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The Impossible Knife of Memory
Contributor(s): Anderson, Laurie Halse (Author)

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ISBN: 0147510724     ISBN-13: 9780147510723
Publisher: Penguin Books
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Binding Type: Paperback - See All Available Formats & Editions
Published: June 2015

Annotation: Hayley Kincaid and her father move back to their hometown to try a "normal" life, but the horrors he saw in the Iraq War threaten to destroy their lives.
Additional Information
BISAC Categories:
- Young Adult Fiction | Social Themes - Depression
- Young Adult Fiction | Historical - Military & Wars
- Young Adult Fiction | Romance - Contemporary
Dewey: FIC
Lexile Measure: 720
Physical Information: 1.1" H x 5.4" W x 8.1" (0.80 lbs) 432 pages
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Contributor Bio(s): Laurie Halse Anderson has received both the Margaret Edwards Award and the ALAN Award for her contributions to young adult literature. She has also been honored by the National Coalition Against Censorship in recognition of her fight to combat the censoring of literature. She is the author of the groundbreaking National Book Award finalist and Printz Honor Book Speak. She is also author of the critically acclaimed YA books Prom, Twitsted, Catalyst, Wintergirls, and The Impossible Knife of Memory. She has also authored a number of middle grade titles including The Vet Volunteers series, and the historical fiction Seeds of America Trilogy, which includes Forge, ALA Best Book for Young Adults Fever 1793, and the National Book Award finalist and Scott O’Dell Award-winner Chains. She and her husband live in northern New York State. Follow Laurie on Twitter @halseanderson and visit her at madwomanintheforest.com.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2014 Fall)
Hayley Kincain has spent the last five years riding shotgun in her father's rig. Constant movement has helped keep the past at bay for both Hayley and her veteran dad. When they settle down so Hayley can attend high school for senior year, their memories threaten to overtake them both. As ever, Anderson has the inside track on the emotional lives of adolescents.

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2014 #2)
Hayley Kincain has spent the last five years riding shotgun in her father's rig, discussing fractions and evolution -- an on-the-road version of home schooling. Constant movement has helped keep the past at bay for both Hayley and her dad, a recent veteran plagued by graphic flashbacks and screaming nightmares. When they settle down so Hayley can attend her hometown high school for senior year, the dangerous memories threaten to overtake them both. Hayley's caustic observations about the "fully assimilated zombies" who swarm the halls and the oxymoronic "required volunteer community service" are trademark Anderson. Old friend Gracie shares childhood memories with Hayley, but her stories draw blanks. What Hayley does remember, and can't forgive, is her father's girlfriend Trish walking out on them. Now Trish has reappeared, and Hayley blames her for making Dad's drunken rages and blackouts even worse. How can she possibly care about math? Sweet, "adorkable" Finn offers to tutor her; he is smart enough to take it slow, and as she falls for him he even coaxes her to dare to think about a future. As ever, Anderson has the inside track on the emotional lives of adolescents; she plays high school clichés for laughs but compassionately depicts Hayley's suffering as well as the hurts of Finn and Gracie, whose families are struggling with their own demons. The novel's theme is woven artfully throughout as both Hayley and her dad fight the flashes of memory that are sure to tear them apart unless they confront them once and for all. lauren adam Copyright 2014 Horn Book Magazine.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2013 October #3)

As in Speak, Anderson provides a riveting study of a psychologically scarred teenager, peeling back layers of internal defenses to reveal a girl's deepest wounds. Her heroine, 17-year-old Hayley, is no stranger to loss. Her mother died when she was small, and she was later abandoned by her father's alcoholic girlfriend. Now the only family Hayley has left is her father, a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, whose horrific flashbacks have brought chaos into their lives. After traveling the country in a "dented eighteen-wheeler," the two of them have settled down in her father's hometown. Hayley feels like an outsider at a high school populated by "zombies," and, at home, it's becoming increasingly difficult to pretend that her father is getting better. Then Hayley is drawn to Finn, a boy who seemingly likes her for who she is. Hayley's anxiety about her father's unpredictable behavior reverberates throughout the novel, overshadowing and distorting her memories of better times. It's a tough, absorbing story of the effects of combat on soldiers and the people who love them. Ages 12–up. Agent: Amy Berkower, Writers House. (Jan.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SLJ Reviews 2014 January)

Gr 9 Up—Hayley is the daughter of a veteran, and his PTSD colors every aspect of their lives. After serving his country, Andy is trying to rebuild some stability for himself and his daughter, but each day is a challenge for them both. Hayley lives with the constant threat of her father harming himself or others while also dealing with feelings of abandonment after essentially losing her parental figures. She copes through snark and skepticism but begins to let her guard down when her charming, easygoing classmate, Finn, gives her a much-needed taste of normal teenage life. A relationship with Finn opens the door to the possibility of trusting again, but it's not easy. Through Hayley's tenuous search for balance, Anderson explores the complicated nature of perception and memory, and how individuals manage to carry on after experiencing the worst. Readers will be thoroughly invested in this book's nuanced cast of characters and their struggles. Hayley's relatable first-person narration is interspersed with flashbacks of Andy's brutal war experiences, providing a visceral look at his inner demons. The endearing Finn and Hayley's bubbly best friend, Gracie, add levity to the narrative, even as they, too, grapple with their own problems. With powerful themes of loyalty and forgiveness, this tightly woven story is a forthright examination of the realities of war and its aftermath on soldiers and their families. One of Anderson's strongest and most relevant works to date.—Allison Tran, Mission Viejo Library, CA

[Page 92]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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