Impulse by Ellen Hopkins

Impulse

byEllen Hopkins

Paperback | May 20, 2008

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about

Sometimes you don't wake up. But if you happen to, you know things will never be the same.

Three lives, three different paths to the same destination: Aspen Springs, a psychiatric hospital for those who have attempted the ultimate act -- suicide.

Vanessa is beautiful and smart, but her secrets keep her answering the call of the blade.

Tony, after suffering a painful childhood, can only find peace through pills.

And Conner, outwardly, has the perfect life. But dig a little deeper and find a boy who is in constant battle with his parents, his life, himself.

In one instant each of these young people decided enough was enough. They grabbed the blade, the bottle, the gun -- and tried to end it all. Now they have a second chance, and just maybe, with each other's help, they can find their way to a better life -- but only if they're strong and can fight the demons that brought them here in the first place.

About The Author

Ellen Hopkins has been writing poetry for many years. Her first novel, Crank, also written in verse, met with critical acclaim. She lives with her husband and son in Carson City, Nevada.
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Details & Specs

Title:ImpulseFormat:PaperbackDimensions:688 pages, 7 × 5 × 1.8 inPublished:May 20, 2008Publisher:Margaret K. McElderry BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1416903577

ISBN - 13:9781416903574

Appropriate for ages: 14

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Without Warning Sometimes you're traveling a highway, the only road you've ever known, and wham! A semi comes from nowhere and rolls right over you. Sometimes you don't wake up. But if you happen to, you know things will never be the same. Sometimes that's not so bad. Sometimes lives intersect, no rhyme, no reason, except, perhaps, for a passing semi. Triad Three separate highways intersect at a place no reasonable person would ever want to go. Three lives that would have been cut short, if not for hasty interventions by loved ones. Or Fate. Three people, with nothing at all in common except age, proximity, and a wish to die. Three tapestries, tattered at the edges and come unwoven to reveal a single mutual thread. The Thread Wish you could turn off the questions, turn off the voices, turn off all sound. Yearn to close out the ugliness, close out the filthiness, close out all light. Long to cast away yesterday, cast away memory, cast away all jeopardy. Pray you could somehow stop the uncertainty, somehow stop the loathing, somehow stop the pain. Conner Arrival The glass doors swing open, in perfect sync, precisely timed so you don't have to think. Just stroll right in. I doubt it's quite as easy to turn around and walk back outside, retreat to unstable ground. Home turf. An orderly escorts me down spit-shined corridors, past tinted Plexiglas and closed, unmarked doors. Mysteries. One foot in front of the other, counting tiles on the floor so I don't have to focus the blur of painted smiles, fake faces. A mannequin in a tight blue suit, with a too-short skirt (and legs that can wear it), in a Betty Boop voice halts us. I'm Dr. Boston. Welcome to Aspen Springs. I'll give you the tour. Paul, please take his things to the Redwood Room. Aspen Springs. Redwood Room. As if this place were a five-star resort, instead of a lockdown where crazies pace. Waiting. At Least It doesn't have a hospital stink. Oh yes, it's all very clean, from cafeteria chairs to the bathroom sink. Spotless. But the clean comes minus the gag-me smell, steeping every inch of that antiseptic hell where they excised the damnable bullet. I wonder what Dad said when he heard I tried to put myself six feet under -- and failed. I should have put the gun to my head, worried less about brain damage, more about getting dead. Finis. Instead, I decided a shot through the heart would make it stop beating, rip it apart to bleed me out. I couldn't even do that right. The bullet hit bone, left my heart in one piece. In hindsight, luck wasn't with me that day. Mom found me too soon, or my pitiful life might have ebbed to the ground in arterial flow. I thought she might die too, at the sight of so much blood and the thought of it staining her white Armani blouse. Conner, what have you done? she said. Tell me this was just an accident. She never heard my reply, never shed a tear. I Don't Remember Much after that, except for speed. Ghostly red lights, spinning faster and faster, as I began to recede from consciousness. Floating through the ER doors, frenzied motion. A needle's sting. But I do remember, just before the black hole swallowed me, seeing Mom's face. Her furious eyes followed me down into sleep. It's a curious place, the Land of Blood Loss and Anesthesia, floating through it like swimming in sand. Taxing. After a while, you think you should reach for the shimmering surface. You can't hold your breath, and even if you could, it's dark and deep and bitter cold, where nightmares and truth collide, and you wonder if death could unfold fear so real. Palpable. So you grope your way up into the light, to find you can't move, with your arms strapped tight and overflowing tubes. And everything hits you like a train at full speed. Voices. Strange faces. A witches' stewpot of smells. Pain. Most of all, pain. Tony Just Saw A new guy check in. Tall, built, with a way fine face, and acting too tough to tumble. He's a nutshell asking to crack. Wonder if he's ever let a guy touch that pumped-up bod. They gave him the Redwood Room. It's right across from mine -- the Pacific Room. Pretty peaceful in here most of the time, long as my meds are on time. Ha. Get it? Most of the time, if my meds are on time. If you don't get it, you've never been in a place like this, never hung tough from one med call till the next. Wasted. That's the only way to get by in this "treatment center." Nice name for a loony bin. Everyone in here is crazy one way or another. Everyone. Even the so-called doctors. Most of 'em are druggies. Fucking loser meth freaks. I mean, if you're gonna purposely lose your mind, you want to get it back some day. Don't you? Okay, maybe not. I Lost My Mind A long time ago, but it wasn't exactly my idea. Shit happens, as they say, and my shit literally hit the fan. But enough sappy crap. We were talking drugs. I won't tell you I never tried crystal, but it really wasn't my thing. I saw enough people, all wound up, drop over the edge, that I guess I decided not to take that leap. I always preferred creeping into a giant, deep hole where no bad feelings could follow. At least till I had to come up for air. I diddled with pot first, but that tasty green weed couldn't drag me low enough. Which mostly left downers, "borrowed" from medicine cabinets and kitchen cabinets and nightstands. Wherever I could find them. And once in a while -- not often, because it was pricey and tough to score -- once in a while, I tumbled way low, took a ride on the H train. Oh yeah, that's what I'm talking about. A hot shot clear to hell. Copyright © 2007 by Ellen Hopkins