A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Set in a near-future no-man's-land, Pulse doesn't offer much in the way of a scientific rationale for the characters' psychic powers. Which shouldn't interfere with any reader's enjoyment of the story.
Pulse is a fairly straight-ahead adventure story, free of much moralizing. It emphasizes the value of friendship and standing up to bullies. It also suggests that teens should be suspicious of mass media and government propaganda.
Positive Role Models
Although estranged from her parents, Faith Daniels, the protagonist of Pulse, is extremely loyal to her remaining friends and kind to Hawk, the seemingly nerdish younger kid who looks up to her. She has the courage necessary to stand up to those who want to push her around. And as she develops her psychic powers, she understands that they bring with them an additional measure of social responsibility.
Violence & Scariness
Except for a battle in which characters throw everything from trees to concrete walls at each other (with little in the way of serious injury), Pulse is not overly violent, shying away from the bloody details. In one scene, a dozen "Drifters" are beaten to death, but it happens offstage, as it were. In another, someone is struck in the head by a track-and-field hammer.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Faith is physically attracted to both Dylan and Wade, but their interplay doesn't progress much beyond mild flirting, although she and Dylan share a meaningful kiss by book's end.
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The language in Pulse is mildly salty, with about a dozen instances each of "damn," "hell," "ass," and "piss," with one or two instances of "s--t" and "bulls--t." One character uses the term "a--hole" for people he doesn't like.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Faith recalls a past hangover, but there's no drinking, smoking, or conventional drug taking in the main narrative of Pulse. Wire Code, a fictional kind of electronic drug, plays a part in the plot, and Faith receives two doses of it against her will.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Pulse is set in near-future suburbia, after the United States has been split into two separate super States. It features teen characters with psychic powers. The language is mildly salty ("damn," "hell," "ass," "piss"), with only one or two uses of "s--t" or "bulls--t." There's no drinking or smoking, but the protagonist receives two doses of a fictional drug against her will. The violence is not graphic, but there are two scenes that involve murder. The level of sexual content is low, with mild flirting and some kissing.
Is It Any Good?
For a book that spills its central premise on its front cover flap, PULSE takes a long time to get to its point. Readers who persevere will be rewarded with some compelling action scenes and a couple of intriguing plot reversals. The tale ends just as it's getting truly interesting, so perhaps the future volumes in this projected trilogy will be able to maintain a consistent level of suspense and engagement.
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.