Review: The Impossible Knife of Memory

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

The Impossible Knife of Memory

Publication date: January 2nd 2014

Publisher: Viking Juvenile

Number of pages: 391

Series: N/A

Genre: YA Contemporary/Realistic Fiction

Source: Borrowed. This is my honest opinion.

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Goodreads synopsis:

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.

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Review:

There is just something about realistic fiction that gets me. Like GETS ME.

I’d have to say that the prime suspect would be the voice. Writers like Laurie Halse Anderson write with this voice that is so raw and realistic, meaning teenagers like myself can really associate with the characters like Hayley.

Hayley was a fantastic character. She had spunk (I love that word) and attitude without being over the top or nasty or irritating. And if you pair a character like Hayley with a character like Finn, then you have pretty much reached character perfection. Finn was so cute and funny and I just loved their relationship.

Before I go any further, I just have to get this out there: I love the cover. It’s really cool in person.

I know that Laurie Halse Anderson has won tons of awards and I honestly have to say that that is what attracted me to The Impossible Knife of Memory. I had never read anything by her and I saw a copy of this at my library and kind of said “why not?”. I have to say that a topic like PTSD isn’t something that I hear much about so I wasn’t exactly tripping over myself to read a book about something I knew very little about. If Laurie Halse Anderson deals with the gritty stuff like she does in The Impossible Knife of Memory in all her books, then I see why they’re so popular. It’s not too tame and it’s not too graphic.

Expanding on my last point, that I think Laurie Halse Anderson did very well with including stuff about PTSD, I really liked the odd chapters written in italics of her father’s flashbacks to the war.

I would definitely recommend this if you are into realistic fiction. Don’t worry if you don’t know much about PTSD because as long as you know roughly what it is, you’ll be fine.

4/5 comets
A meteor shower. A great show.

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Author bio:

Laurie Halse AndersonLaurie Halse Anderson is the New York Times-bestselling author who writes for kids of all ages. Known for tackling tough subjects with humor and sensitivity, her work has earned numerous ALA and state awards. Two of her books, Speak and Chains, were National Book Award finalists.

Mother of four and wife of one, Laurie lives in Northern New York, where she likes to watch the snow fall as she writes. You can follow her adventures on Twitter, http://twitter.com/halseanderson and on her tumblr http://lauriehalseanderson.tumblr.com/

Review: Masquerade

Masquerade by Kylie Fornasier

Masquerade

Publication date: July 23rd 2014

Publisher: Penguin Teen Australia

Number of pages: 304

Series: Maybe

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

Source: Received in exchange for review . This is my honest opinion.

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Goodreads synopsis:

It’s the Carnevale of 1750 and Venice’s ballrooms, theatres, palazzos and squares are filled with delicious gossip, devilish fun and dangerous games. In this glittering masked world, everyone has a secret…

Set in an age of decadence made famous by Casanova, Masquerade uncovers the secrets of seven teens, from the highest aristocrat to the lowest servant – their dreams, desires, loves, loyalties … and betrayals.

All the world’s a stage. Let the show begin.

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Review:

“In a city shrouded in secrets, it was only fitting that Orelia’s first view of Venice was shrouded in fog.”

That was the first sentence. That’s when I knew that the writing was going to be pretty. And just to be original, I’m also going to say that that’s also when I knew I was hooked. I just loved the writing. I have a thing for a books that are written in that style of third person.

And what made this even better was that the story was set in one of my favourite time periods ever – the 1700’s. A time with gorgeous dresses, and in this case, masks. The descriptions of the dresses were amazing and I especially love the idea of a ‘smoke’ coloured dress. So cool.

But it was even cooler that it was set in Venice. I mean, come on, Venice?! YES. It was pretty much pre-determined that I would fall in love. I loved the way we got to see Venice from the 1700’s with it’s gondolas and water – it was just so cool.

“You will answer in the same way everyone does; you’ll say you’re here to find yourself in the city of masks.”

Seriously? How perfect is that quote?!

And I loved the way that a few Italian words and phrases were weaved through the text. It was done really well – I’d even describe it as seamlessly. A lot of the words most readers would know, and if they don’t I’d say that it would be pretty easy to figure out what they mean.

One thing I found pretty curious that I really appreciated, was that when Oreliawas intergrated in to the family, they all got along? I have never really come across that before. Usually there’s the horrid/jealous sibling or evil stepmother, etc.

Still on the topic of characters, I loved how we got to follow lots of their stories. They were all complex with their own backstories and were woven in together. They were pretty realistic.

But one thing I was/am a little confused about is “Carnevale”. I don’t really know what it was. I’m probably missing something blatantly obvious or something. Feel free to point it out if you know.

I actually kind of got a Blue Bloods (Melissa de la Cruz) feel from it. The stories really can’t be compared but I think it was all the dresses, characters and maybe even the atmosphere that brought that feeling out in me. So if you liked those things about Bloodlines, maybe you should check this out?

Ahh the ending. Not quite what I was looking for, but I can deal with it. I’m a little heartbroken to be honest. There were a few plot twists in Masquerade actually, come to think of it.

It was a pretty quick read too, come to think of it.

I can’t recommend this enough. I loved it so much! Please let this be a series.

5/5 comets
Bye, bye Earth! Out of this world!

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Author bio:

Kylie FornasierAs a teacher librarian, Kylie Foransier is in touch with what kids like to read, as well as being passionate about helping them enjoy that reading experience as much as she can. Kylie has won a number of writing awards, and already has a published chapter book and a soon-to-be published picture book with other major publishers. She is a strong believer in practicing what she preaches when it comes to her writing and so runs a writers’ group with the NSW Writer’s Centre and another in Penrith. Kylie lives in western Sydney.