A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What 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.
What's the story?
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.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Hopkins' free-verse writing style. How does it change the impact of her story? Were you able to read this book more quickly than other books?
The author's books are often controversial -- and challenged. Should any topic or book be off-limits for teen readers? Who should have a right to say what's appropriate for you?
For kids who love mature reading
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.