Saturday, July 05, 2014

Review: The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

Title: The Impossible Knife of Memory
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Release date: January 7th 2014
Pages: 391
Genre: Young Adult contemporary
Source: Bought 
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 rating: 4 out of 5 stars

We all know Laurie Halse Anderson is a literary genius, so of course I was excited to read her newest book. The cover is gorgeous, so that helped too. And while I didn't love The Impossible Knife of Memory as much as I've loved some of Laurie Halse Anderson's previous books, I did really enjoy it. The Impossible Knife of Memory is another dark, hard-hitting, character-driven driven novel, and I loved it.

I love how family-centered the plot of The Impossible Knife of Memory is - seeing Hayley struggle in her relationship with her dad is heartbreaking. I could see how some people might complain that the depiction of Andy's PTSD isn't layered enough, but I honestly didn't mind - the novel is more about Hayley figuring out how to deal with her father, rather than her father dealing with his PTSD. I really enjoyed reading about Hayley's relationship with her dad, and the rest of their family history too. I also love how we get insights into the families of Finn and of Hayley's best friend (whose name I can't remember even though she is awesome). 

The other main storyline is the romance. As always, I didn't love the romance quite as much as I loved the main storyline, but I did really enjoy it. I don't want to call it insta-love because Finn and Hayley's relationship develops very slowly and realistically over the course of the novel, but it is insta-something - I found it really strange how Finn immediately liked Hayley and started to "pursue" her as soon as she got there. Their bantering is cute, but I still don't see how it initially got started. Later on, though, I really liked reading about Hayley and Finn's connection.

Laurie Halse Anderson established herself as one of the best YA writers a long time ago, so of course her writing was amazing in her newest novel as well. She just has a way with words that makes everything so much more emotional and honest. There really isn't all that much going on in The Impossible Knife of Memory, but I never minded - it's still a captivating read because of her way with words. 

If you've never read a Laurie Halse Anderson novel, I don't know what you're doing with your life - you really, really need to. The Impossible Knife of Memory is another beautifully written, honest, and powerful novel, and I can't recommend it enough! 


  1. Not sure where I have been, but I have never read a Laurie Halse Anderson. I guess I will have to now. Which one do you recommend for a first read?

    1. Oh, you need to read some LHA, like, right now! Her most favorite one is definitely Speak, but my favorite would have to be Wintergirls. But really, everything I've read by her is great! Hope you like whichever of her books you read :)

  2. I hadn't heard of this author, but this one sounds good. I don't like 'instalove' either. I like for the romance to develop slowly.
    Great blog!


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