Impulse

( 804 )

Overview

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,...

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Aspen Springs Psychiatric Hospital is a place for people who have played the ultimate endgame. The suicide attempt survivors portrayed in this novel tell starkly different stories, but these three embattled teens share a desperate need for a second chance. Ellen Hopkins, the author of Glass and Crank, presents another jarring, ultimately uplifting story about young people crawling back from a precipice.
Publishers Weekly

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.
VOYA - Jing Cao
Impulse delivers a riveting, fast-paced story of teenage hurt and healing through the power of poetry. All characters reveal new secrets until the end, drawing readers into their compelling stories. Hopkins grapples with a veritable smorgasbord of loaded issues in her story, but seems to want to cover too much. At times, characters come perilously close to becoming sob-story cliches, or caricatures of angst, though Hopkins always manages to save the plot with a new turn of events. Not for the weak of heart, this book confronts many of adolescence's darkest issues with warmth, humor, and gravity.
VOYA - Diane Emge Colson
Connor shoots himself in the chest, Vanessa slices through the flesh on her wrist, and Tony downs a lethal combination of Valium and Jack Daniels. All three teens were thwarted in their suicide attempts by timely rescues and now find themselves residents of a mental health facility. Each one has a gritty, pain-filled backstory. Connor is a gorgeous overachiever with icy parents and a broken, illicit love affair. Tony, who believes himself to be gay because he has only had sex with men, was sent to a juvenile detention center at the age of eight. Vanessa is tormented by her mother's mental illness even as she finds herself plunging through the same desperate highs and lows. They form a triangle of friendship, with undertones of sexual attraction, that carries them through the various stages of their treatment programs, culminating with the outdoor hiking adventure called the Challenge. As in Hopkins's other novels, Crank (Simon & Schuster, 2004/VOYA February 2005) and Burned (Margaret K. McElderry/S & S, 2006/VOYA June 2006), this story is written in free verse, with each teen trading off as narrator. It is a very long book, despite much white space on each page. Hopkins does a good job of feeding the reader a steady stream of shocking revelations, but sometimes the detail drags against the drama. The classroom scenes, for example, read like unbidden political messages. It is also difficult to get a real sense of each teen's character beyond his or her life circumstances, because the narrative voice varies little from one teen to another. Nevertheless readers seeking an understanding of teen suicide will surely appreciate this penetrating exploration of the topic.
KLIATT - Myrna Marler
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, January 2007: Deciding whether poetry, especially freeform poetry, is good is so subjective. One is tempted to dismiss a thick YA novel written in such a form as pretentious. On the other hand, narrative poetry has a long tradition in English and may appeal to YA readers in a way that a page of dense prose might not. This poetry tends to have lines six to eight syllables long and line breaks in inexplicable places. Yet the story becomes intensely compelling. Three teenagers who have tried in various ways and for various reasons to commit suicide find themselves committed to a mental hospital: Connor, who, in the manner of Edward Cory, seems to be everyone's definition of a golden boy; Tony, who is convinced he's a homosexual because all he's ever known is abuse; and Vanessa, who cuts herself to find relief from oppressive guilt. In spite of the vast differences between them, the three come together as best friends and perhaps something more. This is the story of their struggle towards mental health and a sense of their own value in the world. Their journey ends on a wilderness camping adventure, which is to be the capstone experience of their treatment. Only two of them make it out alive. The three voices take turns narrating, each offering a perspective on their pasts and developing relationships. The ending is both sad and a little too satisfactory, sort of like The Breakfast Club in print. Young people will enjoy this book, though. The characters are relevant and interesting and the story gives readers an opportunity to dip below surface appearances. Reviewer: Myrna Marler
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up
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.
Kirkus Reviews
In sharp, searing free verse divided into two-page chapters, Hopkins sketches three adolescents who have just attempted suicide. Vanessa (razors), Tony (drugs) and Conner (gun) tried to "close out / the ugliness, close / out the filthiness, / close out all light." They begin treatment at Aspen Springs residential center in pits of numb despair, unhappy to have failed and lacking human connection. The therapists broach some psychological issues, but Aspen Springs is more behavioral than psychiatric, awarding levels of privilege for acts of progress. Each distinct first-person story slowly reveals its grim secrets, stinging from start to finish. The origins that the text identifies for Tony's sexuality prevent his being a standard-bearer for gayness in literature, but the three main characterizations ring true. There's a tiny place for love here, but readers familiar with Hopkins' Burned (2006) or with signs of serious depression will anticipate the tragic ending. A fast, jagged, hypnotic read. (Fiction. YA)
Booklist
“A riveting, fast-paced story of teenage hurt and healing.”
—VOYA
From the Publisher
“Readers [Laura] Flanagan, Jeremy Guskin, and Steve Coombs bring credible resonance to the respective characters.”
Booklist

“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.”
AudioFile

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416903574
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
  • Publication date: 5/20/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 688
  • Sales rank: 36,890
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 4.90 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 1.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Ellen Hopkins

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.

