Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Review || The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson ★★★★☆
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?

There was a teeny tiny part of me that was slightly... disappointed isn't the right word exactly, but let's go with it... "disappointed" that this book didn't have a single word title like the other Laurie Halse Anderson books. And then I promptly got over that because how freaking gorgeous is this title? It's so evocative.

Just like the book itself. Anderson knows what she's doing and she continues to prove that. She writes some of the best hard hitting YA... ever. Period.

Now, I only have Speak and Wintergirls under my belt as Anderson reads before this, but I still had high expectations. Anderson has a reputation. And she does not disappoint. (Not even with the title.)

Since I started blogging, I've taken to making plus/minus lists for a book after I've read them so I can cobble together a review. I started one for this book... drew the table, wrote + and then - and then AH

And that's really as far as I've gotten. This book was just so good. So raw and so real. The characters in this book all have their own sets of problems and their own ways of dealing. Their lives are messy and complex and they feel like people you know, not just characters on a page.

Hayley is witty and fun, but carries her own demons. She struggles to take care of her father and watches helplessly when he falls apart. She was a great narrator, the combination of her quick wit and desperate struggles kept me turning the pages. "One more chapter. Okay, just one more chapter." It was hard to put the book down because it all unspooled before me so easily and readily. One thing after another after another. It felt more like watching a movie than reading a book.

I have to tack on a tiny bit of fangirling over Finn. I adored him as a character and as a love interest. Other book bloggers talk about having book boyfriends... and I almost feel like I know what they're talking about now, having met Finn. (And okay, Levi from Fangirl too. But it's a small list.)

I think I've run out of praise for this book that doesn't just devolve into, "AH SO GOOD READ IT" so I'll stop there. But if you're familiar with Anderson's work (and especially if you're not!) pick this up. It will meet all your high expectations.