Three Teens Who Have Attempted Suicide Meet In A Psychiatric Hospital, Battle Their Demons, And Begin To HealThe Handsome Son Of Wealthy Parents, Connor Has Everything Anyone Could Want Except His Family S Love And Affection Jailed For Years After Killing His Mother S Child Molesting Boyfriend, Tony Is Confused About His Sexuality Manic Depressive Vanessa Cuts Herself All Three Stories Intertwine In A Brutally Honest Story About Pain And Resilience Okay so, this was the first book I ve read from Ellen Hopkins Before I read it I had been avoiding her writing for a long time because the books looked lengthy and the style of poetry didn t seem to be right up my alley but I was proved wrong Impulse is about three 17 year old teens who have each tried to commit suicide and failed They wind up in a treatment camp called Aspen Springs, and eventually find each other Together, they face their old demons and find new friendship The story is told in three different point of views Tony, Vanessa, and Connors I ll give my opinion on each of them.Connor His storyline point of view was my least favorite He was the typical jock character, and his connection with Vanessa Tony seemed like nothing than pure lust IMO, he deserved his fate at the end of the novel.Vanessa She was the average, streamline character for me I didn t particularly enjoy it when she was narrating the story, but I didn t hate it either The one thing I really liked about her was her connection with Tony at the end of the book.Tony I found his personality and point of view the best out of threesome I was amazed by his development throughout the story, and found myself relating to him at some parts of the book well, I related to all three in a sense.So overall it was a solid book, the only complaint I have is that nothing really major happened, and most of the time it was narrating in the past or how the character s felt about something that happened to them previously but it was still a great read. I started Impulse with really high hopes for this after enjoying Hopkins Tricks series Unfortunately, Impulse is a pretty terrible book, with severe issues of mental health being tackled sort of horribly and a shitty love triangle no one cares about And besides that, it contains the most homophobic storyline I have ever had the displeasure of reading I am not joking or exaggerating when I say this storyline genuinely reads like someone s conversion therapy manifesto Let s talk Before you call me an SJW keyboard warrior so you can feel morally vindicated in your opinion Please at least read the damn review I m not complaining about this just for the sake of complaining or whatever you d like to believe This isn t some kind of minor negative tropes thing If I had less self confidence, I genuinely cannot imagine how I would ve taken this and where this book could ve taken me Like, feel free to love this book books are always subjective But please do let me despise this book in peace IT S REALLY JUST NOT A QUALITY BOOK Okay, this is the section where I m a bitter salty person and I feel the need to explain why this book is just kind of generally bad ignoring all the stuff that is Problematique Because that s who I am Basically, it s super fucking obvious that this book wasn t outlined well or like, at all Each one of the characters goes through so many terrible events that Hopkins cannot possibly resolve them all She took on too many issues with only three characters, and it quickly approached a point where she didn t even bother exploring these important issues in an inoffensive way.In terms of character, I had some major issues as well All these characters could ve been redeemable, but they re really not fleshed out I m not sure anyone ever told Ms Hopkins that trauma is not a character trait Vanessa has bipolar and kind of a judgemental asshole That s it I could ve excused her bad behavior if she were redeemed, but she s not developed or fleshed out, and she never really improves Connor is a complete fuckboy and again, I could ve excused it, but he s not fleshed out He s just boring and annoying Tony s a decent character Again, he s not fleshed out quite enough, but he s a good guy We ll talk about his arc later MENTAL HEALTH IS SUPER, SUPER ROMANTIC I don t think Hopkins did her research on mental health facilities Every adult in this facility was either a villain or incompetent Again, this is a toxic message to teens who want to help their own issues Mental health facilities can be toxic places, yes, but they can also be great rehabilitation centers Sticking with a negative view of rehabilitation places in every book strikes me as a bad message This can be realistic on some occasions, it just didn t seem like the greatest plot decision Suicide should not be used as a plot device view spoiler Connor dies essentially so Tony and Vanessa can get together without feeling bad His death is an easy way to get tears from the audience, but the constant use of suicide simply to get tears seems incredibly insensitive to mentally ill people hide spoiler Why Impulse is the WORST Book I ve Ever Read Warning This review will contain unmarked spoilers Also, if you loved this book and are going to be angry if someone didn t like it, you may want to keep scrolling.Oh boy Where to start This is my second time reading this book The first time was about a year ago, and it has stuck with me as one of the worst books I ve ever read I decided I wanted to do a reread as of an in depth analysis, looking for the problematic aspects I picked up on the first time around The Plot The story follows three teens who have found themselves in Aspen Springs Psychiatric Hospital, each having recently attempted suicide Conner is a golden boy with a bright future, Tony has spent much of his life in juvie and on the streets, and Vanessa lives in the shadow of her mother s mental illnesses.I have this picture in my head of Ellen Hopkins sitting at her computer, trying to come up with her next novel idea All of a sudden, it hits her Why not make a list of all the horrible things that could happen and try to incorporate it into one book Issues that are involved in this book Suicide by gunParents pressuring children to be perfectParents with mental illnessParents