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The Impossible Knife of Memory

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3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  21,860 Ratings  ·  3,217 Reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 391 pages
Published January 7th 2014 by Viking Books for Young Readers
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Khanh (the meanie)
This is not a bad book by any means, but it left me quite emotionless despite the gravity of the situation that it portrayed. I think a lot of people will enjoy this book; clearly from the high ratings of this book, a lot of people have. It just didn't work for me.

I feel like this book sanitizes PTSD into a very clean depiction. For me, this book is not dark. It did not feel depressing. It was not emotionally wracking. This book portrayed PTSD through a very clean, filtered lens, a textbook desc
...more
Thomas
Aug 12, 2013 Thomas rated it it was amazing
As someone who wrote an entire research paper on the importance of YA fiction and the genius of Laurie Halse Anderson, I own up to my bias. The Impossible Knife of Memory captures so much of what I love about young-adult contemporary and realistic fiction. It possesses a witty and cynical narrator, it delves into a real and painful issue, and it offers a nuanced yet meaningful message of hope.

Hayley Kincaid divides the human race into two types of people: the freaks and the zombies. Her lack of
...more
Kat (Lost in Neverland)

What even was that cheesy ending, oh my god.

Haley believes there are only two kinds of people in the world: freaks and zombies. Everyone is a freak until they hit high school, where the zombification process sets in.

Haley lives with her father, a war veteran with severe PTSD, and struggles with the responsibility of having to practically care for him whenever he drinks too much or wakes up in the middle of the night screaming.
She disregards school and the zombies within, believing that it's a
...more
Kristine
On April 20, 1999, I was a senior in high school. My friends and I had returned from lunch and I was sitting in Chemistry class. My teacher got a phone call and said there'd been a shooting in Colorado and she was going to turn on the news on the TV. We were in mountain time zone so we watched live from our classroom as kids jumped out of the windows of their classrooms two states away in Columbine. The next day we came to school we were all a little spooked. At about 10 am I was in Sra. Owens' ...more
Melanie
See more reviews at YA Midnight Reads

At first, I thought I was a black sheep. Most of my friends loved this book, cried over it, still in a book hangover just thinking of this novel. But a few days upon finishing The Impossible Knife of Memory, I took a quick peek at the ratings on Goodreads. I won't say that the ratings were distributed evenly all the way, but it seems that quite a number were just as disappointed as I was.

The Impossible Knife of Memory started off really well. Fantastically, e
...more
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Can I just say that Laurie Halse Anderson is the best? Actually, don’t answer that, because I don’t care what you think, because she just is the best and I refuse to argue that point. The Impossible Knife of Memory is my third Laurie Halse Anderson read and also my favorite. For those who are curious, the other two were Speak and Catalyst. The Impossible Knife of Memory is dark, hilarious, oh so quotable, and has a truly amazing ship.

Read the full review at A Reader of Fictions.
Tatiana
2.5 stars

Objectively, well written, but there is nothing new here. A cutesy romance mixed with family drama. Even though some of the drama is PTSD-related, still the feeling of same old, same old remains.
Ingrid
Jan 28, 2014 Ingrid rated it it was ok
I've hit a bit of a rough patch with books. For the past month, many of the books I've read have been kind of okay, lame, or just confusing. At least two books this month I've been unsure of whether I liked them or didn't, because they had issues, but had beauty.

This is another book that I'm not sure if I liked, but know that I didn't hate. Like with all of Laurie Halse Anderson's books, The Impossible Knife of Memory explores a tricky subject that in some hands could be easily botched. The sub
...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

When Hayley’s dad Andy returned from fighting overseas five years ago, he was a changed man. He tried battling his PTSD by running – taking Hayley with him over-the-road and home schooling her. Now Andy and Hayley have moved back to their hometown in an attempt to give Hayley a sense of normalcy for her senior year of high school. But how can Hayley ever know what "normal” is when she is being raised by someone who can “turn into a wer
...more
Brian
Aug 05, 2013 Brian rated it really liked it
Laurie Halse Anderson. Do I really need to say more?
ALPHAreader
Aug 18, 2013 ALPHAreader rated it it was amazing
‘The Impossible Knife of Memory’ is the new young adult novel from Laurie Halse Anderson.

