Pulse, Book 1

Book review by
Michael Berry, Common Sense Media
Pulse, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Tale of girl who moves things with her mind builds slowly.

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

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.

Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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.


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.


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.


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.

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.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byslap.face September 4, 2018

don’t even waste your time

every plot point was developed due to some short-lived romance. every aspect was cliche and unoriginal. the book tried to build drama and suspense but ended up... Continue reading
Adult Written byskyper March 22, 2013
Teen, 13 years old Written byamazing_quotes August 27, 2020


This is one of my favorite books. I think it is just fine for any age message wise. There is some language but not extremely bad.
Teen, 13 years old Written byMystic636 May 26, 2019

Great book!

i know as I’ve gotten older, it’s harder to find book that I can enjoy and isn’t so “intense” as far as romance and swearing. Though this book still has frequen... Continue reading

What's the story?

Faith Daniels lives in the no-mans'-land between two separate, but gigantic, States and attends a high school that is little more than a day care for teens. She is attracted to super-athlete Wade Quinn but also fascinated by mysterious newcomer Dylan Gilmore. What Faith doesn't realize is that she harbors within her a "pulse," the telekinetic ability to move objects with her mind. Will she be able to harness it in time to prevent disaster for herself, friends, and family?

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the popularity of stories about teens with psychic powers. Why do you think they're so popular?

  • If everyone were equipped with super-fast, portable tablet computers, how might that effect education? Would human teachers still be needed?

  • Assuming your don't possess psychic powers, what are good ways to stand up to bullies?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love science fiction nd dystopian novels

Themes & Topics

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