I absolutely love Ellen Hopkins. I've read all of her books now, aside from Perfect (I wanted to finish this one first). I'm not sure if I loved this one as much as the Crank books or Identical. I struggled with giving it four or five stars, but in the end I decided that the things I didn't like were more of a personal preference, rather than something that the author did wrong. Impulse really is a beautiful book, with a shocking ending. I predicted what would happen within the last one hundred pages, but I still didn't think she would actually go through with it. It broke my heart and will probably do that to most other readers, as well.
I really did like Impulse. The characters were interesting, the plot was good, and I didn't really have a whole lot of issues with it. Hopkins is a brilliant writer and I love her verse. A couple of the reviews mention that the book contains too much sexual material. I would argue against that. All of Hopkins' books are rated 14+. There's nothing in them that I don't think a fourteen year old could handle. Impulse especially isn't very bad. There are a lot of references, but no actual sexual action. I think that those references make the book all the more realistic. After all, the three characters ARE teenagers, the medicines that they're on don't help their hormone levels, and I think that it's perfectly normal for them to think that way. Most teenagers in their situations would.
Speaking of the characters, I liked them as well. Conner and Vanessa were my favorite. There was something about Tony that kind of bugged me (probably how his personality changes throughout the book), which made me a little disappointed with the ending, but a lot of people seemed to enjoy him. As far as my complaints go, like I said, the ending broke my heart. But, I think that contributed to the overall greatness of Impulse. Also, Conner's family got on my nerves a little bit. They seemed like the stereotypical rich family, but unfortunately, there are a lot of people like that in our world today. Finally, I wasn't sure how realistic the descriptions of some of the drugs were. The characters acted as if the Prozac got in their bloodstream right away and had immediate effects, when I was under the assumption that it built up in you. I could be wrong, though. And I'm sure medications like that act differently in each person.
I thought that Impulse was a great book. It's definitely an interesting and emotional read. I fell in love with some of the characters and enjoyed every minute of the book. I would recommend this story to anyone, especially fans of Ellen Hopkins or verse books. Even if you've never been exposed to either one, this is a great novel to start with. Thanks for reading and I hope you give Impulse a shot!
Lastly, as a side note, there was another complaint that I've seen a lot that I'd like to argue against. You don't necessarily have to read this if you haven't read the book, but I'll try not to give anything away. People keep saying that a mental facility shouldn't put their patients in a situation where the could hurt themselves, such as the wilderness challenge in Impulse. This is the last stage of the treatment. After the patients go through it, they are free to leave. All of the parents know about it when they send their kids to Aspen Springs and it IS a choice the kids are allowed to make. The challenge is supervised, and I see no reason why this is unrealistic. As much as any institution wants to, there is no way to completely shelter someone from hurting themselves if they intend to do it. Also, the patients ARE leaving after it. If they really want to go hurt themselves, they'll do it afterwards, anyway. By this stage in the treatment, they're supposed to be well enough to handle themselves. I don't see a way Aspen Springs could have prevented this. Just a comment.