January 28, 2014

Review: The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson
Young Adult
Published 2014 by Viking Juvenile
E-book of 400 pages
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?

My motivation to buy this was the Reblog Book Club on Tumblr is reading it. I haven't participated by way of making posts on my thoughts of this book on Tumblr, but I might eventually. I read through it all even though the schedule for reading it is 30 chapters each week, and right now the Reblog Book Club is on chapters 62-94. If you're on Tumblr, I recommend that blog! :@)

I don't know exactly where to start, so I'll start with stuff I liked. I like Hayley, she reminds me of myself as a freshman in high school, in that cynical angry teenage way. The book has a lot of great one-liners, many of my favorites being things I can imagine myself thinking or saying. At the beginning, I wanted to dislike her because she was so sour and cynical, but I couldn't deny that I never had high school related cynicism. 

The love story was realistic, and sweet. If there was ever a point in the book that didn't seem realistic, I didn't mind. Maybe I'm a sucker for high school love stories, with their first kisses and sneaking around to see each other and the dynamic between two helpless young love birds. 

I love her friend Gracie, I had her pictured in my head perfectly from the beginning based on things she said and did. I had her pictured better in my head than Hayley or Finn. She was well defined and definitely my favorite character of the entire story.

Hayley's dad scared me to bits. When he embarrassed Hayley, I felt embarrassment by proxy. I enjoyed that feeling even though it caused a few interesting scary dreams. I haven't read many books with a PTSD theme, so a lot of his actions and dialogue were new to me. If and when I read another PTSD related story, I imagine it'll be like reopening the wounds of reading about PTSD from Hayley's shoes. It's hard to not think about. 

This book was easy to get into, and difficult to pull away from, which is an awesome feeling I haven't felt with a book in some time. I know this is crazy, but this if the first book I've read by Laurie Halse Anderson. I am very very pleased and want to read more by her. I closed the book (actually more like exited my book reading app because I read it in e-book) with feelings of curiosity, but the good kind. 

While I enjoyed this book very much, it isn't necessarily a super favorite or anything. I loved reading about PTSD for the first time, the family issues, and the psychology of it all, but they're not my personal favorite things to read about. My rating of a 4 out of 5 is based on my own personal preferences of what I like to take out of a book, and not because this book isn't worthy of a 5 star, because it most certainly is.


  1. Glad you seemed to enjoy it! Laurie is one of my favorite authors. I need to get this into my possession and soon!

    1. I couldn't wait to get it either, which is why I gave in and got the e-book instead of searching around for the physical copy lol.

      I'm sorry it took me this long to reply to your comment :@)


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