who neglect their childrenParents who abuse their childrenMolestation of young childrenRich kid problemsJuvenile detentionDrugs literally all of them weed, heroin, meth, crystalSuicide by drugsCuttingSexualitySuicide by cuttingMental health facilitiesBipolar DisorderSchizophreniaTeacher student relationshipsHomophobiaAIDSVeteran parentsUse of medicationParental suicideAbortionMurderAnd those are only the major ones This list is long, if you didn t notice Far too long of a list of complex issues for an author to deal with and execute well in one novel.Each of these subjects deserve care and consideration when being written about, but most of them are either barely touched on or dealt with poorly It came off as if the author wanted to cram as many issues as she could into the book simply for shock value.From the interviews with Hopkins that I have read, this book is not own voices, and it shows Hopkins talks in all of her interviews about how she needs to write for teens because their lives are so complex and whatever, yet she obviously does not understand teens in the slightest More on that later The Writing The thing is, this book actually doesn t start off that bad, but I think that s what makes me hate this book so much I actually went in thinking I was going to like it, whereas books that are shit from page one I don t expect anything out of.Most of the writing is good, quite good even There are some passages about death and depression that do feel real The verse is fine, though I think the verse just serves to reinforce the emotional manipulation with those oh so dramatic indentations.But the writing falters with Hopkins s weird ass descriptions Ellen Hopkins has no idea how human beings talk to each other, let alone teenagers The dialogue is frickin weird Such asVoices Strange faces A witches stewpot of spellsYup, a teenage boy would totally say a witches stewpotNothing about her hints nymph or flirt She s a bulldog Shit happensand my shit literally hit the fanEllen Hopkins does not understand the meaning of the word literallyPart of it is my old self, wanting nectar from a flower, the beat of a new heartPuh leez Like anyone thinks like thisan ice princess mom who raised me with glass kissesOh, come on You expect me to believe this guy, who was talking about orgasms a page ago, thought up this metaphorShe doesn t even blink Even a female dog wants her puppies clean and wrinkle free unless, of course, she s a Shar PeiThis is the quote meant to illustrate how Conner s mother is an evil bitch, but honestly if someone said this to me I would fall over laughing out of sheer confusion.Perhaps this sort of writing is an attempt to make the story dramatic You tell me I just think it sounds weird OversexualizationA woman like that will work like clay soften her up, touch her just right, the sculptor is guaranteed to have his wayThe oversexualization of teenagers in this book is ridiculous Yes, some teens are crazy horny but these guys are unrealistically grossI ve got her right where I want her on her knees, my hands caught in her silky blond hair as she whispers, I want you, Conner Let me chase away your thought of your Emily Come to me when you get out of this place I ll show you how a real woman makes love to men such as you, and I don t give a damn how high the stakes areThis may shock you, but not all teens are obsessed with sex The oversexualization here is just a lazy attempt to make her characters sound like teens It s uncomfortable and actually kind of insultingacting too tough to tumble He s a nutshell asking to crack Wonder if he s ever let a guy touch that pumped up bodJust makes the character sound like a pervDid she have a clue that all those dollars spent on haute couture allowed her sweet young son to feed his appetite for carnal pleasure to divvy himself among a stable of filliesI actually feel gross reading that sentence I m supposed to sympathize with this character And she actually thinks a teenage boy would say this Or even an actual person of any age Misrepresentation of Mental Health Facilities This book shows a mental health facility as completely incompetent They don t help the characters at all.Books about mental health should make an effort to show or even imply good relationships between the teens and therapists and those trying to help them, because many teens reading books like these are struggling with similar issues.All adults but one in the novel are absolutely horrific It does not encourage those going through similar things to seek help from adults and professionals, which is such a missed opportunity.Let s not even talk about the fucking level four wilderness camp Please explain to me what mental health facility would think it s a good idea for their final test to be taking the formerly suicidal teenagers hiking ON A FUCKING CLIFF What did they think was going to happen But that aspect is just part of the Ellen Hopkins trademark overdramatic shock value books All it does is piss me off The Characters Though this is a long book 666 pages, lol the characters still feel underdeveloped Things could have been delved into with depth Perhaps this was due to the verse Conner He could have been a sympathetic character, but he actually ended up sounding kind of creepy He comes off as manipulative, jealous, judgemental, homophobic, and rude His thoughts are gross and often revolve around sex He mocks the other patients dealing with mental illness Yet we are meant to sympathize with him Tony He s a nice guy I liked Tony, really He was the most interesting of the three More on him in a bit.Vanessa Vanessa is a complete special snowflake She thinks she s ugly but all the guys fawn over her and constantly tell her how beautiful and amazing she is She s actually incredibly boring compared to the other main characters.Suddenly, in the last 40 pages or so, Vanessa reveals she had an abortion previously Vanessa s abortion plot is so pointless It s brought up once near the very end and never talked about again Why was it even included We got no hints of it in her perspective and nothing about how it impacted her Missed opportunity Tony s Sexuality Tony starts off the story confident in his sexuality, until he suddenly realizes he was only gay because