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Read an Excerpt


Without Warning

Sometimes

you're traveling

a highway, the only road

you've ever known,

and wham! A semi

comes from nowhere

and rolls right over you.

Sometimes

you don't wake up.

But if you happen

to, you know things

will never be

the same.

Sometimes

that's not

so bad.

Sometimes

lives intersect,

no rhyme, no reason,

except, perhaps,

for a passing semi.

Triad

Three

separate highways

intersect at a place

no reasonable person

would ever want to go.

Three

lives that would have

been cut short, if not

for hasty interventions

by loved ones. Or Fate.

Three

people, with nothing

at all in common

except age, proximity,

and a wish to die.

Three

tapestries, tattered

at the edges and come

unwoven to reveal

a single mutual thread.

The Thread

Wish

you could turn off

the questions, turn

off the voices,

turn off all sound.

Yearn

to close out

the ugliness, close

out the filthiness,

close out all light.

Long

to cast away

yesterday, cast

away memory,

cast away all jeopardy.

Pray

you could somehow stop

the uncertainty, somehow

stop the loathing,

somehow stop the pain.

Conner

Arrival

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.

At Least

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.

I Don't Remember

Much after that, except

for speed. Ghostly red lights,

spinning faster and faster,

as I began to recede from

consciousness. Floating

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,

pain.

Tony

Just Saw

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 across
from mine -- the Pacific
Room. Pretty peaceful in
here 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 you
don'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 "treatment
center." Nice name for a loony
bin. Everyone in here is crazy
one 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.
I Lost My Mind

A long time ago, but it

wasn't exactly my idea.
Shit happens, as they say,
and my shit literally hit
the fan. But enough sappy
crap. We were talking drugs.

I won't tell you I never tried

crystal, but it really wasn't
my thing. I saw enough
people, all wound up, drop
over the edge, that I guess
I decided not to take that leap.

I always preferred creeping

into a giant, deep hole where
no bad feelings could follow.
At least till I had to come up
for air. I diddled with pot first, but
that tasty green weed couldn't drag
me low enough. Which mostly
left downers, "borrowed" from
medicine 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, I
tumbled 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

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 804 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(631)

4 Star

(102)

3 Star

(39)

2 Star

(18)

1 Star

(14)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 807 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    IMPULSE

    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.<BR/>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.<BR/>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.

    21 out of 23 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 2, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Karin Perry for TeensReadToo.com

    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. <BR/><BR/>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. <BR/><BR/>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. <BR/><BR/>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. <BR/><BR/>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. <BR/><BR/>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.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 19, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    I was very impressed!

    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!

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    I hope you like to cry

    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! =]

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 18, 2009

    Another 5 stars for Mrs. Hopkins!

    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!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2007

    Lame

    I love Ellen Hopkins and was really excited to see she had another book out but I must say...this one wasn't that great. It got kinda lame towards the end except for maybe the last 5 pages, but even that didn t make up for the rest of the book. I actually got kind of mad at the charcter development. Tony was a huge disapointment in my eyes because in the beginning I loved his character and it just seemed to get...oh I don't know...cheesy.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2013

    What!

    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

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 27, 2009

    great read!

    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.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 29, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    impulse

    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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 28, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    There are few books that i feel like reading again and again

    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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    I loved the story. Hated the ending!

    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!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2014

    Don't bother

    This book stunk. What a waste of money.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2012

    Impulse by ellen hopkinz.

    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 ..

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2012

    What.

    This booknis definitely not as good as her other books by far. Was not as crazy as everyone says it is..

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Amazing

    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

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 15, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    This is my absolute favorite book the characters and their stories are unforgettable and heartbreaking.

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2010

    The Perfect Paper Airplane

    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'.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Love It!

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Such a good book! Probably the best book I've 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

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 29, 2009

    Poetry at its Best.

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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