Tag Archives: pregnancy

Impulse by Ellen Hopkins

Impulse

“Love means holding on to someone just as hard as you can because if you don’t, one blink and they might disappear forever.”
-Tony

Sometimes life just gets too hard. Sometimes everything piles up until it feels like you’ve been left with one option: to end it all. That’s what Conner, Tony, and Vanessa thought, at least– but after failing at each of their suicide attempts, they end up in Aspen Springs for recovery. Now they’ve been given a second chance at life… Will they take it or opt out once again?

I know I start a lot of reviews like this, but I really love this book. The re-read for this review was probably the third or fourth, and I never get sick of it. Although I’m in love with all of Ellen Hopkins’s books, this one is definitely my favorite. It’s the first I ever read by her and what made me fall in love with her writing style and writing, period. It’s a little strange to read at first, but if you give it a chance you’ll adapt quickly and end up loving her too.

As I’ve said in previous reviews, books are always more exciting with multiple narrators. This adds to my love for this book, but I don’t think that is the main reason I like it so much. I’ve always been really into books about mental hospital/group home sort of things, as you may know by my numerous reviews about the subject, and the entire book is about this. Plus, it deals with some really important issues and “taboos,” in such a way that I strongly believe everyone should read this book at least once– especially for those who judge by reputation or first impressions, this book should be a real eye-opener.

And, like I say about all of Ellen Hopkins’s books, it’s powerful. I cry just as much now as I did the first time I read it. It really changed my opinion and views on certain things, but I won’t talk about that… spoilers and all.

What I will talk about before I go, though, is the sequel, Perfect. I don’t own it, I haven’t read it, and I haven’t seen it in any bookstores yet, but I really want to read it. From what I’ve heard, it’s three completely different narrators– two of which I remember as Cara, Conner’s twin sister, and Kendra, Conner’s ex-girlfriend who made a brief appearance in Impulse, but I don’t remember the other at all. I think it sounds like it’ll be incredible, and as soon as I find and read it, you’ll be the first to know.

Once again, I forgot to write this review, so the review for the book I’m about halfway done with now (a big surprise, I bet, but I will say it’s a classic) will most likely be up tomorrow. Thanks for reading, and see you then!

-J

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The Crank Series by Ellen Hopkins (Crank, Glass, Fallout)

CrankGlassFallout

“Crank is more than a drug. It’s a way of life. You can turn your back. But you can never really walk away.”
-Kristina/Bree, Crank

So I’ve done it. After thinking about it for 50+ reviews,  I’ve finally made a full series post. Now this is as weird for you as it is for me, so please bear with me as I try this out.

The first book in the series, Crank, tells the story of Kristina, described as “gifted high school junior, quiet, never any trouble.” One day, when she decides to visit the father who has been missing all of her life, she discovers a powerful drug: crystal meth. Soon Kristina’s life is changed forever as she falls deeper into lies, trouble, and addiction.

In Glass, Kristina continues to struggle with her addiction, but with all new problems. As everything around her falls apart, she’ll have to find new ways to get with the monster, and they won’t be pretty.

Fallout takes place nineteen years after the events in Crank, and is told by Kristina’s teenage children, Hunter, Autumn, and Summer. Although their lives are completely different, they have one thing in common: their mother has torn their families apart, forcing them to live separately (and in some cases, without knowledge of each other). But when their paths intersect, their individual lives will be changed forever.

These books are impossible to put down. I know I would’ve had them all read within a few days if it weren’t for my final exams this week. The series is, like Ellen Hopkins’s other novels, not for the faint-hearted, and as real as it gets. Also, I commend the author for her incredible talent of being able to write a teenager’s point of view flawlessly, no matter the subject matter or age range.

The character of Kristina in the first book, Crank, was especially relatable to me due to the description of her personality (quoted above), and I think that made me like the first book a lot more. It is really interesting to see how someone like Kristina could turn down the dark road of crystal meth so easily, and how it affects everyone around her. By Glass, though, the story starts to drag on a little. It feels like most of it is being repeated, or that the words don’t matter and are only there to take up space. I became bored with this book very quickly, and feared that the final book of the series would be even worse. But, I can gratefully tell you, Fallout was my favorite of the three.

The narrator change is what made Fallout interesting to me right from the start. Books are always more exciting with separate narrators, considering you have three different voices, three different points of view, three different lives instead of one throughout the whole 500+ page novel. But the change in narrator wasn’t the only thing that made this addition the best.

Although it makes me upset to finish a series, the final book is usually my favorite. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows of the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, Everlasting of the Immortals series by Alyson Noel, and Fallout of the Crank series by Ellen Hopkins all have that in common, for two main reasons: one, the climax is biggest and best thing the author can possibly think of; and two, the author always finds a way to tie all of the previous events together perfectly. This denouement, as my English teacher says, is so exciting to me. And the final book in the Crank series fits this description well.

