Thursday, December 20, 2012

Book #72: Impulse

Book #72: Impulse by Ellen Hopkins
5/5 stars

Does anyone else remember when Ellen Hopkins' Crank series was all the rage in high school? I certainly do! I decided to try another one of her novels to see if they were as good as I remember, and it turns out that Impulse was better than Crank (for me at least)! Hopkins is known for her chunky (and I mean HUGE) Young Adult novels, but don't be scared off by the often 500+ page novels. She writes in verse, which are basically poems without all of the flowery language, and so the novel reads much quicker than you'd expect.

Impulse, as all of Hopkins' novels do, explores some very dark themes. This one in particular follows three teens who are committed to a treatment center for those who have attempted suicide, among other issues. Vanessa, Tony, and Connor all enter the facility around the same time for suicide attempts. None of them are particularly keen on sharing their stories, as you can imagine, but as time goes on and the three meet one another, parts of their past start to come out. Connor was the "perfect boy", with a rich family and top grades and he was fantastic at sports. But, as you can imagine, the pressure to be perfect pushed Connor over the edge. Vanessa's family has always been far from perfect. Her father is often overseas, serving in the military, and her mother suffers from severe mental issues. Tony has even less of a parental influence on his life, as his father abandoned him at a young age, and his mother is constantly dating someone new. As if that's not bad enough, one of the boyfriends once sexually abused Tony. Obviously, these three individuals have a lot of baggage, so they turn to one another for support and comfort over the course of the novel, as they embark on their journey of healing and hopefully getting back to their lives.

This novel is obviously dark, and sometimes really hard to take, but I still enjoyed it immensely. It's awesome that authors are allowed to address these issues that are prevalent in teens' lives, and Hopkins does it in an interesting, yet accessible way through the medium of a verse novel. Anyone who has ever read her novels knows what to expect, but if you haven't, try to go out of your comfort zone and check out Impulse! It's certainly not the type of novel to bring holiday cheer, but it's beautifully crafted and tells a story that you won't soon forget.

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