Parents' Guide to


By Kate Pavao, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Gritty book about suicide survivors told in free verse.

Impulse Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 17 parent reviews

age 15+

A good book - but maybe not for kids.

Ellen Hopkins is a great author, and this may be her best book. Unfortunately, the subject matter is not entirely appropriate for anyone under 15, and is iffy for anyone 15-18. Although it can be comforting for depressed teenagers to read a book that they can relate to, the details in this book can trigger dangerous behavior and make things worse. I would strongly recommend that a parent read this book before their child does.

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
age 14+

Powerful Novel Great For Teens

This book is beautifully written and touches important issues that need to be addressed with teens, especially in light of recent teen suicides across North America. The book does have questionable language, some sexual content, and drug use. Some teens may not be able to handle it, so read it before they do if you think it could be an issue. I strongly suggest this read.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
Too much sex
Too much swearing

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (17 ):
Kids say (80 ):

More than 600 free-verse pages about teen suicide gets to be a bit much at times, especially as the three interconnected protagonists reveal all the trauma they've endured in their short lives. And that includes everything from sexual abuse to abortion to cutting and more. But by stringing together short lines, Hopkins is able to make each of her characters real and distinct. Along the way, readers will find themselves really caring for Vanessa, Conner, and especially warm and funny Tony, as the troubled teens start to deal with their demons, and depend on one another.

In the end, IMPULSE is a gritty and realistic book for mature teens only. It can open the door to a lot of conversations, thanks to the myriad topics it covers. Parents who do a quick flip through the book first will feel more prepared for the discussion.

Book Details

  • Author: Ellen Hopkins
  • Genre: Coming of Age
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: January 23, 2007
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 14
  • Number of pages: 672
  • Last updated: July 12, 2017

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