I hope this extra-long series review was worth the thirteen-day wait for me to post again. This review was exhausting, so I think I’m going to stick with some single books for a while until I’m ready for another hour-long reviewing session. Please let me know what you think of the series review style and whether you think I should do this for every series I review. Thank you so much for reading, and have a great summer!

-J

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Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles

Jumping Off Swings

“I stretch my fingers across my belly and glide my hand back and forth, waving softly.  Sometimes I think I feel a hand reaching out for mine.  Or it could be a foot, kicking my hand away.  I wish I could tell the difference.”
-Ellie

Ellie has always used sex to gain confidence. She wants someone to care about her, and sex makes her feel like someone wants her. So when she and Josh mess around at a party one night, she thinks it’ll be like any other time. The last thing she expected was to get pregnant– but she did. Jumping Off Swings is told from the point of view of four different teenagers who are all affected by Ellie’s pregnancy and everything afterward. But whatever choice she makes will affect each of their lives in some way, and there’s no way to change it now.

This is one of those books that I enjoy reading, but wouldn’t recommend it to anyone else. Pregnancy is the main conflict in the story, and if that’s what you’re looking for, then by all means read this book. But if you’re expecting anything more, don’t bother. Don’t get me wrong, Jo Knowles does a great job of writing this book, but I can’t help but feel it’s missing something. Really, I don’t know what it is, but the book just seems a little empty.

Otherwise, it’s a great book. I applaud Jo Knowles for being able to tell the story in different points of view without making all of the characters sound the same. I noticed that’s something most authors seem to struggle with, but Jo Knowles makes it look easy.

Short review, yes, but it’s a short book. Like I said earlier, I wouldn’t exactly recommend it unless this is exactly the type of book you’re looking for. If it’s not, you’ll probably be disappointed by it.

-J

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Burned by Ellen Hopkins

Burned

“Real love finds you once, if you’re lucky.”
-Aunt J

Pattyn Von Stratten is the oldest of her family’s seven daughters, living in a gilded Mormon home. Her father a raging and abusive alcoholic, her mother succumbing to his every command, it is up to Pattyn and her oldest sister, Jackie, to care for the rest of the family. Pattyn, questioning numerous beliefs by her religion and her family, experiments by dating a boy behind her father’s back– only to get caught and sent to rural Nevada to live with her aunt for the summer. While there, she discovers the truth about her life and beliefs and sets out to become a new Pattyn.

This is and forever will be one of my favorite books, written by one of my all-time favorite authors. Ellen Hopkins is known for writing her novels using the unusual style of free-verse poetry. Basically, it’s just like a regular novel, but there are probably a maximum of fifty words per page, and the words are broken into stanzas, like any other form of poetry. When I read the first of her books I hated it, but I’ve come to thoroughly enjoy and admire her style. Especially with the poems that are set up in a read-between-the-lines sort of way– one or two words from each stanza are set apart from the rest of the text, so that you can interpret the story on that page in two different ways.

But the plot of the book itself is just as fantastic. There are so many conflicts and issues at hand that there is never a boring moment. But if you’re expecting a happy ending, do not read this book. Seriously, this book is majorly realistic and depressing. It may seem like everything will turn out okay in the end, but the ending will hit you like a ton of bricks. The first time I read this book, I definitely didn’t see it coming.

And if you like this one, you should really check out some other books by this incredibly talented author. So far, I only own four of her numerous published works, but I’ve heard the others are amazing and will definitely be checking into them soon. Also, the long-awaited sequel to Burned comes out in September; many more of Ellen Hopkins’s hugely anticipated books are to follow, so keep a look out for her upcoming releases!

-J

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Before I Die by Jenny Downham

Before I Die

“Keep breathing. Just keep doing it. It’s easy. In and out.”
-Tessa Scott

Tessa Scott is a teenager who has been fighting lymphoblastic leukaemia since she was twelve. Knowing she isn’t getting any better and her time is running out, Tessa arranges a list of things she’d like to do before she dies. And starting tonight, she’s going out with her best friend Zoey to accomplish number one on the list: sex.

One of the reviews featured on the back cover of the book says “I defy anyone not to cry while reading this.” I’ve seen things like that on multiple books, so I just blew it off, even though I already knew it would be an extremely sad book. And I didn’t cry throughout the book… until it was nearing the end, and I began to tear up. Soon I was full-on crying, and then the book ended, leaving me feeling hollow.

And though I only finished this book about ten minutes ago, looking back at my reaction made me realize that in order to do that, this book had to be awesome.

