Impulse # 1
by Ellen Hopkins
Nikki’s Rating: 7 out of 10
Summary: Tony, Conner, and Vanessa, three teenagers with one thing in common: they attempted suicide. All three are now in a psychiatric ward together and somehow become friends. As they come to grow and love each other, they explore the events that led them there. But most importantly, they need to help each other find a way to keep going, to be able to survive on the other side of the psychiatric ward walls.
7 Intriguing Things about Ellen Hopkins’s “Impulse”
(May Contain Spoilers)
1. Free Verse
Ellen Hopkins always writes in a unique style of free verse poetry, which makes for a quick, powerful, and fun read!
Inclusiveness and support of the LGBTQ+ community through having a character who identified as LGBTQ+. Also appreciated that Ellen Hopkins normalized the idea that sexuality for some individuals can be fluid and that the teenage years are filled with exploring and learning about ourselves.
3. Author with Guts
One of the most fantastic things about author Ellen Hopkins is that she writes about tough subjects, drugs, mental illness, abuse, addiction, suicide, etc. She is a badass who brings up the stigmatized and darker human aspects.
4. Mental Illness
Ellen Hopkins really captures the distorted, irrational thinking that can take place amongst those with mental illness. But most importantly she leaves you with the concept that just because someone looks “all-together” or that they come from a wealthy “good” family doesn’t mean that they are not suffering inside or that they couldn’t have mental illness.
5. Defining Sexual Assault
Another important point that Ellen Hopkins makes is that an older woman having sexual relations with a little boy is sexual assault. It is disgusting and wrong to portray such an event as anything other than sexual assault but often these situations get turned into “Oh she was just ‘teaching’ him” or “I lost my virginity to my nanny. I’m the man!”
6. Bipolar Disorder
Having bipolar disorder, I feel that Ellen Hopkins in “Impulse” really captured how bipolar disorder can express itself in people. How they may behave and may think. Total truth in regards to those with bipolar disorder often enjoying the manic episodes.
While many people with mental illness take medications to manage their symptoms and improve their lives, there is a piece of very important information to take into consideration when it comes to medication. That is that the situation is most dangerous and potentially life-threatening to the person and those around them when they are either first beginning or coming off of medications. In potentially all situations involving a mentally ill individual committing a heinous crime, it is not the mental illness to blame but rather the effects of psychiatric medications on the brain. And of course, the chances of suicide are extremely high during this time and Hopkins really captures that reality.