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The Impossible Knife of Memory (Hardcover)

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    Staff Reviews

    I absolutely loved this newest work by the endlessly talented Laurie Halse Anderson (mother of our own Manager Emeritus Stephanie and tireless champion of indie booksellers and librarians everywhere). Teenager Hayley has had a tough few years bouncing from place to place as her veteran dad tries to escape from his hellish memories of his time in Iraq. The book is hard to put down from page one as we follow Hayley through her struggles in a new school trying to live a somewhat normal life despite her (and her dad's) psychological scars. There's some romance, some humor, and tons of heart, and I think it's a perfect crossover for YA readers and adults alike. (Christine)

    — From Christine


    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.

    About the Author

    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

    Praise For…


    "As in Speak, Anderson provides a riveting study of a psychologically scarred teenager . . . absorbing" —Publishers Weekly, starred review
      "Compelling, powerful, and timely . . . This is challenging material, but in Anderson's skilled hands, readers will find a light shining on the shadowy reality of living with someone who has lived through war" —Booklist, starred review

    "The book offers an eloquent portrait of the effects of both war and family legacies, and many readers will find reflections of their own struggle to keep family connections while obtaining their independence.” —BCCB, starred review

    "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.” —School Library Journal, starred review

    "Anderson's novels . . . speak for the still-silent among us, and force all of us to acknowledge the real and painful truths that are too dangerous to ignore." —New York Times

    “The Impossible Knife of Memory isn’t always an easy read-Anderson’s gritty, authentic look at PTSD is by turns painful and heartbreaking-but it’s an important one." —Entertainment Weekly

    “Andy comes home from the war in Iraq honored for his service, and haunted by it.  The war still goes on inside of him and threatens to make Hayley another causality. Laurie Halse Anderson is one of the best known writers of literature for young adults and children in the world. ” —Scott Simon, NPR Weekend Edition

    “Laurie Halse Anderson has been lauded and awarded for her ability to channel the teenage mind (and heart) dealing with tough issues. In The Impossible Knife of Memory, she takes on PTSD through the story of a girl coping with her troubled veteran dad.” —Family Circle

    "At turns heartbreaking, at turns funny, the narrative in this book is so spot on I wanted to give Hayley my phone number so she would have a friend in times of crisis.  Seriouslydoes ANYONE write troubled teen characters with the realism, grace, and soul of Laurie Halse Anderson?" Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of The Storyteller and Between the Lines
    “Laurie Halse Anderson serves the families of veterans with the same honor, dignity, and respect that the veterans, who serve us, deserve. With her trademark hope, humor, and heart-breaking realism, Laurie Halse Anderson has given us a roadmap to heal. She is a treasure.”Stephen Chobsky, New York Times bestselling author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower


    "A startlingly crisp and pitch-perfect first-person narrative." —School Library Journal, starred review
    "As difficult as reading this novel can be, it is even more difficult to put down." —Publishers Weekly, starred review
    "Anderson perfectly captures the isolate and motivations of the anorexic." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
    "Anderson illuminates a dark but utterly realistic world . . . this is necessary reading." —Booklist, starred review
    "Readers will be absorbed by this gripping tale" —BCCB, starred review


    ". . .a stunning first novel" —Publishers Weekly

    ". . .compelling" —School Library Journal

    "The plot is gripping and the characters are powerfully drawn . . . a novel that will be hard for readers to forget." —Kirkus Reviews

    Product Details
    ISBN: 9780670012091
    ISBN-10: 0670012092
    Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
    Publication Date: January 7th, 2014
    Pages: 391
    Language: English