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. Like, feel free to love this book books are always subjective. All these characters could've been redeemable, but they're really not fleshed out? I could've excused her bad behavior if she were redeemed, but she's not developed or fleshed-out, and she never really improves. 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. (view spoiler)Connor dies essentially so Tony and Vanessa can get together without feeling bad.
Why Impulse is the WORST Book Ive Ever Read Warning: This review will contain unmarked spoilers! Also, if you loved this book and are going to be angry if someone didnt like it, you may want to keep scrolling. The first time was about a year ago, and it has stuck with me as one of the worst books Ive ever read. 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 mothers 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. 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. 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. Ellen Hopkins has no idea how human beings talk to each other, let alone teenagers. Wonder if he's ever let a guy touch that pumped-up bod." Just makes the character sound like a perv. And she actually thinks a teenage boy would say this? 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. But that aspect is just part of the Ellen Hopkins trademark overdramatic-shock-value-books. Conner: He could have been a sympathetic character, but he actually ended up sounding kind of creepy. "Tony says he's gay and I'm guessing he really believes it, but he doesn't seem that way to me." Like you have any fucking idea or right to judge someone's sexuality, Conner. I hope to change that when I get out of here." This is Tony actually implying that being gay is a cause of pain. It feels like where I've always belonged." Romanticization 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. Implying that people who deal with mental illness are broken by calling them fractured and literally saying they were healed by love?! Only love can make me quit." If 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. 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 theyre caught up in the writing.
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. Okay, now half one is like the very first Saw film: original, shocking, disturbing, horrifying but good as well because it's so different. 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. Ellen Hopkins doesn't know when to stop, it's like "right, he's been abused, drugged up, prostituted, discriminated against... And if you think your life's worse than this, I recommend writing to Hopkins as you'll probably feature in her next book.
I started this book very excited. Firstly, the cover looked interesting, then I saw that the story was written in verse form and my excitement level went higher. I would start a chapter from a new person's perspective but I would have turn back to check whose perspective it was because I could have sworn that somebody else in the book had just said the exact same thing. All in all, the only impression I could get was that these were just regular kids with problems but the main characters were too concerned with forming weird love triangles and figuring each other out that they only took the time to gossip about everyone else. And the only time she actually socialized was when she was insulting Dahlia. And for all the internal whining they did, and all the times when the story was cut off before some "big revelation" Conner didn't seem like anything more than any regular rich kid with not-overly-affectionate parents. How can Tony, Vanessa, and Conner be sitting together in a bus full of people, and Tony starts kissing Vanessa and expects NO ONE to see. And for all their friendship, Tony and Vanessa are not considerate enough to keep their PDAs out of Conner's sight especially since he liked Vanessa too.
Three characters lives intersect at a mental health facility, and at first the story is mostly about each one and how they landed there. When other less skillful authors try to write about these difficult subjects they can often rely on stereotypes and cliches making the whole thing just feel wrong. Ellen has skills, however, and you are most likely always going to have some sort of emotional reaction to her writing. I do feel like this book was a little too short, but I can't wait to read the sequel, Perfect.
It was especially hard for me to read this because Ive been in this sort of situation, think of me as Vanessa If you have read the book if not, well, you need to read it, you really do. Impulse shows the life of mainly three teens, though there are more people interned in Aspen Springs and you get to catch a glimpse of them. Impulse really shows this: Some people will make it.
One has overbearing parents that push their children to be the best, they have no warmth for the children. One has a father in the military and left at home with a grandmother, a little brother and a mother who is bipolar and accidentally kills herself. One has a father that left and a mother that lets her boyfriend molest them. Everything is good...until they die :( This author writes the most heartfelt, real stories and I just love them.
- just to be clear, hes talking about his gay lifestyle. * whyyyyyyyy is this happening - gay people arent gay because something bad happened to them, stoooooop this * ALSO - suicide is basically treated like a plot device and in the end, one of the characters commits suicide so that the other two can basically be together without anyone interfering, at least thats what I gathered out of it * WHHYYYYYYYY * there are so many sensitive issues crammed in, that at one point it doesnt seem believable anymore: suicide (by several methods), self harm, drug abuse, sexual assault, sexual abuse, abortion, child neglect, AIDS, murder and others Im not mentioning because I am Tired.
I suppose it might be in part due to the first-person nature of the narrative, but I was also disappointed by the way that Conner, Vanessa, and Tony seemed to be the only human characters in the novel. I also didn't quite feel that Hopkins did a good enough job evoking the different voices of the main characters through the poetry, which was supposed to have been written by them: it all seemed as though it was written by the same person.
The story is told in three different point of views - Tony, Vanessa, and Connors'. He was the typical jock character, and his connection with Vanessa/Tony seemed like nothing more than pure lust. The one thing I really liked about her was her connection with Tony at the end of the book.