Impulse by Ellen Hopkins
Summary: 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.
This book was a very recent pick up for me. I believe I only got it on the 9th of this month and the wait in itself felt like a long time to read this book. I was very excited to start it. I don’t know what it is that drew me to Ellen Hopkins’ books, maybe the fascinating synopses filled with real world problems, or the different writing style or simply the hype around a lot of her works, many love them. But I’ve finally read one, here are my thoughts on Impulse.
The writing hits you straight away. Whole pages filled with poetic verse. It took my eyes a while to adjust to skipping lines after five or six words but once you get the feeling of it, the language really draws you in. Her writing was sad, almost solemn with emotion. The characters struggle with their own personal issues that led them to a suicide attempt and Hopkins really allows readers to feel for their situations. I felt like I was being put in their situations and it made me wonder what I would do in the same position. Hopkins manages to draw you in to her writing and the story without you even realising it. You get a POV of each character, usually lasting about 6 pages each and I found that enough to get to know the characters.
That’s another thing, Hopkins creates such complex characters. You learn about them over the course of the whole novel, picking up bits of information here and there but their storytelling is entrancing. Suicide is a tough issue to cover, especially teen suicide, but Hopkins manages to tell the story without ripping sympathy from the reader, she does it by creating real characters, people you can understand and I think that’s why this novel is so powerful.
I was worried about the plot development throughout the book as the novel starts with all the characters at Aspen Springs. I wondered if the plot would get too slow (as the book is over 600 pages). But by the end, I knew that I wouldn’t have cut out a single page. There simply isn’t a boring moment in this book. There is always a new conflict to keep readers hooked.
It’s heartbreaking to hear about the character’s past lives but hope blooms in readers when you see the three become friends and try to help each other. A very emotional book about the power of companionship in a potentially suicidal person.
Despite my happiness with this book there was a few issues I had with it. **Very small spoilers, I won’t mention names**
Firstly, where did that relationship come from?! One minute they’re just saying ‘Hi’ in the hallways and the next they’re saying how much they love each other, I was so confused. The romantic relationship was way too rushed in my opinion.
Also, the timing of the chapters was very strange and I wished for longer scenes sometimes. Sometimes Hopkins would end a chapter on a cliff-hanger and then the next chapter would start a few weeks later and I got a bit disappointed we wouldn’t see how the confrontation ended.
And sometimes the characters would speak a little more maturely than they actually were. I didn’t mind this too much but sometimes they would say something so profound and I’d just think, “You’re a fifteen year old who has lived on the streets for your entire life. Where did you learn to speak like that?” A very minute detail.
At some points, I wanted more of the character’s background. The author would speak in riddles and it would annoy me because I wanted to know the character’s stories. And then we’d find out the real story with only 50 pages to go and I felt like I had to go back and put the pieces together. Furthermore, the ending was very predictable. I guessed what would happen with a quarter still to go.
Overall I liked this book very much. It spoke emotionally to me and the characters were very interesting. Despite some small issues my rating is: 3.75 Stars rounded to 4/5 stars
Definitely have a go at this book!
Thank you so much for reading and I’ll see you in my next post!
Twitter – @liamslibrary83