by Ellen Hopkins
Difficulty: Between Advanced and Normal
From the author of the acclaimed Crank comes a gut-wrenching story of teens in crisis. Three lives, three different paths to the same destination: Aspen Springs, a psychiatric hospital for those who have attempted the ultimate act of desperation — suicide. Told from three different points of view Impulse is the story of Conner, Tony and Vanessa three teens driven to the edge by their dark pasts.
Impulse is one of those stories that grips you by the heart and holds on tight. Through out the whole book you are immensely aware of the characters and with everything they've done you feel terrible about the situation they're in. I think this book has a very powerful message, as do all Hopkins' book, which is trying to get through life under impossible and terrible circumstances. Conner seems to have had a perfect life- rich, handsome, and wanted by all the girls in his school, the only problem is that the one girl he does want doesn't want him back. Everything about his life is a facade, his wonderful family is actually cold and heartless and his school career is being pressured by his GPA hungry parents. His mom doesn't give afecction, his daddy doesn't care and his twin sister is just as mean as his mother. Everything his life portrays to be is actually fake- which leads him to Aspen Springs, a place for bi-polars, suicidal teens, and others conflicted of inner demons. There he meets Tony, a gay teen who spent years in a juvenile detention center at age nine all for commiting the unthinkable- murder against her mothers boyfriend who sexually abused him. After getting out of juvie he finds himself living on the streets in an effort to get away from his trashy mom and trying to forget his long forgotten dad. Only after his dad finds about his attempted suicide does he make an effort to forgive his dad about leaving him all those years ago. Both of the boys are infatuted by a seventeen year old "cutter" named Vanessa. Doomed by her mother's mental disorder, Vanessa fights the demons inside of her and her fears that she will one day too become a schizo. Already manic depressive and bi-polar Tony and Conner help her gain friendship and understanding about the world they live in and they all bond through their mysterious and gut-wrenching pasts. Ellen Hopkins is fabolous in this book and the end of this book will leave you stunned!