by Farah Naz Rishi
Nikki’s Rating: 8 out of 10
Summary: As Earth is put on trial for their crimes, humans face possible extinction in just a few days. As their days are counting down, everyone begins to question what is important to them and how they would like to spend their last days. Jesse continues on with his life of crime and conning but comes to realize that love is worth more than money. Following her mother’s wishes, Cate takes off in search of her father but finds herself instead. And Adeem tracks down his sister and truly comes to realize the importance of family.
8 Interesting Things about I HOPE YOU GET THIS MESSAGE by Farah Naz Rishi
I Hope You Get This Message focuses on 3 different characters, all from different situations, backgrounds, and areas but all 3 of them are part of a minority group. Jesse is part of the LGBTQ community. While the book does not explore whether Cate has any mental illness, she is part of that community being the caretaker of her mother who is mentally ill. And then Adeem is a Pakistani-American Muslim boy. Throughout the book there is mention of the difficulties that each of them experience due to being part of their minority such as Adeem often having people start speaking spanish to him due to his complexion.
Earth in I Hope You Get This Message is actually our world with a twist. It is revealed to be the location of an experiment, the experiment being us, the human race. We were created by the Almaens to test the viability of using planet Earth as a new home. I Hope You Get This Message opens with the Almaens debating whether to shut the experiment down and kill all the humans or to allow the experiment to continue and risk the humans possibly destroying planet Earth.
3. Crimes Committed
Essentially, humans are put on trial for the crimes of destruction of environmental resources, abuses of its own people, neglect of preservation and sustainability for future generations, armed attack and devastation without provocation, subjugation and slavery of free-thinking organisms, disruption of the peace, and elimination of a people’s right to self-determination. We would be found guilty without a doubt. This is a neat way for a novel to bring up our current issues of global-warming, war, waste, etc.
4. Mental Illness
Rishi touched upon so many important problems in our society and one of those is the stigma and isolation that people experience with mental illness. And it is not just those that directly experience mental illness but also their caretakers. As Rishi showed in I Hope You Get This Message, caretakers may be ashamed to share and process with others what they are dealing with and contribute to their own sense of isolation and shame, which could negatively affect their own mental health.
Another societal problem that Rishi touched upon in I Hope You Get This Message is that of the acceptance of those within the LGBTQ community. So many who identify as LGBTQ are ostracized, bullied, threatened, harmed, and/or killed in their communities simply for being who they are. While Rishi does not go too deep into the darkness surrounding this issue, she does show how crucial it is for the family of origin to accept any family member who does identify as LGBTQ and how painful it can be if it is perceived as unacceptable.
6. Children Taking On Responsibility
Through the 3 main characters, Rishi shows the negative outcomes that may arise in children who end up having to take care of their parents while they are still children. The best example in I Hope You Get This Message is of course Cate who is seen trying to convince her mother to take her pills, explaining her mother’s bizarre behavior to neighbors, and lying to the police to cover up how ill her mother actually is. This of course causes Cate to feel guilt and shame when she isn’t at her mother’s side all the time, selfish if she wants to do something for herself separate from her mother, and overall anxiety about life and the future. Not at all healthy.
One of my favorite things about I Hope You Get This Message is that the 3 main characters were connected in the end. While it appeared that the only connection was going to be them crossing paths in Roswell, their connections to each other went deeper than that.
Thankfully each character got their own version of “happily ever after.” While it may not have been what they set out to find, it is what they needed in the end. Having the book end without showing the outcome of the Almaens decision allows the book to end positively with the reader hoping that the light remains and their world continues.
Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.
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.
What are your favorite things about Ellen Hopkins’s “Impulse”?