In this novel-in-verse, three teenagers meet on a psychiatric unit. One of them is Tony, who has been sexually abused by his mother’s boyfriend. He thought he was gay but eventually realizes that he is actually attracted to women.
Impulse follow three suicidal teenagers as they try to heal. Tony always thought he was gay, but meeting Vanessa he’s no longer sure whether that’s true.
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.
Cis girls: Vanessa
Cis boys: Conner, Tony
Heterosexual: Vanessa, Conner
White: Tony, Vanessa, Conner
Mental illness: Tony, Conner and Vanessa are all suicidal. Vanessa has bipolar disorder. Conner has depression.
Suicide (graphic descriptions, suicide ideation)
Graphic descriptions of self-harm
Child abuse and child neglect
Ableist language regarding mentally ill people
Additional Notes: The way Tony’s realization about his sexuality is handled is widely considered by reviewers to be harmful to queer readers, especially bisexual or pansexual readers. Tony explicitly rejects labels in the narrative. The depiction of mental health facilities is dramatized and not particularly realistic and mental illness is romanticized.
Ending: Unhappy – death