The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson (Review)

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Synopsis: 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.

Cover: The cover of this book is so beautiful. I love the whole chasm in the ice that represented Hayler’s world splitting open thanks to her father’s PTSD. This cover definitely has the power to draw in potential readers as it did to me. 

My Thoughts: The Impossible Knife of Memory is a story about a girl whose father suffers from PTSD and is constantly moving around the country to escape his memories of the war he was in. The story starts off in Hayley’s hometown that they recently moved back into in hopes of having a “normal” life again. Hayley reunites with her best friend from her childhood who has problems of her own yet still manages to help Hayley deal with her father’s issues. In her new high school, Hayley also meets Finn, an athletic and friendly guy who becomes interested in her and her past. As she becomes close to Finn, who wants to help her and her mountain of issues, her father struggles with drugs and his nightmares of his past.

Hayley was such a strong and interesting character throughout this entire novel. She always thought of her father first and tried her absolute hardest to get him help for his issues he has to deal with. Seeing her father go through so much pain in his mind was heartbreaking to read, knowing that his problems were also bring down Hayley as well. This book was very powerful in showing the effects of PTSD and how desperate people really are to make their haunting memories go away. Along with dealing with her father’s issues, I enjoyed Hayley’s relationship with Finn who never failed to take care of her even though she tried her hardest to go away.

This book is mostly centered around family and the effects each person has on the household which I truly enjoyed reading about. I enjoyed Andy, Hayley’s father, who always thought of his daughter first in every situation even if he made mistakes along the way. I also loved the ending that showed the bond between Hayley and Andy and that no matter what they went through, they had each other at the end of the day. This was a very eye opening book rather than the usual adorable books people like to pick up. I recommend this book to anyone who is ready to take on the force of such an impactful book.

Rating:  ★★★★★

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