Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Release Date: January 2, 2014
Source: Text Publishing. Thank you!
Goodreads rating: 4.26 out of 5.00 (140+ ratings)
Goodreads | The Reading Room
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 town where he grew up so Hayley can go to a proper 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?
Review by Nara
A quick lesson.There are two kinds of people in this world:Despite hearing the entire blogosphere sing praises of Laurie Halse Anderson countless times, The Impossible Knife of Memory is the first Halse Anderson book I've read. I'm not sure what I was expecting from this book, but what I got was pure awesomeness. Powerful writing, memorable characters and a sweet romance- this book has ensured that I'll certainly be looking out for more titles by this author.
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.
I don't think I've ever read any books dealing with PTSD before, and I have to say, while I know the theory of what PTSD is, I don't really know what it really is like, so I can't really comment about how accurately it was portrayed in the book. But I do think that Halse Anderson handled the issue very well. Throughout, there are italicised chapters which I assume are flashbacks that Andy is experiencing. While I have to admit that at times these excerpts were a bit out of place, I almost feel like that's what the author intended. It was rather jarring to be reading from Hayley's point of view, only to be jerked into the brutality of the flashbacks.
Sand fills my mouth, stuffs my head with the stench of the lion. Pours into my ears the screams of every corpse. The winds of the desert have names. They feed on the bodies of broken children and rip out the beating hearts of men.In terms of the romance, the thing I like most about Finn is that he's clearly not perfect. Don't get me wrong, he's definitely swoony. For example, he plans one of the cutest first dates I have ever read about (cute, but totally dorky. And slightly stalkerish now that I think about it. Don't even care lol). And one of the most interesting things about Finn? He uses ridiculously nerdy math pick up lines. Oh man, that whole scene he was maths punning, I was sitting there going THIS IS THE BEST. Seriously, that one fact should be enough to hook you.
"I think we should take each other to the limit to see if we converge," Finn said.Anyway, back to the original point- despite being a YA love interest, Finn is most definitely not the confident, perfect love interest found in a lot of YA novels. Well, actually I suppose that's wrong. He is confident, but it's in a dorky way. (I can't even explain it properly- just read the book haha.) The romance is awkward and dotted with arguments and misunderstandings and hardship, but it's also new and heartbreaking and beautiful.
"I don't hate you," I said. "Do you hate me?"I guess this is a pretty minor thing if you look at the overall picture, but the ending line. I didn't like it. Has anyone read the book? Because I just found it really awkward and disjointed and...I don't know. It just wasn't good.
He sighed and smiled. "I could never hate you, even if I wanted to."
As I said, though, overall this book is one incredible tale of a girl's struggle with her war veteran father and her discovery of love.