A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Can open the door to a lot of conversations, thanks to the myriad topics it covers, including suicide, abuse, and mental illness. Parents who do a quick flip through the book first will feel more prepared for the discussion.
Multiple stories explore the depths of despair physical, sexual, and emotional abuse can cause.
Positive Role Models
Characters who suffered from abuse and attempted suicide try to come to grips with their past and move forward. It may be hard to consider any of the protagonists role models, but they certainly are sympathetic, and readers will appreciate their brave struggles.
Violence & Scariness
Each character has tried to commit suicide, and each has suffered abuse (sexual, emotional, physical), and one character murdered his abuser. One protagonist dies violently.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some kissing, and talk about sex and abortion. One of the protagonists mentions having had sex with a teacher.
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Lots of swearing and graphic talk.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters are on medication and one character in particular talks about past drug use.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that each of the main characters has tried to commit suicide, and each has suffered abuse (sexual, emotional, and physical). There is lots of gritty language and plotting: One character murdered his abuser as a child, another had sex with a teacher, and the third watched her mentally ill mother die. Plus, there's cutting, abortion, bi-polar disorder, over-achieving, and a character who thinks he's gay. In the end, one of the protagonists dies a rather violent death. Since the free verse makes this a quicker read, it'll make it easier for parents to preview the content ahead of their mature teens.
Is It Any Good?
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.