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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 town where he grew up so Hayley can go to a proper 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?

Read an interview with Laurie for Publishers Weekly.

Praise for Laurie Halse Anderson and The Impossible Knife of Memory:

‘Anderson provides a riveting study of a psychologically scarred teenager, peeling back layers of internal defenses to reveal a girl’s deepest wounds…It’s a tough, absorbing story of the effects of combat on soldiers and the people who love them.’

Publishers Weekly

‘I finished the final few chapters of the novel unable to break away, closing the cover with waves of emotion crashing over me…a brilliant read.’

Bookworld blog

‘Here is a novel full of cutting tenderness, quiet reflection interspersed with a young woman’s rage and crippling inability to help her suffering father. It’s beautiful and haunting, as all Laurie Halse Anderson books tend to be.’

Alpha Reader blog

‘Laughter through tears and all manner of matters of the heart make this novel a standout for any reader 15 and up.’

Galley Talk

‘As difficult as reading this novel can be, it is more difficult to put down.’ Publishers Weekly on Wintergirls

‘A characteristically honest and deeply felt exploration of the lingering scars of war.’

Kirkus Reviews

‘Beautiful, heartbreaking and hopeful. Lia’s voice is exquisite.’ Melina Marchetta on Wintergirls

‘Powerful writing, memorable characters and a sweet romance…this book is one incredible tale of a girl’s struggle with her war veteran father and her discovery of love.’ 5 star review

Looking for Panacea blog

‘[Halse Anderson’s] brilliant turn of phrase, cynical, cutting and often very funny, ensures readers will warm to Hayley’s complex character immediately.’

Sunday Territorian

‘Laurie Halse Anderson is the Paul Zindel of the 21st century, creating intriguing young characters who combine strangeness with charm…The Impossible Knife of Memory is a positive story, where events develop in an unpredictable way, avoiding cliches, and providing a satisfying conclusion. In fact, this is a novel that will be enjoyed by all who appreciate good writing.’

Weekend Press/Dominion Post

‘An impressive book. The characters of Hayley and her father [are] sympathetically drawn.’


Laurie Halse Anderson


Laurie Halse Anderson is the author of several books for young adults including the New York Times bestselling novel Speak. She is the recipient of the prestigious ALAN Award (2008), which honours those who have made outstanding contributions to the field of… »

There are other editions of this book:

  • RRP: $19.99
  • Pub date: 02/01/2014
  • ISBN: 9781925095227
  • Buy: Ebook retailers