Friday, April 15, 2011

Rec of the Week: "Impulse" by Ellen Hopkins

Quick Update: Had an epic Hastings overdose yesterday. Got a few eerily cheap books. How exactly does anybody, let alone writers, make money when books are $5.99 at entertainment stores? Sorta too late to change a career choice now though, haha!

Song Stuck in My Head: "Go Your Own Way" by Fleetwood Mac. Very random. I'm aware.

Drafting this in literature, since we’re taking notes on dialogue. Which would be cool, if the lesson was anything like writer’s blog posts on dialogue (avoiding passive voice, varying sentences, etc.) but nope. It’s basically just quotation marks and other tags besides “said”. Ugh! Since we have to write our own piece of dialogue, I penned a story about a duck selling car insurance to an incompetent rabbit. There’s a very complex inside joke in that, but maybe another day.

So today, let’s go to the world of intelligent writing. Such as the Rec of the Week, “Impulse” by Ellen Hopkins.

I actually read this a few weeks ago, aforementioned in a blog post, but since I’m currently re-reading the Morganville vampires (a.k.a best bloodsucker series ever) why not blog it now?

For anyone whose read or at least heard of the iconic Ellen Hopkins before, you know how her writing works - free verse. No, it’s not all rhyming poems like a YA Dr. Seuss. It’s all dangling, non-rhythmic, yet insightful free verse. No paragraphs or normal dialogue.

“Impulse” was my first EH book, though I’d definitely noticed her work in the teen section. Sort of hard to miss, with how chunky and artistic books like “Crank” and “Burn” are. I picked up “Impulse” as it dealt with teenagers in a psychiatric hospital, something I was trying to find more YA books on.

At first, the opening pages were outrageously flowery and morbid-poetic (the three protagonists attempted suicide for different reasons,) but by the tenth or so page, I was sucked in.

The story is about Conner, Tony, and Vanessa. Conner’s a new patient at the hospital, with elite boy charm and a relatively calm and collected demeanor - if not for the fact he shot himself. Tony, meanwhile, is an older patient - who’s already friendly with institutions like juvie - and is still recovering from the drugs that nearly killed him. Though he also seems normal, his life is bruised with neglect and abuse. And lastly is Vanessa, a mid-level patient that’s showing progress as she deals with depression after her mother’s suicide and being dumped by the love of her life. Under all of that, she has signs of bipolar disorder, which her mother had as well.

The book will probably the most intense the first it’s read. All three characters start off with these thick and impassable layers. Slowly, they open up not to their doctors but each other, and secret after secret is revealed. Let’s go ahead and say “bad childhoods” would not even begin to describe it.

What writers could really take from this book is how the three characters’ back-story is handled. After all, a popular mistake among noobs is dumping a load of 411 and fun facts about the character and their life prior to the story. Though I’ve yet to read her other books, Ellen Hopkins definitely handles the intricate back stories. Characters are revealed bit by bit, instead of being sloppily explained in detail in chapter one.

Annnd that would be it. Definitely a good read, no matter how you look at it! Now to figure out which EH book to pounce on first…. Muhaha.

Besides that, pretty good week over here. I actually understand the section my Algebra 3-4 class is covering, which terrifies me to the bone. Got to watch Avril Lavigne perform on Oprah, and sing a duet with Pat Benatar during the episode’s “Rock Goddesses” special. Also watched Miley Cyrus’s attempt to mirror Joan Jett‘s natural rock, onstage presence when they sang together as well. It was amusing to see a Disney starlet try to come off as “rock n’ roll”.

Anyhow, I’ll stop my ranting about music before it gets too whiney. Hope everyone’s week has been spiffy, and talk to you next week! Maybe on a day before Friday, even! * le gasp*


1 comment:

  1. lol, Miley Cyrus is....pathetic.
    That book sounds awesome. It`s kind of hard to find books in English here, not to mention affordable ones, but whatever. I hope I get to read her books one day.
    Take care