need help after trying to kill them selfs or other go to aspen springs. One of the main characters fall in love with a "Gay" boy and he also likes her but conner another main character likes her. In each of the characters life storys some come from a decent home while others never met onn of the parents. Vanessa lives with her grandma and brother but the docter said she has bipolar desiese so she has to get better.. when these three kids go on a hike conner makes the wrong decision that changes everyones life ..
Reviewed for Monster Librarian as part of Banned Books Week Floored, that's how readers will feel only part of the way into this breathtaking tale of three teens in a mental care center after each has attempted suicide. While the book is large, 666 pages, it's written in poetry form so it reads fast. The terrible story of how these three kids, who should be enjoying the last years of high school, ended up where they are is boiled down to terse, powerful visuals that will leave readers feeling scarred. That said I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It puts adults into the head space of serious teen suffering and offers teen a real, honest look at how addiction, parasitic relationships and mental disorders (like depression and bipolar) work and manages to wash it all with a message of sympathy and solidarity. There are an increasing number of books out there designed to help parents and teens understand and cope with the real big problems that seem to be popping up more in life. But none that I've read have been as real as Impulse. It skips clinical altogether and puts the reader directly into the character's heads, slowly revealing their lives, even as they themselves face up to the significance of things. Few books are must reads in the large scope of fiction, but for teens and even parents suffering from or seeking to support someone who struggles with these issues Impulse is must-read. Nothing else crosses the barrier between "normal" and not with such strength and odd beauty. Impulse simply should be available in all public collections. Contains: references to sex, addiction, self mutilation, suicide, language
This book is amazing. Vanessa, Tony, and Conner are the most complex and deep characters. Vanessa is a cutter, but she doesn't just do it because she is a crazy bipolar girl. She does it because she feels like its the only thing she can do the only thing in her life she can control.Tony's story is the most heartbreaking. Even though he has had a hard life he is still the sweetest guy in the world. Conner is the golden boy. But this book let you know what life is like at home for the golden boy. It shows you just how cruel and cold some parents can be. Conner's mom is the picture of the ice queen she is cold and heartless. When all three of these charter's paths cross is when they are sent to Aspen Springs, a mental institute for kids and teens.They meet and they all become friends. Through each other they learn how to open up their hearts and love. Their stories are real and heartbreaking, but also exciting and full of emotion. At the end of the story an event occurs that leaves you completely shocked. Impulse is definitely Ellen Hopkins best book. She is a very talented author and all her skills are used to create these three amazing charters.
Combine a splash of suicide, a tablespoon of mental diseases, and cup of poetry and you get the wonderful, dark novel, Impulse. This book is geared towards young adults though can be thoroughly enjoyed by adults as well. Between the hints of drug use, the attempted suicide, and stories of sexual intercourse this book is unfit for younger readers. Taking the wonder of poetry and intertwining it with the passion of a novel you'll get Ellen Hopkins style of writing. Bringing in the passion of a teenager with the knowledge of an adult you'll find that she can combine skills and story lines to find a true passion. Impulse brings us into a world of disorder, a world of confusion; our three main characters find themselves in Aspen Springs, a rehabilitation center for suicidal patients. Each character, having attempted suicide and failed, has no desire to continue living, no will power to push them through. Slowly through therapy and budding friendships they come to the realization that life is worth living, love is worth searching for and that they too can have a desire to live. This book simply must be read; it combines internal conflict with mental disorders and thrusts you into a world most people can't even imagine. Vanessa, the main character faces the challenge of a mother catatonic in the hospital, a father in the military and being raised by her grandmother. As she finds herself growing more like her mother she becomes worried. If there's one thing she's learned from her mother it's, you don't want to get lost in the 'blue' days. But these very challenges build her true strength. Her mother's past and her grandmother's love for her helps her to find the determination to push through, the determination to overcome her maniac, bipolar disease. Impulse is based around Vanessa's internal conflict, her dealing with her past, her disease, her learning to love herself, her discovery of love from another. Taking all aspects of this torn girl's life and thrusting them into the forefront of her mind the doctors are able to give her the tools to overcome herself, the question simply is will she do it? Impulse has the most beautiful ending. It leaves the reader both satisfied and mystified. It fulfills the reader's need for a happy ending and closure, while still leaving them heartbroken and providing an opening for imagination to continue the story. It doesn't spend chapters slowly explaining how the story ends. It simply leaves you wondering, leaves you with; 'the perfect paper airplane'.
This book takes things from a important view.I love all the characters in this book,they make the story non-stop readable.In the end I learned from this book.It is a great read.
