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Impulse Paperback – May 20, 2008


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books; Later Printing edition (May 20, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416903577
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416903574
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 5 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (214 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,192 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 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 Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“Sharp, searing free verse . . . fast, jagged, hypnotic.”
Kirkus Reviews
(VOYA)

“A riveting, fast-paced story of teenage hurt and healing.”
—VOYA
(Booklist)

“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
--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

More About the Author

I was adopted at birth and raised by a great, loving older couple. I grew up in Palm Springs CA, although we summered in Napa and Lake Tahoe, to avoid those 120 degree summers. After my adopted parents died, I did find my birth mother, who lives in Michigan with my half sister.

I studied journalism in college, but left school to marry, raise kids and start my own business--a video store, before the mega-chains were out there. After a divorce, I met my current husband and we moved to Tahoe to become ski bums and otherwise try to find our dreams. At that time, I went to work for a small alternative press, writing stories and eventually editing.

When we moved down the mountain to the Reno area, I started writing nonfiction books, many of which you can see here. The rest are viewable on my personal website. I also continued to freelance articles for newspapers and magazines.

All that has changed, with the publication of my novel, CRANK, which has led to a valued career writing YA novels in verse, all of which explore the more difficult situations young adults often find themselves in. Will I ever write one in prose? No doubt! But, for the moment, writing novels in verse fulfills two needs: writing poetry and writing fiction. The combination is so interesting!

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#85 in Books > Teens
#85 in Books > Teens

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Customer Reviews

I was sad at the end of the book.
Jarrod Dibble
The characters are also like many teens today, they where very easy to relate to.
Kingham's Kids
I absolutely love Ellen Hopkins style of writing.
Tabitha Thompson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on January 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
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.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Kalie A. Gipson on May 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The new novel "Impulse" is a story written by author Ellen Hopkins (Burned, Crank). It is told in 3 different view points of three teens who were placed in a psychiatric ward called Aspen Springs. All 3 suffer their own individual hardships and adversity.

Vanessa cuts herself to relieve guilt and to match the pain she feels on the inside. Tony suffered sexual abuse from his mother's boyfriend and grew up without a father. Conner has exacting parents who think about nothing but perfection, and has a secret love affair. The three quickly bond, both boys being intrigued by Vanessa. Together they spill their secrets and learn to love, something none of them knew much about.

The story is written in a free-verse style, with all 3 points of view from Vanessa, Conner, and Tony. The free-verse style makes the pages short and to the point, but allows for wonderful imagery. Since it's not a complete page of someone telling a story, it could keep the non-reader reading. The 3 POV's allows the weaving of their lives. You see things through all three's eyes, which gives the reader much more insight than through just one's.

Another cool thing about the novel is how nothing is entirely revealed right at first, and even when it is it doesn't just come out and say it. The three teens' secrets come out gradually and well-spaced throughout the novel. It leaves you guessing, which is good for the reader who likes to make inferences.

The realism of the story is definitely pleasing. How their lives were affected by their childhood's and the adults who played a part in them was all too real. The story showed that teenagers' lives aren't so great, despite the facade they put up. For example, Conner seems like he has it all; rich parents, good grades, and athletic ability.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A. Rogers on January 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
She's read everything so far by this author and is very impressed by her writing and her books. She read it straight through, and she's not a big fan of reading! But she was fascinated by this story and its characters.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Hannah @ Paperback Treasures on September 5, 2011
Format: Paperback
I loved the other books I've read by Ellen Hopkins and I'd heard a few people say this is their favorite of her novels, so I had pretty high expectations. And while Impulse isn't a bad book, I was just sort of disappointed. Of course the writing is incredible, rich and beautiful. The metaphors are amazing and so many of the statements thought-provoking. Other than that, though, I didn't really enjoy anything about this book.

The beginning was confusing for me - it was hard to distinguish Tony's, Conner's and Vanessa's voices. I found myself flipping backwards to see who was narrating several times. It got a little easier after a while, but the voices and characters still seemed too similar. They all attempted suicide and they're all loners, but the rest of their personalities should have been different. The way it is, I never really connected with any of the characters.

Another thing that annoyed me was how little the reader knows about the characters' problems until the end. Of course I understand that Ellen Hopkins couldn't have told us within the first few pages why they attempted suicide because there would have been no suspense, but finding out about some things so late in the book made it impossible for the reader to see how the characters dealt with their problems and how they grew as people. I didn't see all that much of a development.That made it really hard for me to understand the characters or connect to them.

The romance was strange as well. The love triangle and how all of the characters change who they like so quickly but still talk about their deep connection and love just isn't believable.

***This next paragraph contains spoilers about the ending!
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