Michele Lee's Reviews > Impulse

Impulse by Ellen Hopkins
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Sep 09, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2010, ya, poetry, reviewed, readingbites, favorites, owned, ellen-hopkins-books
Read in September, 2010

Reviewed for Monster Librarian as part of Banned Books Week

Floored, that's how readers will feel only part of the way into this breathtaking tale of three teens in a mental care center after each has attempted suicide. While the book is large, 666 pages, it's written in poetry form so it reads fast. The terrible story of how these three kids, who should be enjoying the last years of high school, ended up where they are is boiled down to terse, powerful visuals that will leave readers feeling scarred.
That said I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It puts adults into the head space of serious teen suffering and offers teen a real, honest look at how addiction, parasitic relationships and mental disorders (like depression and bipolar) work and manages to wash it all with a message of sympathy and solidarity. There are an increasing number of books out there designed to help parents and teens understand and cope with the real big problems that seem to be popping up more in life. But none that I've read have been as real as Impulse. It skips clinical altogether and puts the reader directly into the character's heads, slowly revealing their lives, even as they themselves face up to the significance of things. Few books are must reads in the large scope of fiction, but for teens and even parents suffering from or seeking to support someone who struggles with these issues Impulse is must-read. Nothing else crosses the barrier between “normal” and not with such strength and odd beauty. Impulse simply should be available in all public collections.

Contains: references to sex, addiction, self mutilation, suicide, language
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