Hayley has not had the easiest life. Her mother died in a car accident when she was young, so when her father was sent on back-to-back tours overseas, she was sent to live with her grandmother. When her grandmother died, she lived with her father’s girlfriend, who was like a mother to her. When her father came home from overseas, his girlfriend left, and Hayley lost yet another mother figure. Hayley’s father’s next solution was to drive big rigs, homeschooling Hayley while they were on the road. But the whole time, her father struggles to deal with his demons, and nothing seems to be helping. Finally, he decides to settle down in the town where he grew up, in Hayley’s grandmother’s house, for Hayley’s senior year of high school. Things are bound to get better, right?
The Impossible Knife of Memory, by Laurie Halse Anderson, is an emotional, timely tale of a daughter taking care of her traumatized father while at the same time trying to find her own path in life. The book does a great job of balancing between Hayley’s struggles at home and school while she adjusts to a normal school environment, and the typical teenage ups and downs with friends, boys, and parties. For readers who loved Anderson’s Speak, Catalyst, or Wintergirls, they will love her latest work. Also recommended for readers who enjoy Sarah Dessen or John Green.