I finished reading this book the same week that Australian soldiers completed withdrawal from the Afghanistan Uruzgan province. It was an unsettling overlap in my reading – when majority news outlets were reporting positively on the withdrawal, but none were mentioning the road ahead for the returning soldiers. This is the crux of Anderson’s story, which follows eighteen-year-old Hayley Rose who has recentl
...more
Dianne
Jan 07, 2014 Dianne rated it really liked it
This is a poignant young adult story about a teenaged girl, Hayley, trying to cope with her increasingly despondent and volatile father, who is suffering from head injuries from an IED and post-traumatic stress disorder after multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Hayley’s mother and grandmother have been dead for years and she and her father have recently returned to her childhood home after living a nomadic lifestyle while her father tried to outrun his demons. Hayley enrolls in Belmont High ...more
Michelle Arrow
"A quick lesson.
There are two kinds of people in this world:
1. zombies
2. freaks
Only two. Anyone who tells you different is lying. That
person is a lying zombie. Do not listen to zombies. Run for
your freaking life."


Need a little flavour in your life? Then pick this beauty up. It's not your average contemporary read, it's something darker with a gorgeous backstory. It deals with a variety of subjects, including PTSD. You will end up crying and not understanding what the freak is going on with
...more
Alyssa | Swept Away By Books
I am smacking myself for not reading any other books by Laurie Halse Anderson before this one. The Impossible Knife of Memory is an incredibly heavy story about a young girl who spends more time looking after her father who suffers from severe PTSD, than he spends looking after her. Despite the absolutely tough subject, Anderson throws in this underlying sense of hope that is so strong, it helps you push through the more emotional parts of the story.

And trust me, there are a lot. I was choked up
...more
Ruth Turner

I'm fence sitting with this one.

I thought it was going to be a tissue box story, but it failed to bring so much as a tear to my eye.

It's a well written, easy read, but I found I had no sympathy for any of the characters.

Some of the conversations between Finn and Hayley made my head hurt! Do young adults really talk like this? Really?

“The warped perception of time is a hallmark of trauma,” he said. “I’ve counseled a lot of superheroes. They all struggle with it.”
“Oh, really?” My hand dropped to
...more
Susane Colasanti
Oct 27, 2013 Susane Colasanti rated it it was amazing
Another phenomenal masterpiece by Laurie Halse Anderson. Breathtaking, moving, and gripping.
Kelli
Dec 26, 2013 Kelli rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars.


"The old men take us there. A tiny hand, stained with blood and dust, pokes out of the rubble. The old men shout at us.
'What are they saying?' I ask.
'We got the wrong house,' the interpreter says.
We blew up a house filled with children and mothers and toothless grandmothers. The insurgent house sits empty, a stone's throw away.
The ancient men yell at me shake their fists.
I understand every word they say."


With every single Laurie Halse Anderson book that I've read, I'm always left t
...more
Keertana
The Impossible Knife of Memory is impeccably told through the narration of Haley, a protagonist whose voice has just a touch of cynicism in it, thrown in with a scoop of sarcasm and a whole big bucket of survivalist instincts. Haley's father, a war veteran suffering from severe PTSD, is hardly equipped to take care of her, let alone keep a job. Nevertheless, he insists that Haley have a "normal" life, ending their years on the road while Haley learns to navigate the zombied existence of a high s ...more
Tamora Pierce
May 31, 2014 Tamora Pierce rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-yr, contemporary
A tense story about a father and daughter who are both trying to deal with post traumatic stress disorder, the father from his military service, and the daughter from living with a man who struggles with demons, liquor, unstable partners, and his own inability to hold down a job and home with his child. Reading this book, I felt like I was living on the edge of a cliff, and I was terrified that no one would be able to work out a way to live--you will feel the same way.
Gillian

Originally posted at Writer of Wrongs

I read Speak somewhere around the age of twelve or thirteen. You could argue I was too young for it (you'd be wrong), but it left the kind of impression on me that never goes away. It was full of pain, full of confusion, and full of smarts. It spoke to me in a way that few books ever did, and since the day I finished it, I've considered Anderson to be one of the finest writers of voice and feels around.

It's been a decade or so since I first read Speak. To s
...more
Cait (Paper Fury)

All I'm going to say is this: This book is amazing. Feels wrenching. Sniffle inducing. Everyone should read it and cry.

Okay, goodbye.

I'm just kidding. Do you really think I wouldn't give you reasons? Ha! I love reasons. And I'm allowed to be totally logical in this review (despite the fact that it's an emotional roller-coaster) because the dog's name was Spock.

