Monday, November 30, 2009


(R, PSN)
What: Impulse, by Ellen Hopkins
Price: $9.99
Where to find it: Barnes & Noble
Why you’ll like it: A story of finding yourself and moving forward from tragedy

Everyone has their secrets, whether they are in your family, your friend circle, or your mind. There are secrets that we would go to the grave with, and for some, that grave is approaching fast; some secrets are enough to drive people to do the unthinkable, like commit suicide and end whatever pain they feel, whatever demons they can no longer stand.
The New York Times bestseller, “Impulse”, by Ellen Hopkins, though a very thick volume, is an amazing book that almost anyone can relate to.
“Impulse” is the amazing story of Connor, Tony, and Vanessa. Connor, the All- American boy whose life is seemingly perfect, struggles with familial problems and a forbidden love affair that causes him to turn to gun and bullet. Tony, whose life took a nasty turn at the early age of eight, has struggled with everything from drugs to sex while also living with the hard reality of being gay and living on the streets. And then there is Vanessa, a girl who has inherited her mother’s bipolarity and manic- depression. While her father is away fighting in Afghanistan, the mood swings become so intense that she turns to a dangerous escape.
In the middle of their attempts, fate intervenes and brings all of them to Aspen Springs, a rehabilitation and therapy center for kids with similar problems.
Hopkins takes the reader through each of their journeys to recovery as each character tells their story. The book is written entirely in poetry form and switches points of view every couple of pages.
The unusual form does not diminish Hopkins’s beautiful writing as she tries, and succeeds, in explaining the unexplainable to every kind of person.
Hopkins does an excellent job of capturing the ugly side of what teens go through, exploring drug and sex addictions, self- mutilation, and many other problems that modern society faces every day.
“Impulse” is definitely a page- turner that keeps readers on the edges of their seats and I recommend this book for anyone who likes a story of falling down, getting back up, brushing yourself off, and succeeding.

Driving to School

(O, PSN)
One would never have thought that the drive to school would be as dangerous as it actually is. Parents, teachers, and even bus drivers are speeding their way to school, rushing to get to where they are going as fast as possible. However, is it really worth it?
The thing about parents is that they are always rushing to get somewhere, whether they’re rushing to work, to catch a movie, or to an appointment. And those habits have automatically transferred to those situations where it is entirely unnecessary. Parents are usually driving their kids to school at around 6:30 a.m., and school starts at 7:20 a.m. Do they seriously not know when school starts? These parents are acting as if the grace period of 50 minutes, is actually five.
One incident that happened to me on my way to school particularly demonstrates the accelerated nature of parent routine. I was going 40 mph on Hampden, enjoying the conversation on the radio as usual. I was approaching a light up ahead that had just turned green. A car with a driving father and his teenage daughter had been tailing me the entire way. The father sped up, and was preparing to pass me as he moved into the right-turn-only lane on my right. We came to the intersection and, ignoring all of the signals that said he must turn right, flew through the intersection and into another right-turn-only lane. He then forced his way into a small section between me and another car. Congratulations, you just gained about fifteen feet, and I was right behind you the entire rest of the way to school.
I am not sure how many traffic laws he broke, or if his picture was taken in the process, but parents should definitely not be driving as recklessly as they are. Parents are driving their kids who are approaching driving age to school, and they should not be administering this kind of behavior in front of future drivers. They may throw in the usual line of “do as I say, and not as I do,” but that alone will not stop kids from mimicking their parents driving, or from contracting the similar behavior of racing to get where they are going.
Why are drivers rushing so early in the morning? You would think that people would be slightly tired and want to take it easy as they make their way to a place where they, no doubt, do not want to be; however, this is not what is happening. The mental race rages on.
Understandably, there are incidents when students need to be to school earlier because of a parent’s work, or a late start, but that does not mean that it is worth putting people in danger. These are high school students; they are capable of catching a bus, whether it’s a school or public bus, and carpooling can be arranged.
As if this dangerous, imaginary race weren’t enough to make you fear going out on the road, so many of these reckless drivers are attempting various activities while disobeying speed limits. Whether it’s talking on the phone, applying make-up, or eating breakfast on the go, multitasking is playing a major role in increasing danger on the road.
People are trying to accomplish so many things at once that they are not taking time to enjoy simple pleasures, and instead making it more dangerous for the people around them. The American people need to slow down; they need to take a minute and take in the phone call, enjoy the muffin and coffee, talk to the kids they have in the car, and, of course, enjoy driving.
There is no race. Getting somewhere 30 seconds earlier is not worth your life, much less your passengers’ or other drivers’ lives.