The Impossible Knife of Memory

The Impossible Knife of Memory

Additional Formats
  • Ebook
  • ISBN 9781101621561
  • 400 Pages
  • Viking Books for Young Readers
  • 12 and up


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.



- New York Times bestseller
- 2014 National Book Award longlist
- A Publishers Weekly Best Young Adult Book of 2014
- A School Library Journal Best Young Adult Book of 2014

“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

* “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

* “It is Anderson at her absolute best, providing significant and touching realistic fiction.” —VOYA, starred review

* “A serious subject is balanced by humorous cultural commentary, making this an intelligent, thought-provoking, and entertaining read.” —LMC, starred review

TWISTED: A New York Times Bestseller, An ALA BBYA title (2008), An ALA Quick Pick title (2008), A NYPL Book for the Teen Age (2008), A CCBC Choices title (2008), An IRA Top Ten (2008); PROM: A New York Times Bestseller, A VOYA Top Shelf Fiction for Middle School Readers title (2005), An IRA Young Adults’ Choice (2005), A Junior Library Guild Selection, Booksense Top Ten Pick (2005), Tayshas Reading List (2006-07), ELLEgirl Dare to Read book club pick Nominee, SC Assoc of School Librarians YA Book Award (2007-08); CATALYST: An ALA Top Ten BBYA title, A NYPL Book for the Teen Age (2002), A Borders Original Voices finalist for YA lit. (2002); SPEAK: A 2000 Printz Honor Book, A 1999 National Book Award Finalist, A New York Times Bestseller, An Edgar Allan Poe Award Finalist for YA, A 1999 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist, Winner of the Golden Kite Award, An ALA Top Ten BBYA, An ALA Quick Pick, A PW Best Book of the Year, A Booklist Top Ten First Novel, 1999, A BCCB Blue Ribbon Book, A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, A Horn Book Fanfare Title, A Publishers Weekly Best Seller, A Junior Library Guild Selection, A NYPL Book for the Teen Age, An IRA Young Adult Choice; WINTERGIRLS: 2010 YALSA Teens’ Top Ten list; 2009 Booklist Editor’s Choice; Pennsylvania School Library Association’s Young Adult Top Forty (Pennsylvania) – top ten; Kirkus best books of 2009 list; Chicago Tribune’s list of Top Ten Most Influential Books of the Decade; Chicago Public Library’s Best Books of 2009 List; 2010 Quick Picks; 2010 BBYA; 2010 Amelia Bloomer Project; 2010 Capitol Choices Noteworthy Books for Children; 2010 Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choices; ABA Indie Choice Award finalist; New York Public Library’s 2010 Stuff for the Teen Age list; Included in the 2010 Kansas State Reading Circle Catalog; THE IMPOSSIBLE KNIFE OF MEMORY: A New York Times Bestseller, 2014 National Book Award Finalist
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Craig Johnson
Keith McCafferty
Michael McGarrity


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Elizabeth Gilbert
Elizabeth Gilbert
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