Synopses & Reviews
Lucky Linderman didn't ask for his life. He didn't ask his grandfather not to come home from the Vietnam War. He didn't ask for a father who never got over it. He didn't ask for a mother who keeps pretending their dysfunctional family is fine. And he didn't ask to be the target of Nader McMillan's relentless bullying, which has finally gone too far.
But Lucky has a secret--one that helps him wade through the mundane torture of his life. In his dreams, Lucky escapes to the war-ridden jungles of Laos--the prison his grandfather couldn't escape--where Lucky can be a real man, an adventurer, and a hero. It's dangerous and wild, and it's a place where his life just might be worth living. But how long can Lucky keep hiding in his dreams before reality forces its way inside?
Michael L. Printz Honor recipient A.S. King's smart, funny and boldly original writing shines in this powerful novel about learning to cope with the shrapnel life throws at you--and taking a stand against it.
* "Blending magic and realism, this is a subtly written, profoundly honest novel about a kid falling through the cracks and pulling himself back up."--Booklist, starred review
* "King remarkably channels fifteen-year-old Lucky, creating one of the most believable teen male characters in young adult fiction.... This unique coming-of-age story will hold tremendous appeal for reluctant male readers."--VOYA, starred review
* "A smart, funny, and passionate novel that embodies that idea that 'It Gets Better'--when you take action."--Publishers Weekly, starred review
* "King's heartfelt tale easily blends realism and fantasy.... A haunting but at times funny tale about what it means to want to take one's life, but rising above it so that living becomes the better option."--School Library Journal, starred review
* "The unusual and occasionally comic juxtaposition of the POW experience with Lucky's victimization... [offers] compelling food for thought about the things we can control and the things we can't, and how that distinction ultimately determines the need for action."--The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review
* "King's themes of torture, physical and emotional imprisonment, and bullying connect in satisfying ways in this improbably witty and heartwarming story."--The Horn Book, starred review
"A resonant, uplifting story about not just getting through, but powering through, the tough times."--Kirkus Reviews
PRAISE FOR THE IMPOSSIBLE KNIFE OF MEMORY:
- New York Times bestseller
- 2014 National Book Award long list
* "As in Speak, Anderson provides a riveting study of a psychologically scarred teenager . . . absorbing" —Publishers Weekly, starred review
* "Compelling, powerful, and timely . . . 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" —Booklist, starred review
* "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.” —BCCB, starred review
* "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 Andersons strongest and most relevant works to date.” —School Library Journal, starred review
* "It is Anderson at her absolute best, providing significant and touching realistic fiction." —VOYA, starred review
"Anderson's novels . . . speak for the still-silent among us, and force all of us to acknowledge the real and painful truths that are too dangerous to ignore." —New York Times
“The Impossible Knife of Memory isnt always an easy read-Andersons gritty, authentic look at PTSD is by turns painful and heartbreaking-but its an important one." —Entertainment Weekly
“Andy comes home from the war in Iraq honored for his service, and haunted by it. The war still goes on inside of him and threatens to make Hayley another causality. Laurie Halse Anderson is one of the best known writers of literature for young adults and children in the world. ” —Scott Simon, NPR Weekend Edition
“Laurie Halse Anderson has been lauded and awarded for her ability to channel the teenage mind (and heart) dealing with tough issues. In The Impossible Knife of Memory, she takes on PTSD through the story of a girl coping with her troubled veteran dad.” —Family Circle
"At turns heartbreaking, at turns funny, the narrative in this book is so spot on I wanted to give Hayley my phone number so she would have a friend in times of crisis. Seriously—does ANYONE write troubled teen characters with the realism, grace, and soul of Laurie Halse Anderson?" —Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of The Storyteller and Between the Lines
“Laurie Halse Anderson serves the families of veterans with the same honor, dignity, and respect that the veterans, who serve us, deserve. With her trademark hope, humor, and heart-breaking realism, Laurie Halse Anderson has given us a roadmap to heal. She is a treasure.” —Stephen Chobsky, New York Times bestselling author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower
"Roskos has created a character that does not necessarily change throughout the book, but learns to live with himself as he is, to celebrate himself and those around him even as flawed as they are."
—VOYA, 4Q 3P S
"Self-deprecating humor abounds in this debut novel that pulls no punches about the experience of depression and anxiety for its teen protagonist . . . Captivating introspection from a winning character."
—Kirkus, starred review
"Author Roskos's strength lies in his refusal to tidy up the mess in James's life and in his relentless honesty about surviving with depression and anxiety."
"Roskos effectively sketches James as a boy who is far more comfortable inside his own head than in connecting with others . . . Bravely facing real sorrow, James confronts his problems with grace and courage."
"Roskos' first novel is rich with hilarity and realistic inner dialogue . . . Give this darkly funny debut to fans of Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower."
"Roskos perfectly captures the voice of a teen."
—School Library Journal
"Many teen readers will recognize their own mood swings as they are amplified through James' pendulum, and they'll be enlightened by his revelation that life can be possible and rewarding even when it's really hard."
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
For the past five years, Hayley Kincaid 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 Andys 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.
A16-year-old boy attempts to save himself by writing poems, hugging trees, and figuring out what it takes to be a good brother. James experiences the highs and lows of depression as he tries to figure out how its possible to survive, even when everyone else seems to be doing all they can to make a kid feel crazy.
* “Self-deprecating humor abounds in this debut novel that pulls no punches about the experience of depression and anxiety for its teen protagonist. . . . Captivating introspection from a winning character.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
Sixteen-year-old James Whitman has been yawping (à la Whitman) at his abusive father ever since he kicked his older sister out of the house. James’s painful struggle with anxiety and depression—along with his ongoing quest to understand what led to his sister’s exile—make for a heart-rending read, but his wild, exuberant Whitmanization of the world and keen sense of humor keep this emotionally charged novel buoyant. A Morris Award Honor Book.
About the Author
Laurie Halse Anderson has received both the Margaret Edwards Award and the ALAN Award for her contributions to young adult literature. She has also been honored by the National Coalition Against Censorship in recognition of her fight to combat the censoring of literature. She is the author of the groundbreaking National Book Award finalist and Printz Honor Book Speak. She is also author of the critically acclaimed YA books Prom, Twitsted, Catalyst, Wintergirls, and The Impossible Knife of Memory. She has also authored a number of middle grade titles including The Vet Volunteers series, and the historical fiction Seeds of America Trilogy, which includes Forge, ALA Best Book for Young Adults