he was sexually abused and turns straight.This is so problematic I hardly know where to start.Tony talks about how he thinks perversion is a result of being a target of perversion and then says he doesn t think he is gay, implying that his being gay was a result of being sexually abused.Yes, I know Ellen Hopkins isn t homophobic, I ve read other stuff by her However, this book reinforces the idea that gay people are gay because there is something wrong with them, and that being gay is a form of perversion.The story also implies that Tony needed to realize he was straight in order to recover.It also reinforces that people who have been sexually abused are somehow broken or damaged or worse likely to be pervertedTony says he s gay and I m guessing he really believes it, but he doesn t seem that way to meLike you have any fucking idea or right to judge someone s sexuality, ConnerIt being gay doesn t mean that to me, Vanessa My lifestyle has caused me a lot of pain I hope to change that when I get out of hereThis is Tony actually implying that being gay is a cause of pain I can t get over how his storyline of redemption is a storyline basically where he is cured of being gayIt s so new, this woman thing, yet it doesn t feel foreign It feels like where I ve always belongedRomanticization of Mental Illness Not only is this book just a thinly veiled love triangle, but it is also one of the worst cases of romanticizing mental illness that I have ever read HereVanessa and Tony two fractured people, healed perhaps by unforeseen, not to mention unlikely, loveOh Jesus fucking Christ Implying that people who deal with mental illness are broken by calling them fractured and literally saying they were healed by love The only characters that recover do so through falling in love, which reinforces that love is a cure for mental illness and the only way to recover is to fall in love romantically Man, am I tired of reading that shitI ll never stop cutting, lithium or no lithium Only love can make me quitIf that doesn t prove this book romanticizes mental illness I don t know what will The main character blatantly says that love is the only thing that can cure her Overall Don t get me wrong, I ve thought a lot about why this book is so highly rated I think people get caught up in the overdramatized style, the emotional manipulation, and the pure shock value and it gets mistaken for good writing In the end, a lot of people miss these issues because they re caught up in the writing.This is definitely one of my least favorite books I m glad I reread it, because finding these quotes and providing a well researched review makes me feel a lot better I can only hope some others will see this review and recognize how many problematic tropes can be found in this book.Also, I think this is the longest review I ve ever written Considering my feelings on this book, I m not surprised. 3.5 stars The fact is, this is my third read by Ellen Hopkins and all of the books I ve read so far have affected me quite deeply I ve discovered in this past year that I really like novels in verse, I couldn t imagine it being my thing before I first picked up Burned but all the ones I ve read have been all the emotional, moving and effective because of it Before I start on about what I don t like, I ll just say now this book is worth your time if you are okay with the depressing, disturbing and occasionally gross.But, there s this one thing that is the same in all of Ellen Hopkins books, and to understand it best try and imagine the novel is two halves Not a first half and a second half but various different parts of the novel that either fall into half one or half two Okay, now half one is like the very first Saw film original, shocking, disturbing, horrifying but good as well because it s so different Half two is like the rest of the Saw films put together.Ellen Hopkins is Jigsaw and she wants to play a gameHalf two is made up of the parts that made me think surely Ms Hopkins is going to give these poor little buggers a break now I mean, honestly, how many ways can you find to torture a person In the same way that I quickly became tired of the Saw series and it s tendency to just keep inventing new and exciting ways to horrendously kill people, there were parts where I thought Ellen Hopkins went too far This book was 666 pages long ominous but really didn t need to be, the story was good, the characters were interesting everything else that happened was like seeing how bad their lives could possibly get.In the words of Bruce Nolan Ellen Hopkins is a mean kid sitting on an ant hill with a magnifying glass Let s take Tony Tony was repeatedly raped by his mother s boyfriend, he runs away and ends up popping pills and trying his hand at prostitution in order to get by, he then attempts suicide and gets carted off to Aspen Springs Psychiatric Hospital There the doctors try and re connect him with his long lost father but Tony s unsure of his sexuality and his dad s some uber religious and homophobic nutter What next for this poor kid Like I wouldn t have felt sorry for him had he just been raped Ellen Hopkins doesn t know when to stop, it s like right, he s been abused, drugged up, prostituted, discriminated against I know, give him diarrhea as well This book would be great to read if you think your life s shit No matter how bad it gets for you, these kiddies have it so much worse And if you think your life s worse than this, I recommend writing to Hopkins as you ll probably feature in her next book.It s not like it isn t good Half number one is fantastic well written, interesting, moving, gritty And I can handle disturbing, it can usually get me hooked I just feel that Hopkins uses the shock factor too much and it becomes less believable because of it.
Ellen Hopkins is the New York Times bestselling author of Crank, Burned, Impulse, Glass, Identical, Tricks, Fallout, Perfect, Triangles, Tilt, and Collateral She lives in Carson City, Nevada, with her husband and son Hopkin s Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest pages get thousands of hits from teens who claim Hopkins is the only one who understands me , and she can be visited at ellenhopkin
- 666 pages
- Ellen Hopkins
- 06 March 2018 Ellen Hopkins