For the past five years, Hayley Kincain 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.
Rating: 2/5 (Max 2.5)
I went into the book, fully prepared to be enraptured and completely heartbroken. Unfortunately… I was not. (It was actually surprisingly put-down-able) This will not be the first (or the last) time that I’ve been really let down by a book that I’ve been DYING to read. In fact, I was reading a book halfway when I decided to hop over to this book because the other book was a bit too boring for the stunning reviews that it got.
Oh wells. At least this book is over.
Let’s just break the characters down a little. We’ll start with Hayley.
She’s not one of my most hated book MCs, but I still disliked her a lot. I wanted to sympathise with her so badly. A father with PTSD that she has to constantly take care of, a mother who died when she was a child, a ‘stepmom’ who left her when things were bad – no one should ever have to grow up in these conditions. So I would understand if she had some bitterness in her. However, she took the “I hate everything and everyone” attitude a tad too far. She was mean and cruel to people who were nice to her (especially Finn), and that is just unacceptable. Again, I would understand a certain degree of wariness towards others, but she pushed that too far too. She was basically the stereotype of the emo-goth-life-sucks-people-suck person, and I really, really, REALLY did not appreciate that at all. Just look at her attitude!
Dear gods above, Michael has hooked my father up with a skank piece of trash.
HOW DO YOU KNOW SHE’S A ‘SKANK PIECE OF TRASH’ IF YOU DIDN’T KNOW WHO SHE WAS.
No wonder the zombies were crazy. They thought they were supposed to practice breeding before they learned how to do their own laundry.
First thing, she calls everyone a zombie or a freak. Except for herself. Because she’s so much better than them. Second, she says that high schoolers practice ‘breeding’.
Are we wild animals? ‘Breeding’? Like, are you kidding me. So apparently, we’re all wild animals just randomly fucking each other and making babies. Okay. Gods I hate her.
Now, let’s move on to Finn. He’s the sweetest. I LOVE HIM. He made the book much more enjoyable. Unfortunately, I have nothing else to say about him, because he was kind of one-dimensional. He was nice, yeah, but like, not much else? I wanted to know how living in such a family, where you always always come in second, will impact someone’s personality, and I didn’t get that. Instead, I got a fluff ball which had the occasional thorn. And that’s pretty much it.
Finally, I’ll talk about Hayley’s dad. His depiction feels very clean. Like yeah, we see the big things, where he loses control and gets violent and stuff like that, but it tends to be the accumulation of the little things that break you. Without being able to see the little things, I really just cannot quite believe in the pain that her father supposedly feels. I might sound like a heartless bitch right now, but I was just recently diagnosed with PTSD. So I know exactly how it feels to break apart. This just, didn’t feel real to me.
Overall, the characters were meh (the 2 people I thought was slightly more real were Gracie and Trish), the romance was meh (I didn’t even talk about it cause it was a bit weird), the writing was okay, and I wish that there was a lot more emotional depth and exploration. There were some good moments, but the bad outshone the good. Wouldn’t recommend it.
“… And then she felt awful, because she really, really loves him, you know? She felt bad because she hurt him,” she sniffed, “and then she felt worse because it doesn’t matter how much she loves him, he’s not going to change.”