The Impossible Knife of Memory

Book review by Kate Pavao, Common Sense Media
The Impossible Knife of Memory Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 14+

Stunning story about girl living with wounded vet father.

Parents say

age 15+

Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 13+

Based on 5 reviews

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

A Lot or a Little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Community Reviews

age 14+


I ran across this book on accident and was in a hurry to find something to read, so I just picked it up and started reading. In the beginning I was a little skeptical but just a few pages in and I couldn't put it down. This book is amazing! There's not one emotion you don't feel when you're reading this. This book should become a movie because I feel everyone should get to experience this story.

This title has:

Great messages
age 15+
After years spent on the road outrunning bad memories, blue-haired teen Hayley Kincaid and her troubled, army veteran father return to their hometown in New York. Having been home-schooled for the last five years, Hayley cautiously re-enters the world of traditional learning, a repulsive realm populated by high school "zombies" (the in-crowd) and a few rebellious "freaks" like herself. Although she impresses few at first with her snarky attitude, she slowly becomes accustomed to her new life, and even gathers a handful of friends (other "freaks" like herself). In the back of her mind, though, is a fear that no teen should have to worry about: the constant, sickening fear for her father's declining mental health. While the prose lacks the gritty, lyrical beauty found in Anderson's previous novel, Wintergirls, this newest offering succeeds in painting a touching, realistic, and perilous portrait of a new era of social issues. Recommended for Ages 15-Up.

Book Details

  • Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
  • Genre: Coming of Age
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Penguin Group
  • Publication date: January 7, 2014
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 17
  • Number of pages: 400
  • Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
  • Last updated: July 12, 2017

Our Editors Recommend

For kids who love Coming-of-age stories

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate