The Compulsive Reader: Impulse by Ellen Hopkins

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Impulse by Ellen Hopkins

Vanessa, Tony, and Connor seem to only have one thing in common: they've each tried to commit suicide, and their failure to die has landed them in rehab. They strike an unlikely friendship, and somehow, begin to open up slowly to one another. For Vanessa, it's the pain of her mentally ill mother, absent soldier father, and the guilt of an unforgivable act that drove her to pick up her razor blade. Tony tries to escape the memories of abuse, neglect, and the loss of the one person who ever truly accepted him in handfuls of drugs. Connor's attempt at suicide was preceded by a lifetime of cold, distant, yet demanding parents and a forbidden relationship that ended badly. Amid all of these problems and unresolved issues, will their friendship and newfound understanding in each other be enough to save these three teens from death?

Impulse is yet another stellar, tragically beautiful book by Ellen Hopkins. Hopkins plays with the reader's emotions from the very beginning, shaping three authentic and painfully sympathetic characters in their sorrows and small triumphs. Their stories and voices are raw and realistic, and Hopkins' poetry is so precise and so affecting. Despite their differences, the characters go through so many of the same emotions and feelings, and their progress is fascinating to observe. The push and pull between saying too much aloud and not revealing too many feelings, healing and wanting to remain broken, is strong and tangible. The portrayal of what life is like in this home for these teens is so well done—it’s too scary, gritty, and raw to not be real. Despite all of the suffering, the despicable characters, and painful experiences, Hopkins does make you believe that a somewhat happy ending is possible...until a terrible, tragic, yet oddly appropriate ending. Impulse is devastating, yet oddly hopeful, and should be required reading for all teens.

Cover Comments: As always, I like the style of Ellen Hopkins' covers. The red is so symbolic, but I like how the cover is given texture with the purple splotches mixed in as well. Very excellent!

Review copy purchased.

Also, if you are interested in reading more about some of the same characters, check out the companion novel Perfect, out in September.


Ellen Hopkins said...

Thank you so much! This book speaks to many, and I'm glad it spoke to you.

The Fable Fairy said...

Despite having only heard amazing things about Ellen Hopkins books I have never purchased one. I am happy to report that your review is the one that broke the camels back. I will have to pick this one up and perhaps more of her titles in the near future.

The Compulsive Reader said...

Fable Fairy: Yay! I hope you enjoy them! Crank is always a good one to start with, but my favorite is Burned!

Ear plugs disposable said...

I like Hopkins's writing and his poetry as they all are very precise and so affecting.And Impulse is also very nice.