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|Impossible knife of memory|
Author: Anderson, Laurie Halse
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.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: UG
Reading Level: 4.70
Points: 12.0 Quiz: 163323
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 9-12
Reading Level: 5.40
Points: 20.0 Quiz: 62390
Common Core Standards
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 7 → Reading → RL Literature → 7.RL Range of Reading & LEvel of Text Complexity
Grade 8 → Reading → RL Literature → 8.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 8 → Reading → RL Literature → 8.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 8 → Reading → RL Literature → 8.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Kirkus Reviews (11/01/13)
School Library Journal (01/01/14)
Booklist (+) (11/15/13)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (+) (01/14)
The Hornbook (00/03/14)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 11/15/2013 *Starred Review* There’s a compelling theme running through Anderson’s powerful, timely novel, and it’s this: The difference between forgetting something and not remembering is big enough to drive an eighteen-wheeler through. Hayley Kincaid won’t allow herself to remember the happy times in her life, and why should she? After five years on the road with her trucker father, Andy, the two are finally staying put in her grandmother’s old house in upstate New York. But military tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan have left Andy racked by nightmares of gunfire and roadside bombs, and alcohol and drugs are his means of coping. Short, gripping chapters presented in italics appear on occasion and are told from Andy’s point-of-view as the war rages around him. As her father’s PTSD grows worse, and the past is ever present, 17-year-old Hayley assumes the role of parent. But there’s a good part of her life, too: Finn. He’s got dreams for his future, and, as Hayley lets him in to her own scary reality, she tentatively begins to imagine a future of her own. Unfortunately—or fortunately—memories have a way of catching up, and as each hits, it cuts away at Hayley’s protective bubble like a knife. This is challenging material, but in Anderson’s skilled hands, readers will find a light shining on the shadowy reality of living with someone who has lived through war—and who is still at war with himself. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: A major marketing campaign, including a national author tour, backs up this latest from multiple-award-winning Anderson. - Copyright 2013 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 01/01/2014 Spending senior year in an actual high school instead of on the road in her dad’s rig wasn’t Hayley’s idea; she’s not thrilled about trying to fit in at school, and she’s deeply worried about leaving her alcoholic, PTSD-ridden father alone while she’s out. School turns out to have its compensations: some good friends, some teacherly recognition of her writing talent despite her undisciplined approach, and appealing, geeky Finn, who’s trying to convince Hayley to write for his projected newspaper-and to go out with him as well. Guarded Hayley gradually falls for Finn, even letting him know the truth about her family, but her anxiety about her father’s downward spiral begins to take over her life. Anderson depicts with lacerating clarity Hayley’s secondhand PTSD, with threat assessment a part of her daily life; Hayley’s lucid yet emotional narration ensures the experience is immersive rather than didactic (the book never actually diagnoses her), so readers will begin to share her defensive reactions and self-protective thinking. Her father is both infuriating and fearfully broken, making Hayley’s blend of frustration and hypervigilance absolutely plausible, while interspersed flashbacks to her father’s wartime experience add a further dimension. Anderson never limits her characters to being merely a type, and the growth of Hayley’s romance with Finn takes its own interesting path; the subplot about her stormy relationship with her father’s ex-girlfriend, essentially a stepmother to Hayley, demonstrates the fragility at the heart of her defenses. The book offers an eloquent portrait of the effects of both war and family legacies, and many readers will find reflections of their own struggle to keep family connections while obtaining their independence. DS - Copyright 2014 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
School Library Journal - 01/01/2014 Gr 9 Up—Hayley is the daughter of a veteran, and his PTSD colors every aspect of their lives. After serving his country, Andy is trying to rebuild some stability for himself and his daughter, but each day is a challenge for them both. Hayley lives with the constant threat of her father harming himself or others while also dealing with feelings of abandonment after essentially losing her parental figures. She copes through snark and skepticism but begins to let her guard down when her charming, easygoing classmate, Finn, gives her a much-needed taste of normal teenage life. A relationship with Finn opens the door to the possibility of trusting again, but it's not easy. Through Hayley's tenuous search for balance, Anderson explores the complicated nature of perception and memory, and how individuals manage to carry on after experiencing the worst. Readers will be thoroughly invested in this book's nuanced cast of characters and their struggles. Hayley's relatable first-person narration is interspersed with flashbacks of Andy's brutal war experiences, providing a visceral look at his inner demons. The endearing Finn and Hayley's bubbly best friend, Gracie, add levity to the narrative, even as they, too, grapple with their own problems. With powerful themes of loyalty and forgiveness, this tightly woven story is a forthright examination of the realities of war and its aftermath on soldiers and their families. One of Anderson's strongest and most relevant works to date.—Allison Tran, Mission Viejo Library, CA - Copyright 2014 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.