Parents' Guide to

The Impossible Knife of Memory

By Kate Pavao, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Stunning story about girl living with wounded vet father.

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What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 2 parent 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.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (5 ):

Readers will find themselves quickly immersed in THE IMPOSSIBLE KNIFE OF MEMORY, a thick, rich, compelling book. They'll easily empathize with Hayley, who feels responsible for taking care of her broken father, even though she does worrisome or frustrating things, such as blowing off her schoolwork or pushing away a boy who really cares for her. Teens will learn something about the horrors of war through Hayley's father's graphic flashbacks and their aftermath in the pair's chaotic life since he's been back home.

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

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