All I’m going to say is this: This book is amazing. Feels wrenching. Sniffle inducing. Everyone should read it and cry.
Characters? I confess to not liking the narrator, Hayley, at the beginning. She’s a real snark. Not the endearing kind. The kind that pushes people away, has a smart comeback for everything, and believes she doesn’t need help from anyone. NO. Bad Hayley, bad. Of course you need help from Finn and his falling apart car. After the onslaught of cheesy math jokes…you need each other.
But Hayley grew on me. She has a reason to be like a prickly bush. At the end, I really admired her.
Finn? Oh, I’m glad you brought him up. He’s a very sensible. I approve of characters who treat others with respect AND have a fabulous sense of humour. Finn was “adorkable” and sweet and had ambitions. I shipped these two very hard.
It’s not all about romance. Let’s not forget Hayley’s dad who suffers from PTSD and has been known to wield an axe at her not-boyfriend-Finn. I really appreciated the way the author handled the topic! It was well written and very interesting. I felt the emotional turmoil, the struggle, the believe that “tomorrow will be better” even when it won’t be. It was written with a lot of feeling.
Which brings us to the writing. In a word? Beautiful. I love the style and voice! Hayley, crabby stingray though she is, really worked under my skin with her detailed and prone-to-panic even though she’s super-tough-girl voice.
Buuut, every once in a while, we had these mini-chapter-flashbacks. At least, I assumed they were flashbacks. I had no idea who was narrating them. They were kind of confusing and always threw me out of the story. The story isn’t face but I am a HUGE fan of the super short chapters!
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.