From the beginning, I thought I was going to hate this book. The first few chapters of the book is just sex, drugs, and more sex, definitely not typical for a YA book. But I went along with it, and I’m so glad I did.

All in all, to me it wasn’t good enough to pass up the others and be considered a favorite, but it was still a great book and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. And the review on the front is a hundred percent accurate: “A book that will make you happy to be alive.”

-J

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After by Amy Efaw

After

“She can paint a pretty picture, but this story has a twist. The paintbrush is a razor, and the canvas is her wrist.”
-Karma

Devon Davenport is a sophmore in high school who attempted to murder her newborn daughter immediately after giving birth. After is her story of life in a juvenille detention center while awaiting her trial, and the trial itself. Suspenseful, surprising, and all-around incredible, After is definitely a book you won’t want to miss out on.

Another of my favorites. This book is amazing, and now I can see why it’s so popular in the YA fiction world. No matter how crazy it gets, the characters are occasionally relatable in some way. No matter how much you are prejudiced about the characters, you’ll end up liking them at least a little bit.

Once again, this is one of those books where I can’t say too much due to spoilers. But this book is awesome, and I advise you to go read it as soon as possible.

-J

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Jerk, California by Jonathan Friesen

Jerk, California

“Even at six years old I knew I was alone.”
-Sam Carrier/Jack Keegan

First thing’s first: I apologize for taking so long to finish this book; I had a busy weekend and didn’t even get to start it until Monday. I finished the book yesterday, but fell asleep very early without writing the review. Okay, now let’s focus on the book.

Sam Carrier has struggled with Tourette’s Syndrome since he was six. He’s never forgiven his father, who died when he was only two, for passing his Tourette’s onto him, and making his stepfather, Bill, hate him. But soon he meets George, an old friend of his father, and who teaches Sam he’s not who he thought he was. Unsure even of his own name, Sam goes on a road trip to Jerk, California with his crush, Naomi, to figure out anything he can about the life he never knew about.

This would’ve been a great book if Naomi didn’t exist. All I could focus on was how much I hated this girl. Jonathan Friesen makes her seem like the most perfect girl you can think of, but I really can’t imagine someone being that perfect. And that’s just her looks; her personality isn’t worth anything. She treats Sam/Jack like crap, exploits his syndrome, and flirts with him teasingly, knowing that he likes her. Not only that, she’s also a bit of a slut. But I won’t go into detail, since this is a spoiler-free review.

Otherwise, I really liked this book. With the author himself having struggled with Tourette’s throughout his life, the character of Sam/Jack was much more realistic. Also, this book squashed Tourette’s-related stereotypes that even I believed, having never met someone who has this disorder and not knowing much about it.

Sorry again for keeping you waiting, and thanks for reading. I hope the six-day wait didn’t disappoint too much.

-J

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Get Well Soon by Julie Halpern

Get Well Soon

“I hardly think it wise to put the idea of flying into the heads of impressionable teenagers who are already battling the challenges of lunacy.”
-Anna Bloom

It’s so difficult to write a review of a book with the kind of storyline that giving away tiny details could ruin the entire plot. So, all I’ll say is that the main character, Anna Bloom, is in a mental hospital, trying to make sense of everything and deal with the problems from both her old and new lives.

At first, I thought this would be just another mental hospital story. I still liked it; it was just kind of a “what else is new?” book. But at a certain point, where Anna notices something different about one of the patients (that’s the best I can do, sorry!), I started to get really into it. I wanted to know everything about this kid. The suspense was nearly killing me, especially because nothing regarding it is revealed until almost the end of the book. I read half the book in one sitting, I was so desperate to know. And when the truth came out, I was impressed. The signs were subtle but there, and I was a little surprised I didn’t pick up on it sooner.

Although I liked most of the characters (which doesn’t happen often), I have to say my favorite is Matt O. I don’t know what it is about him, but I just want to be friends with this kid. It was a little weird how many shared interests Anna and I had, too. (Imagine reading a book while listening to a band you really like and wearing one of your favorite shirts and pair of shoes. Now, imagine the narrator start talking about that band, describing your shirt to you, and mentioning the shoes you’re wearing. Then, a while later, the narrator mentions that she really likes to do one of your favorite passtimes. Wouldn’t you freak out too?)

And, a quick note before I leave: Since tomorrow is my birthday, I don’t know if I’ll get around to reading or not. If I do, great; if I don’t, you guys will probably have to wait an extra day until I post again. And since I’m basing what book I’m reading next over whether I get to read tomorrow, that may mean waiting up to four or five days for another review. 😦

Have a great weekend, guys. See you later!

-J

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