Characters? I confess to not liking the narrator, Hayley, at the beginning. Not only does she have a name more common than Sue (poor
...more
Lauren Koerner
Nov 08, 2015 Lauren Koerner rated it really liked it
I'd give this book 3.5 stars. Though it was great, sometimes the characters just pissed me off. I pretty much always love Laurie Halse Anderson's writing, though.
Jenna Buss
Feb 27, 2017 Jenna Buss rated it it was amazing
The thing is, I don't really cry at all when it comes to books. But it took all my willpower to not burst into tears in the library a few minutes ago when I finished it. This book was heart-wrenching, EXTREMELY captivating, and overall one of the best books I have read all year. Hayley is such a fighter, and this book really brings to light how hard it is living with a family member with PTSD. My heart goes out to all the kids who have to take care of family members living with this, and I recom ...more
Sara (A Gingerly Review)
This book shattered me.

Full review can be found here: https://agingerlyreview.wordpress.com...

This book came heavily recommended. I loved the cover yet was hesitant to start. Why? This was one hella serious and heavy story. This is not a story to start thinking it will be a light and quick read.

Short recap: Hayley has not had an easy life. For years she has had to live on the road with her father, Andy. All she knows is that she has to take care of him no matter what as he is struggling with PTS
...more
Ken
Jan 18, 2014 Ken rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, finished-in-2014
Rated YA-5.

If you've never read a Laurie Halse Anderson book before (if that's possible), this is as good as any at showing you what LHA does best when she writes YA books. She tackles social ills (in this case, post-traumatic stress disorder), places it in a familiar setting (in this case, high school), and still plays narrative aces (in this case, a great read).

Hayley Rose plays a stranger in a strange land at school and a pilgrim in an all-too-familiar land at home. Her dad, a decorated vete
...more
Gerri Leen
Feb 18, 2014 Gerri Leen rated it it was ok
Shelves: favorite-author
I'm struggling a bit with how to rate this. Laurie Halse Anderson is without a doubt a fine, fine writer and she is a fav of mine. Her craftsmanship is excellent. (Although there were a hell of a lot of stray words in this that a decent copy editor should have caught.) But she has gotten darker and darker and while the character in her last book, The Winter Girls was a totally dysfunctional protagonist, I could feel for her, I wanted to go on the journey with her, horrible as the ride was. In th ...more
Shelley
*Genre* Young-Adult Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
*Rating* 4.0

*My Thoughts*

Laurie Halse Anderson is a writer who I can always count on to make me think, make me hurt, make me feel things I don't want to, and make smile like a goof ball with her patented sarcasm and humorous characters. The Impossible Knife of Memory hits a bit close to home for me as I am also a veteran who experiences very strange side effects from PTSD. Yes, folks, women do suffer from PTSD just like men! This is a story that
...more
Paula Weston
Dec 17, 2013 Paula Weston rated it it was amazing
I inhaled this book. It's gritty, relevant, heartbreaking and life-affirming.

This is a story of broken people and broken families - and yet is full of love, compassion and hope, but without a whiff of sentimentality.

I appreciated that while Hayley is a strong, smart girl, she's still very much a teenager and she reacts and behaves in ways that feel true to her experiences and age.

The fractured relationship with her father is wrenching and, at times, frightening. It's another glimpse of the legac
...more
K.
I understand now why Laurie Halse Anderson is one of those writers readers never fail to keep track off. I read Speak several years ago and remember feeling how it stood stark naked amongst other books I had read before it. Anderson’s writing is poetic yet so daringly outspoken that you can’t help but stop and listen.

Anderson is famous (or infamous) for tackling varying degrees of heavy subjects. This may be her most ambitiously profound yet. It’s about Hayley Kincain. Daughter of Andy Kincain.
...more
Tara King
Dec 03, 2013 Tara King rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Tara by: English teacher
Having read Speak, I hold author Laurie Halse Anderson to the highest of expectations.

She definitely didn’t disappoint.

My wonderful English teacher managed to get ahold of an unedited, unreleased version her newest book, The Impossible Knife of Memory, several months ahead of widespread availability (it will be released for sale sometime in January 2014). The Goodreads’ summary of this book doesn’t do it justice, in my humble opinion. To give a quick (and hopefully unlikely to get me sued) summa
...more
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UPDATE!

The final book in my thrilling historical trilogy about the American Revolution, ASHES, will be published October 4, 2016!


I recently answered all kinds of great questions over at Reddit. Check it out for loads about my writing process and my books:https://www.reddit.com/r/books/commen...

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“I needed to hear the world but didn't want the world to know I was listening.” 99 likes
“I'd treat myself to a reading marathon all weekend. All the ice cream I could eat, all the pages I could read. Heaven.” 74 likes
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