By Laurie Halse Anderson
Viking Juvenile, 2014
Source: Library, E-Galley
Audience: Older Teens
For the past five years, Hayley Kincain 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.
This book was fantastic. It was the first book I had read by this author. Her writing was amazing; I see why she is so popular. The main character has a lot on her plate. I liked that we saw the world through her eyes. I found that I couldn’t necessarily trust what she said about her sort-of stepmother. I would have been angry and disgusted with her, too, so I understood where Hayley was coming from. The romance wasn’t too mushy for a serious book and I appreciated the strong friendships she had. She needed them. I wanted the best for Hayley, so sometimes I just wanted to shake her to get her to find help somewhere - but she was a teenager. She was doing the best she could.
As far as the ending goes, it felt a bit glamorized and dramatic. I knew something big was coming, but it didn’t feel as authentic as the rest of the book did. To me, something so serious should be a bit more quiet and a little less action-packed.
In spite of that, I still loved the book and I plan on reading her other work as soon as possible.