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Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

372 pages, YA Contemporary
My rating: 5 stars


For the past five years, Hayley Kincaid and her father, Andy, have been on the road, never staying long in one place as he struggles to escape the demons that have tortured him since his return from Iraq. Now they are back in the town where he grew up so Hayley can attend school. Perhaps, for the first time, Hayley can have a normal life, put aside her own painful memories, even have a relationship with Finn, the hot guy who obviously likes her but is hiding secrets of his own.

Will being back home help Andy’s PTSD, or will his terrible memories drag him to the edge of hell, and drugs push him over? The Impossible Knife of Memory is Laurie Halse Anderson at her finest: compelling, surprising, and impossible to put down.

My 2 cents

When I saw that Laurie Halse Anderson had a new book out, I knew I had to read it!  Luckily, my library got it in right away so I checked it out, and I am thrilled I did!

There wasn't a lot of fan fair with this new release, which kind of surprised me.  Laurie Halse Anderson is a brilliant writer, and pretty well known.  I honstly didn't know she had a new book out until it was out and I started seeing it a little bit on the blogosphere.  

This is a pretty dark and deep contemporary story about a teenage girl, Haley, and her father, Andy.  Andy is a veteran from the Iraqi war, and is suffering from PTSD.  Haley is more of the adult in the relationship.  To make things even harder for her, Haley has been homeschooled for the last several years, when Andy decides she needs a proper education, and enrolls her in high school.  Haley sees high school as a joke, and just a way to get kids to conform to society.  

What I loved best about this story was that Haley's view of high school mirrored my own while I was in it.  I had extremely different circumstances, but I could really relate to her in that way.  I had no way of relating to her dealing with her dad.  This part of the story is very sad and somewhat depressing, but very real.  This is a subject that is not written about much, especially in YA.  I really tip my hat to Laurie for having the courage to tell it.

I also loved the realness of the characters.  Every single one had their own voice, and I was easily able to get lost in Haley's story.  Her boyfriend, Finn, was just plain awesome.  He was everyone Haley needed, but still had his own secrets and flaws.

The ending was heart wrenching, freaky, and just plain emotional.  I really loved how we mostly got a happy ending out of it, but it was still realistic.  This was an amazing read, and one of my favorite contemporaries ever!


  1. Oh Jen, I loved it too. I would consider this one mature young adult, it's very confrontational and emotional. I'm not sure how many young teens would be able to take on the storyline. Brilliant review, thrilled you enjoyed it as much as I did.

    1. Yay! It was kind of cool we were reading it at the same time! I agree, this is not light subject matter!


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