The Impossible Knife of Memory

Laurie Halse Anderson
Star Rating
Reviewer's Rating
Jan 31, 2014

When Haley calls home and no one answers the phone by the 2nd ring, she is figures her dad is sleeping. When no one picks up by the 10th ring, she hopes he is mowing the lawn. When no one picks up by the 20th, she knows something is wrong. Something is horribly wrong. She begs a ride from Finn, the editor of the school newspaper who has been nagging her to write for him. But the car is too small, Finn drives to slow, and something is wrong at home. Haley can't breathe, she can't think, she needs out! When a police car pulls up beside them at a stop-light, Haley is down to her last thread of sanity. She jumps out of the car, to Finn's surprise and runs home. There is her dad, drunk, lying on the floor, but breathing...for now. 

Andy, her father, an Iraq war veteran, came home from the war, but his head is still full of sand and blood and bombs. Unable to escape the PTSD that haunts him, Andy self medicates with drugs, alcohol and violence. Haley tries to take care of both of them while her best friend's family splits apart, her alcoholic step-mother returns, and Finn asks her out on an anti-date. Can Haley's life handle love right now? Perhaps it is exactly what she needs?

Fans of John Green and Sarah Dessen will enjoy the romance between Haley and Finn. Fans of Anderson will not be disappointed by the deep issues so delicately brought to light (as is her trademark). A powerful and quick read, this book will leave a mark on you.

Reviewed by Kate M.
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