I loved The Impossible Knife of Memory, by Laurie Halse Anderson, from the very first page. The novel opens:
“It started in detention. No surprise there, right? Detention was invented by the same idiots who dreamed up the time-out corner. Does being forced to sit in time-out ever make little kids stop putting cats in the dishwasher or drawing on white walls with purple marker? Of course not. It teaches them to be sneaky and guarantees that when they get to high school they’ll love detention because it’s a great place to sleep.”
Halse Anderson is just so adept at capturing the teenage psyche and perpetuating it in the voice of her characters. I loved this about her last books and she lived up to my expectation in this one!
The Impossible Knife of Memory is about Hayley Kincain, whose mother is dead and whose father has recently returned from deployment. Suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, Hayley’s dad has a hard time settling down and keeping a job; for this reason, they set out on cross-country trucking jobs, and Hayley is very loosely homeschooled. However, during her senior year, her dad decides it’s time for her to have a normal life and go to a real high school. So, they move back to the town where her dad grew up, into his mother’s old house, and Hayley begins her “normal” life. But, there’s nothing normal about having a dad who is fired more than he works, screams from nightmares in the middle of the night, and wavers between euphoria and depression. Hayley can’t focus on her schoolwork because she’s so worried about her dad. While attempting to avoid making friends, Haley eventually finds someone who can help her deal with her dad's situation. Will she be able to cope before her dad gets even worse?
This was an awesome book, but there were some sex scenes and inappropriate language, so I'd only recommend it for mature readers.