The Impossible Knife of Memory

Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Impossible Knife of Memory
"Hayley Kincaid and her father move back to their hometown to try a "normal" life, but the horrors he saw in the war threaten to destroy their lives"-- Provided by publisher.

Publisher: New York :, Viking, published by Penguin Group,, [2014]
ISBN: 9780670012091
Characteristics: 391 pages ; 22 cm


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Jan 03, 2015
  • 0Charlie rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This is one of those books where you go - "And I thought my life was bad!". Kind of like a train wreck that you can't look away from, I kept reading to find out how it could resolve itself. Although the climax is believable, the aftermath wrapped itself up rather quickly. It is well written and recommended.

Dec 05, 2014
  • NVDPL Teen Librarians rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Fantastic writing. Powerful story of coming to grips with PTSD and the effects it can have in a family. Fans of John Green and Gayle Forman will enjoy this book.

Nov 05, 2014
  • bandblair rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Simple story and a fast-read. I prefered Speak and Fever though.

Oct 09, 2014
  • samdog123 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I really like this author's books--she writes good historical fiction. But this a modern work dealing with the aftermath of the wars in the middle east and post-traumatic stress syndrome (ptss). Hayley and her Dad finally settle down in his hometown after years of travelling. Hayley attends a 'normal' school, makes friends and finds a guy she cares about. Will the stress of worrying about and caring for her Dad cause it all to fall apart? Hayley is a great character--tough and fiercely loyal to her dysfunctional father who is incapable of providing the stability she so desperately needs and deserves. I really cared about Hayley and you will too.

Jul 28, 2014
  • aleshia97 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I absolutely loved this book. It kept me intrigued and interested with the unexpected behaviors of her father. I think the book was very well written and a good read, surprisingly took only two days to read.

Jun 06, 2014

NYPL Staff Pick
Hayley is looking forward to settling down and leading a "normal" life. But her father's PTSD isn't going to let that happen.

Jun 05, 2014
  • ontherideau rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

an important book - world leaders should read it

May 13, 2014
  • Cdnbookworm rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This teen novel has high school senior Hayley Kincain as its main character. Hayley's mother died when she was just a baby, and she lived in this small town with her grandmother until the age of seven, when her grandmother died. Following that her life path becomes a little less clear, but she has spent the last five years on the road with her father, until he finally decides to move back to the house and town he grew up in so Hayley can spend her senior year in a real high school instead of reading textbooks in the truck and in hotel rooms. Hayley reunites quickly with a friend from the distant past, Gracie, but has more trouble adjusting to high school. She doesn't know the rules of how to act, and finds many of her fellow students' behaviour unappealing. Her introduction to nerdy Finn, first as a friend, then as math tutor and perhaps more, have her feeling less sure of herself and yet more connected to this town.
But Hayley's real struggle is with her father, a veteran of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, suffering from his own demons in the form of post traumatic stress disorder. It is these disturbing memories that first drove the two into a nomadic life, and now brought them here. Hayley has been forced into the role of looking out for and after her father, loving him fiercely, but always wary of what he will do next. As his behaviour grows increasingly erratic, she is finally forced to look to her own past and reach out for help to those who care about her.
Once I started reading this book, I could barely put it down. Hayley has all the inner concerns of any girl her age, plus the burden of her father's illness. She is a character that is finely drawn, and that I quickly grew to care about. Her struggles brought me both tears and laughter, and her father's PTSD is revealed in all its complexity. His flashbacks show the experiences that brought him to where he is now.
A wonderful book.

Mar 05, 2014
  • AliReads rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Unbelievably excellent.

Feb 14, 2014
  • BlueMoonGirl rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

What a wonderfully sad, but descriptive novel of a "family" coming to grips with PTSD. Story feels real.

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Jan 13, 2015
  • goldbean rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

goldbean thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

Jan 04, 2015

Sienat thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over

Jul 24, 2014
  • yellow_raccoon_7 rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

yellow_raccoon_7 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over


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Jan 31, 2014

When Haley calls home and no one answers the phone by the 2nd ring, she is figures her dad is sleeping. When no one picks up by the 10th ring, she hopes he is mowing the lawn. When no one picks up by the 20th, she knows something is wrong. Something is horribly wrong. She begs a ride from Finn, the editor of the school newspaper who has been nagging her to write for him. But the car is too small, Finn drives to slow, and something is wrong at home. Haley can't breathe, she can't think, she needs out! When a police car pulls up beside them at a stop-light, Haley is down to her last thread of sanity. She jumps out of the car, to Finn's surprise and runs home. There is her dad, drunk, lying on the floor, but breathing...for now.

Andy, her father, an Iraq war veteran, came home from the war, but his head is still full of sand and blood and bombs. Unable to escape the PTSD that haunts him, Andy self medicates with drugs, alcohol and violence. Haley tries to take care of both of them while her best friend's family splits apart, her alcoholic step-mother returns, and Finn asks her out on an anti-date. Can Haley's life handle love right now? Perhaps it is exactly what she needs?


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