Friday, April 24, 2009

Review: Impulse by Ellen Hopkins

Book Info:
Impulse by Ellen Hopkins
Paperback: 688 pages
Publisher: McElderry (May 20, 2008)
ISBN-13: 9781416903574
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 4.5/5

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.

Not too long after Impulse was released I noticed it on a bookstore shelf. It looked interesting and was formatted differently than anything I'd ever read before. So I bought it, and then it sat on my shelf at home for almost a year. If I'd known then how powerful this book was I would have started reading it right away.

Vanessa, Tony and Conner are all normal kids. They have problems with parents, school and friends just like anyone else. And that is part of what makes this book stick with you. These kids could be anyone. Maybe you know someone who cuts themselves, or takes pills to make things feel better.

Impulse is very honest. The book alternates point of view, so each of the characters has a chance to tell their story. You really get a glimpse into their heads, to see why things seemed bad enough to try to commit suicide.

When I posted my Tuesday Teaser on this book I had more than one comment saying the verse style was intimidating. If this is what is holding you back from reading this book, please don't let it stop you any longer. The verse style is really easy to read once you get into the rhythm of it, and almost 700 pages flew by before I knew it. I wish I hadn't mailed this book out to someone else already, or else I would post a quote from it for another example of the style.

While this was the first Ellen Hopkins book I read, it won't be the last. I already have Crank and will be working on accumulating the others. 4.5 stars


Zibilee said...

I had not yet heard of this book, but it sounds like a really compelling read. How exactly is the format different from other books? I am curious, and thinking about reading it, so if you could give me a bit of information on the style, it would be great.

Cindy said...

I've been wanting to read this for a while. I've read Crank and plan on reading Pulse also. I enjoy them and I love the verse style.

Melissa said...

Zibilee: They style is kind of hard to explain...It's poetry, but not the kind of poetry that I remember from school. It reads like most books, it just set up in verse form. Each "chapter" is a poem, usually containing 4 - 6 verses. It's a thick book, but there is a lot of white space. Give it a try. It was wonderful!

miss cindy: I'm hoping to read all of Hopkins books. After this one, I'm hooked!

Jen said...

Interesting concept, Id really love to read these ^_^
Great review!

Sandy Nawrot said...

Isn't that usually the way? The greatest treasure sits unappreciated for so long? That has to happen once in awhile just to keep us humble and on our toes! 700 pages with that verse It sounds a bit scary.