Friday, November 7, 2014

THE IMPOSSIBLE KNIFE OF MEMORY by Laurie Halse Anderson.  New York: Viking, published by Penguin Group, 2014.  391p. ISBN: 9780670012091 hc.$18.99.  Y.A.FIC

Hayley's used to life on the road so when her veteran father decides they're going to put down roots in his old hometown, she is less than excited. Going to school every day and being expected to take the SATs turn out to be the least of her worries as her father's PTSD rules both their lives. Friends, and the possibility of a boyfriend, allow Hayley to cultivate connections outside of her small family unit until the return of a familiar face brings back memories long buried. Ultimately, Hayley realizes she must confront her father as they both struggle to understand what they need from each other.

What I loved the most about "The Impossible Knife of Memory" is the relationship between Hayley and her father. It is in no way entirely positive, or even healthy, but there is a strong connection between them that is real and palpable. Hayley herself is snarky, sure of herself, and bristly, though her people skills improve as time passes. I enjoyed her relationship with Finn; their mix of reality and fantasy in conversation is adorable. Mostly, I'm a sucker for a dramatic, emotional ending and this book delivers in spades.
Jesse Shirtz, Library Director, Ishpeming Carnegie Public Library

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