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.
Number of Pages: 372
Reviewed by Rachel, age 18
This book surprised me. It was, of course, very realistic. With the raw characters and emotional circumstances that Anderson is known for. The first thing you notice is the voice--Hayley's is potent, and stays in your head long after you turn the final page.
At first, I wasn't in the mood to read a contemporary so I found it hard to sink into the story. However, once I was emotionally invested in the characters I couldn't put it down. The romance is different, and I loved Finn and Hayley's relationship. They're both unconventional in their own ways. Multiple characters in this story have family issues, including the two of them, however Hayley's dad is at the center of the plot.
Her life is both unique and familiar at the same time. Living alone with her post-war dad, she has a lot of secrets she's hidden from herself, and also from the reader, that reveal themselves as the emotional ending unravels the last bit of the story.
I think any reader who has a family member affected by PTSD will find this book extremely relatable, but also to a reader who hasn't. You feel for Hayley, and the injustice of it all. Though the ending does not leave with a black and white, clear future, it is satisfying in that Hayley is lifting her chin, squaring her shoulders and moving on to better things. I enjoyed every page of this quirky, tortured and uplifting novel!
This book hits shelves January of 2013!
Buy Hardcover | $18.99
Rachel, age 18