Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Impossible Knife of Memory {A Review}

The Impossible Knife of Memory

Title: The Impossible Knife of Memory
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Publication Date: January 2014
Source: PLA
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 4 stars

For the past five years, Hayley Kincain and her father, Andy, have been on the road, never staying long in one place as he struggles to escape the demons that have tortured him since his return from Iraq. Now they are back in the town where he grew up so Hayley can attend school. Perhaps, for the first time, Hayley can have a normal life, put aside her own painful memories, even have a relationship with Finn, the hot guy who obviously likes her but is hiding secrets of his own.

Will being back home help Andy’s PTSD, or will his terrible memories drag him to the edge of hell, and drugs push him over? The Impossible Knife of Memory is Laurie Halse Anderson at her finest: compelling, surprising, and impossible to put down.


Let me start by saying how I got the book. I honestly lucked into it. I was at the PLA (Public Library Association)  conference, in the exhibit hall. I knew Laurie Halse Anderson was going to be there between the brochure and the fact that she tweeted about it. I did not, however, know that the line to meet her and get a book signed included a book... free of charge. Plus, I got to meet her. And I love her books, so I was super excited. 

Anyway. All that aside. I was really looking forward to reading this one. And it didn't disappoint. I realize the lack of a fifth star might make it seem otherwise. But that has nothing to do with the writing or the characters. I think, mostly, I wasn't left as emotionally wrung out by it as I wanted to be. So I think it really boils down to my highest of high expectations. Not that I didn't like the way things went. And it's not like I *wanted* tragedy, etc etc... I just wanted more feels, I guess? Hard to explain.

But. I loved Hayley. I loved that she wasn't a reliable person;  you never knew how she was going to react to something. And we get so much information, in snippets, about her past, her father, her life. And her father. I'll admit, I've never had any experience in my life with PTSD, but from what I *do* know about it, it seems like Halse really did her research. And I felt like I was there, right alongside Hayley, for all the ups and downs of the entire story. I felt the struggle between love, fear, and caring that Hayley had within her. 

The supporting characters of Gracie and Topher nearly seemed unnecessary by the end of the story. I think, while it was good to see that Hayley could, in fact, be a fairly normal teenager with Gracie, they didn't really do much for the story. But Finn, on the other hand. He was pretty awesome in his own imperfect ways. And I think Trish served her purpose well as not only bringing background to the story, but giving light to a possible future as well. 

I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is already a fan of LHA, as well as anyone who likes contemporary fiction, especially with a side of heavy topics. Halse handles both superbly.

Want to read it? Have you read it? What'd you think?


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

March Random Reads

Random Reads 

I ran across this meme done by I'm Loving Books today and I absolutely love this idea. So I'm going to join in. :)

What it is:

Basically, we all have a mile-long (at least) to-read list, right? So what you do is go to and use the True Random Number Generator. You put the min number as 1 the max as whatever the number of books is on your to-read list and click 'generate'. Then you go to your to-read list and scroll down to the corresponding number and voila! That's the book you read next. 

For more in-depth info, go to I'm Loving Books! :)

Now I decided I wanted it to be a book I owned. Instead of creating an entire new list on Goodreads of "to-be-read-already-owned" books, I just decided I would regenerate if I got the number for one I didn't own. Thankfully, I didn't have to do that. The first number I got was a winner! And I've been wanting to read this one for a while. Here's the random choice for this month:

You can see I put it on my to-read on goodreads in February of 2013. Yep. Been there a bit. But, I just traded for it on the YA Book Exchange site, so it's on my shelf now! :)

What random book might you try and read this month?


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Books & Authors Significant in My Reading Journey {A Top Ten Post}

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they provide a Top Ten topic for you to create your list, then you share it on their post so others can find you. :)

  ♥ Top Ten 'Gateway' Books/Authors In My Reading Journey

Ugh. I swear I'm trying to do this more. I really am. Maybe when I get internet at home? We'll see. As it is, I'll just come and go as I please. :)
I'm not really sure how to answer this one. I don't think there were really any (or at least many) books/authors that really got me into reading. I honestly don't recall a time I didn't enjoy reading. I was never a struggling reader and I always enjoyed getting lost in stories. 
Some of the ones I remember from grade school that kept me going:
 I know these are super sad stories, and I haven't read any as an adult (although I still have all the ones I owned from back then on my top shelf)... but, man, I devoured these. 
Creepy and exciting. Definitely kept me turning pages.

Sweet Pickles Series

These, I've discovered, are not widely remembered, but I loved collecting them.

The Ghost of Windy Hill by Clyde Robert Bulla

I used to get in trouble for staying up and reading this one with a flashlight. Mysteriously, said flashlight disappeared from my room. Hmmm....
In high school, I couldn't get enough of:
I loved going on these thrilling and mysterious rides. I can never thank my friend, Rachel, enough for introducing him to me.
Before she became a phenomenon due to The Vampire Diaries, LJ Smith was already wooing me and many of my friends back in the day. I've never watched the show, but the original Vampire Diaries series is one of my faves of hers... along with The Secret Circle, The Forbidden Game, and Dark Visions. Somehow I always felt like part of a secret club when reading them. ;)
There was a time when I didn't read *as much* as I have in recent years. College, life, what-have-you. But one summer break from college, I really started compiling a heavy "read" list, which started with:
I loved this story. The way it was written, the characters. I loved it all. 
Looking back, I do find this one a little odd. But I did read nearly all of her books to-date (at that time, of course). Eventually I think they started to feel a little *too* heavy on the religious/preachy side for me and I moved on, but I would definitely recommend them to anyone looking for books in the contemporary Christian fiction genre.
I discovered her by accident. I was going through my niece's shelves, looking for a book to read. I couldn't find one that caught my attention, but she was reading Vanishing Acts and loving it. So I got it from the library and LOVED it. I've read most, and own most, of her books to-date. :)

I stumbled upon her while I was working on the Mobile Library... and I kinda feel like she's the YA version of Jodi Picoult. Sure, she doesn't get as controversial or deliver some extreme plot twist at the end (at least not in most books), but she does deal with some serious/heavy topics. Anyway. I totally loved the story (Just Listen) and enjoyed her writing. And I continue to, as well. (And, if I really look back, this was probably my main 'gateway' into YA literature...)

Anyway. There's my picks for this week. :)

What's on your list? 

Happy Tuesday!