The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

April 30, 2015 Audio Books, Coming of Age, Young Adult Fiction 23

Good Day Bookworms,

It’s always a good day when you’ve got an audio book to hand, I think. I don’t typically read/listen to a whole lot of YA literature, but several years ago I read Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and it was intense and amazing and fabulous. When I saw that another of her books was on sale via Audible, I snatched it up. Good books, good deals: my vices are few but powerful. And thus, I embarked on my listening journey with The Impossible Knife of Memory.

impossibleknifeOoooh you guys. Laurie Halse Anderson doesn’t shy away from the tough stuff, no siree. The Impossible Knife of Memory tells Hayley Kincain’s story. She’s a teenage girl living alone with her father, an Iraq war veteran suffering from PTSD. They’ve been on the road the last few years, trucking and home schooling, when Andy (AKA Dad) decides they ought to settle down in his hometown so that Hayley can have a more “normal” life.

Hayley’s transition into “normal” isn’t without some bumps in the road, though she does meet a hottie named Finn who has his own bag o’ secrets. Because, you know. It’s not enough to be a teenager and deal with hormones and school and boys. Dealing with the fallout from major psychological trauma on top of all that? It’s enough to make me want to jump through the pages and give the girl a hug!

Thank heaven for Laurie Halse Anderson. I mean, YA literature needs voices that tackle life’s difficult issues. It’s not that I don’t love me some YA dystopian novels, but someone’s got to talk about REAL things. Katniss rocks, but realistically? Nobody’s putting kids in an arena and making them fight to the death. However, there are a lot of REAL veterans out there that are REALLY struggling and a lot of them have REAL families. A book like this can do actual good. Teens going through similar challenges will read it and feel less alone. Teens who aren’t will gain some empathy. Plus, teens reading books? Yep. That right there is a win-win-win situation.

Talk to me Bookworms. Are any of you big into the YA scene? Are there more authors who take on these types of topics, or shall I simply crown Laurie Halse Anderson the queen of awesome? 

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23 Responses to “The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson”

  1. Sarah's Book Shelves

    I’ve had this book on my TBR forever and had no idea it was YA! I read and loved Thank You For Your Service a few years ago…it’s nonfiction about PTSD and TBI in vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and the impact on their families, which got me interested in this topic.

    Thank you for reminding me of this book!

  2. Jayne

    I’ve seen you mention audible a couple times and since I’m dabbling in the audiobook world I’m curious about it. I looked it up and it seems basically you get one book a month for $15, is that right? Do you keep the book files, or is like a rental from the library? What if you want more than one book a month?

    • Words For Worms

      Audible charges 14.95 a month and you get to keep the book forever. HOWEVER. I recommend you check out Scribd. For 8.99 a month, you have access to oodles of audio books. You don’t get to keep the files, but if you think you’re going to be listening a lot, I think it’s the better deal. First month is free, try it out!

  3. Michelle

    Ms. Anderson is excellent. I also like Courtney Summers and Deb Caletti’s YA for important, emotionally tough, well-written realistic YA. You can’t go wrong with either of these ladies!

  4. Naomi

    I don’t read a lot of YA, but I do love Laurie Halse Anderson. Haven’t read this one yet, so I’m happy to hear it’s good!

  5. Megan M.

    I love YA. Bookshelves of Doom is where I get all of my YA recommendations these days. One author that I’ve read a lot of is Sarah Dessen. She writes great contemporary YA.

  6. AMB

    This sounds great! I enjoy realistic books more than fantasy books, though I do shy away from the very heavy stuff. I also like YA (I’ll never be “too old” for a good book!).

    • Words For Worms

      I find that the tougher YA reads tend to have a little more hope to them than their adult counterparts, which for me is a huge help when tackling difficult subjects.

  7. ThatAshGirl

    Oh man, I read Speak in University for a History of Childhood course I took that did a huge section on the evolution of “children’s literature”. Talk about gut wrenching.

  8. Justjen

    I read more YA than I do “grown-up” fiction’! Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier is an excellent read and an eye opener into the fusing of Indian culture with American teens, but there’s not a lot of deep pathos there. . . the Perks of Being a Wallflower is Anderson-worthy (coincidentally, on my shelf next to Speak), while The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian handles it with humor.

    • Words For Worms

      Perks is one of my all-time favorites assisted, no doubt, by the fact that I actually read it when I was a teenager. It’s my quintessential coming-of-age book. Sherman Alexie is brilliant, too. I’ll have to check out Born Confused that sounds fascinating!

  9. Heather @ Capricious Reader

    Laurie Halse Anderson is tah woman!! There is also Celia Rees, Libba Bray, Rainbow Rowell, Lauren Oliver, HOLLY BLACK (get Doll Bones. Seriously.), Maggie Steifvater (get the Raven Cycle), and geez, so many more. There’s a great start though.

    • Words For Worms

      I liked my first Holly Black and I will read every word Rainbow Rowell ever writes. Maggie Steifvater and Libba Bray are on my Scribd TBR, I’m really looking forward to them!

  10. Jennine G.

    She’s a big time author for sure. We had her at our local college a few years ago for the English Festival – a reading event where kids from grades 7-12 read seven books over the winter months and then compete and have fun at reading and writing events. My daughter went in junior high, the one year I didn’t go, and couldn’t find anywhere to sit and eat…the place is crowded with hundreds of high schoolers plus the college kids. A lady motions her over to sit with her group and as they eat my daughter finds out it’s Laurie Halse Anderson! She got to have lunch with her! I was so jealous.

    • Words For Worms

      Oh my gosh, that is just wonderful! It’s one thing to enjoy an author’s writing. It’s another to know they’re kind to junior high school kids. I love her more now! (And I’m jealous of your daughter, LOL)

  11. Jenny @ Reading the End

    I’m so glad that Laurie Halse Anderson exists, and at the same time, I have a very, very hard time reading her books. The last one of hers I read was Wintergirls, and it was such an emotionally difficult and visceral reading experience, I’ve pretty much given her up. BUT I am super glad she exists, and hooray to people who read her novels, because she’s a wonderful writer.

  12. Heather @ Book Addiction

    Laurie Halse Anderson is incredible. I have loved many of her books, they all deal with tough stuff, and are so well done. I love seeing readers discover her and other hard-hitting YA authors!

  13. Andi

    Laurie Halse Anderson made me love her with SPEAK, and I haven’t read any more of her stuff since then. What is WRONG with me???!

Talk to me, Bookworms!

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