This book was just so good! You honestly DO NOT want to put it down! The characters are really cool and it's just a GREAT stroy! This book should deff become a movie, it would be an awesome movie! I'd get it on DVD for sure! Lol But yeah, just an amazing book and the ending is so intense! Great book :D
this book is about three people who meet in a mental institution, because they've all attempted suicide. this book jumps back and forth into the minds of the three characters, Vanessa, Tony, and Connor.As the story skips from character to character, it slowly reveals reasons behind each of the characters' attempts and emotions about everything they're going through. the story ultimately ends in tony and Vanessa finding love in each other, and Connor succeeding in killing himself. it was a very sad story, typical of Ellen Hopkins work, and over all a great story.
Forget how many pages there are, you'll only wanting more. For me, this was the one book I NEEDED in my life. It helped me in a rough patch in my life (woah, kinda cheesy there, huh?). Ellen Hopkins has an amazing talent for capturing feelings into words and fleshing them out through her characters. Her characters aren't cookie-cutter perfect either: they're real. Real with problems, with fears, with EMOTIONS. They grab you by the heartstrings and make you actually CARE for them. If that's not real writing, then I don't know what is.
I usually can not stand offbeat, weird writing styles. But Ellen Hopkins is wonderful. Her writing just lets the story flow along, making the book impossible to put down. HIGHLY recommend this book.
...that's really all I can say... This book was amazing! All books by Ellen Hopkins are amazing, and so real... I love Tony!!!! He's POV was the one I wanted to read more of! lol... Anyway...on a sad note someone um- well I don't want to give it a way but...someone- uh!!! I wish I could say but I can't unless I runin the end, and I wouldn't! If you want something edgy with a lot of emotion, and a lot of realisim then this book is for you...
i absolutely LOVED this book!! it felt so real. you connect with the characters, you feel for them, you laugh, you cry, the whole enchilada. i totally recommend this book to anyone. especially teens.
So this book was basically about three troubled teens in rehab. Through out the book there were four different points of view. There was the narrator in the beginning, then Conner, Tony, and Vanessa. They all pretty much tried to kill themselves. Conner is this super smart, rich, athletic hottie! Tony was the awkward, gay, questioned his life guy. Then there's Vanessa, poor, little, addicted to cutting her self Vanessa. In the rehab they have to reach certain levels to recieve certain privilages. When they get to level four, after going home and confronting their family they can go on a survival trip. Before all that happens Vanessa falls in love with Conner and lusts for him. Then the tables get turned and Tony (thought to be gay) falls for her. When she realizes this they fall in love. Conner stops taking his depression medication, which is not so smart. So things get all complicated and your emotions get jerked! So read this to feel how I feel, disappointed!
This book gave me chills through all of the thrilling pages. Every chapter you read gave you the suspicion of what is going to happen next, which made you want to read on to see what happens. I love that. It is an amazing story that leaves you on the edge of yur seat throughout the entire story. And make sure you finish it too, there is something that happes at the end you do not want to miss.
This is a remarkable book about the struggles of three teenage kids. Everybody has problems and roadblocks in their lives, but probably not as painful as Tony's, Vanessa¿s, and Connors. They all have to find a way to come together in Aspen Springs and deal with the monsters inside them. Tony is a loving caring person who cheers all his friends up when they are feeling low, but behind his cheerful façade he holds onto dark secrets of drug addiction and sexual abuse. Vanessa is a beautiful girl who also carries something she doesn¿t want anyone to know and that is self mutilation. Connor is a rich, smart, good looking guy who everybody thought had something going for him. Little did everybody know he held a painful secret as well. His secret was his attempt to kill himself and his affair with an older woman.
Ellen Hopkins really did a good job with writing this book. She was able to create each characters personal struggle into self determination and hope. One minute you are in Tony's world then next you might be in Connors or Vanessa¿s. Each character has a personality and struggle of their own yet Hopkins is able to bring them together to help one another fight their battles. I think the book was very engaging; I couldn¿t put the book down. Each part of her story led to the reasons why each character did what they did. I feel she wrote the book because she wanted people to know that you are not alone with the struggles and conflicts you might face in the world. I would recommend this book to anyone willing to read about deep personal struggles.
Impulse, written by Ellen Hopkins is an outstanding novel about life, health, and love. Three teens dwelling on losses try to commit suicide. All three meet when they all end up in a menatl institution called Aspen Springs.Tony,being gay is in denial wether he is or not. Vanessa, a emtional girl who find commfort through cutting herself. And Connor, a impeccable athlete who is heart broken over his teachers fling. The three soon find themselves in an adventure in which they soon question wether they have ever even felt love. The ending is very original and well thought out. I loved how many of there problems helped them understand themselves. I definetly reccomend this book.
A gripping story about three teens with different backgrounds and aspects on life. All have one desire in common to end all their troubles by ending their lives. Connor, Tony, and Vanessa all attempt to commit suicide and fail, which then leads them a mental institution, Aspen Springs. Through their stay they face many laughs, tears,and regrets. All three meet and share their stories. The ending very surprising and original. A great story which makes you think about love, life, and values. A story I definitely recommend by far I would say its one of my favorite books.