Monday, September 5, 2011

Impulse by Ellen Hopkins

PhotobucketImpulse by Ellen Hopkins, read by Laura Flanagan, Jeremy Guskin, and Steve Coombs

Publisher: HighBridge Company
Release Date: February 17, 2009
Format: Audiobook (6 hrs 52 min)
Source: Library
Age Level: Young Adult
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Buy: Amazon | IndieBound

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. (Indiebound)

Brutally honest. Depressing. Hopeful.

Vanessa, Tony, and Conner all attempted suicide and failed, and their paths cross at Aspen Springs where they become friends. I won't lie, this is a tough book. Tough to think that there are kids that actually have these lives. Ellen Hopkins is now another author I applaud for tackling real, difficult issues that teenagers face.

Impulse has great pacing, and is written in beautiful verse. Though I liked listening to the audio version, I'd be interested to read her physical books to experience the verse style of writing. Hopkins did a great job with characterization, I felt like I knew Vanessa, Tony, and Conner. I truly cared about these characters.

The narrators were great, I really appreciated that there were three different narrators. I love when audiobooks have more than one narrator when the book is written from multiple perspectives. Though it did take me a while to distinguish between the voices of Connor and Tony. I would recommend both the audio and physical versions of this book. The audio was great, but the verse style may be overlooked, as it wasn’t obvious (to me).

I want to warn that there are many mature topics in Impulse. Attempted suicide, sexual abuse, cutting, sex, drug use, and mental illness being the main ones. I wouldn’t recommend this to younger readers, but at the same time, I don’t think these issues should be hidden from them either. I sincerely believe that these topics should be openly discussed between kids and their parents… but that is my opinion.
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