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Kid Konnection: Impulse

May 5, 2012

Three very different teens find themselves in a residential mental health facility for three very different reasons and, find that as different as they are, they have a lot in common. They form an unlikely friendship and try to look out for each other.

. . . These
kids are the best of the worst –
bright, capable underachievers.
It’s truly bizarre

that they end up here.  For
some it’s addiction, for
others, abuse. A few simply
succumb to depression.

  • Tony’s parents are divorced – he never sees his father and his mother has problems of her own and fails to protect him from horrific abuse.  He solves things his own way which creates other problems for him.
  • Vanessa’s father is always gone leaving her and her sibling in the care of their mentally ill mother.  It looks like Vanessa may have inherited her mother’s problems.
  • On the surface, it seems Connor has it all, but nothing he does pleases his parents.  He can’t keep up with his twin sister.

Impulse, by Ellen Hopkins, is written in verse and is a companion book to Perfect.  It’s told from the points of view of the three main characters so readers get inside each of their heads and it’s not always pleasant.  These kids have been through some horrific things and some of the tools they use to cope aren’t pretty.  The book is rather dark and gritty, but true to life for so many young people so it left me feeling somewhat sad.  I think it’s an important book, though – for those who can relate to the characters as well as those who can’t – because the issues explored are all too real for teens today.

I am in awe of Ellen Hopkins and her writing ability and think she is truly gifted.  This book is over 650 pages long and it’s all in verse.   It’s done so well that I knew the characters and struggled with their pain right along with them.  They felt so real to me and I hoped they’d find their way to healing.   I didn’t love Impulse as much as I loved Perfect, but I still thought it was fantastic and recommend both books.  There are some serious issues in these pages – depression, mental illness, sexuality, and abuse, to name a few, so they’re not for younger YA readers.

For more children’s books reviews, go to Booking Mama’s feature, Kid Konnection. If you’d like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children’s books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, leave a comment as well as a link on her site.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. May 5, 2012 4:27 am

    Oh, I’m in the mood for a long book. This seems like just the one. I would like to know more about these three teens and how they cope. Wonderful review you’ve written.

  2. May 5, 2012 7:21 am

    This was the first book by Hopkins that I didn’t connect with the characters on any level, so ultimately I thought it was just okay.

  3. May 5, 2012 7:54 am

    This looks really good, but someone has to force me somehow to pick up a book in verse. It’s like graphic novels – I resist at first new formats! :–)

  4. bookingmama permalink
    May 5, 2012 8:27 am

    Still curious to read this one even though it didn’t “wow” you like PERFECT.

  5. May 5, 2012 2:05 pm

    I’ve heard great things about PERFECT and didn’t know there was a sequel.

  6. lab1990 permalink
    May 5, 2012 3:13 pm

    Sounds wonderful. I love books that deal with tough issues, even if they are sad. I really want to read more books in verse and more by Hopkins as well. I’ve only read her adult book so far…so I’m excited to check out the YA.

    Lauren from

  7. May 5, 2012 6:00 pm

    I haven’t heard of this author before. I struggle quite a bit with verse form, and don’t often have the ability to get through a 650 page book, so I suspect this wouldn’t be for me. Still it’s interesting to learn about a new book.

  8. May 6, 2012 7:07 pm

    I have yet to read a novel in verse but I’m working up my courage. This sounds like a heart-wrenching book.

  9. May 8, 2012 9:36 am

    I loved Perfect, and think that reading a little more about Connor would be excellent. It sounds like this is another winner from Hopkins, and I look forward to reading it at some point. I need to see when this one can be had! Great review!

  10. May 9, 2012 9:13 pm

    I really like her writing and I know from being around young teens that some of this stuff rings true with them!

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