Author: Kristin Hannah
Published: St. Martin's Press; Mar. 2011
Genre: Literary Fiction
Synopsis: For eighteen years, Jude Farraday has put her children’s needs above her own, and it shows—her twins, Mia and Zach—are bright and happy teenagers. When Lexi Baill moves into their small, close knit community, no one is more welcoming than Jude. Lexi, a former foster child with a dark past, quickly becomes Mia’s best friend. Then Zach falls in love with Lexi and the three become inseparable.
Jude does everything to keep her kids on track for college and out of harm’s way. It has always been easy-- until senior year of high school. Suddenly she is at a loss. Nothing feels safe anymore; every time her kids leave the house, she worries about them.
On a hot summer’s night her worst fears come true. One decision will change the course of their lives. In the blink of an eye, the Farraday family will be torn apart and Lexi will lose everything. In the years that follow, each must face the consequences of that single night and find a way to forget…or the courage to forgive.
My Take: Looking at the inside flap of this novel I couldn't believe I hadn't read any of Hannah's books before. She is a prolific writer and so I was glad to finally have the chance to read one of her novels. St. Martin's Press was generous enough to send copies over for my whole book club so Night Road was our January Book Club pick. I believe it was a great way for our book club to start off the new year as it was a dramatic read that offered up plenty for discussion.
When you open up Night Road you can immediately tell that it is building towards something big. Naturally I assumed the worst. Something bad must be going to happen and when will it just occur already! The story is told alternately from two points of view: adults and teenagers. We have Jude who is the mom. She is your textbook helicopter parent. She has a beautiful home on an island on the outskirts of Seattle with a loving husband and two teenage twins, Mia and Zach. She is a stay at home mom and other than her passion for gardening, her focus is on making sure her teenagers have the best life possible. While admirable and understandable, at times Jude makes me crazy.
On the first day of high school Mia and Zach meet Lexi. Lexi might be described as being from the 'wrong side of the tracks'. She is a foster child who has recently found an aunt to finally call her own and is now learning how to live in a permanent home. She has never known a life long friend and doesn't want to believe Mia could be that for her and yet her and Mia quickly become BFF's. Zach, the twin brother, is one of the cool kids. He is also really good looking. So while they are all three friends, he is off limits for Lexi.
It's hard to write this review without exposing the crux of this story. To talk about why this story was so moving, why it made me cry into my pillow and made some of our bookclub members question ever wanting to be parents would be to expose what happens to change everything that one fateful night so you know what, I am going to have to stop my review here and just say that I would definitely recommend reading it. I found it very moving and emotional. While not everyone in my bookclub loved it, many did. And it was well worth reading and sharing! I also want to point out that I think this is one of those rare books that could work for both mature young adults and adults because of the narrators.
Night Road is now in paperback so be sure to grab yourself a copy!
Cover Lust: I think this cover fits perfectly with the title and the dark theme of the book.