by Kristin Hannah
Purchase: Amazon | Audible
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 safe and on track for college. 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.
Night Road by Kristen Hannah has been in my TBR pile forever, I was gifted it when I first received my Nook. This month, I participated in a challenge on Goodreads. I partnered up with a member and they selected a book from my TBR pile for me to read. Since I am also participating in the 2012 TBR pile challenge this worked out perfectly for me. I think this sat in my pile for so long, because I tend to avoid surreal storylines. I look at reading as an escape and even though this is fiction, its contents are all too real. Despite that, I loved this novel, the characters and the tragic story of love and loss. This story should also come with a warning label – some readers will experience the following reactions * bouts of excessive crying and the *inability to put the book down. I recommend amble supplies of the following before reading: tissues and chocolate. Then find a quiet place and a snugly blanket.
The novel centers on the well-to-do Farraday family and Lexi Baill. Judy Farraday is super Mom. She is the mother of twins Mia and Zach. When the tale begins they are getting ready to start high school. Judy is very involved, spoils her children and worries obsessively. On some points I adored her parenting and on others I kind of felt like she needed to get a life. For example she worries about Mia. Mia is the shy twin and on the first day of high school, she walks her into school, helps her find her first class and open her locker. Mia finds this stressful, but submits. My kids would have died of embarrassment and probably disowned me. Her husband and children realize how she is, and indulge her, simply because they love her and her intentions are good. I think Hannah purposely made her extreme, so that events that occur later in the tale have creditability and believe me they do.
Lexi Baill has had an incredibly difficult life. Her Mom recently OD and she has bounced from foster home to foster home. Her social worker found an Aunt who was willing to take her in. Lexi’s aunt is poor, lives in a double wide and works at Wally world, but lovingly opens her home. Despite all the turmoil her young life has wrought, Lexi is a loveable, respectful and an appreciative child. On the first day of school, she wears a dorky bedazzled butterfly shirt to school. Why? Because her aunt bought it for her, and she didn’t want to hurt her feelings. When she enters her first class, some girls immediately start making fun of her, until a very handsome young man steps in. He is completely swoon worthy and Lexi’s heart pounds so loud she can barely hear. She spends the rest of the morning trying to catch glimpses of him. At lunch she seeks a quiet place to read, and comes upon a girl dressed in a pink tutu reading under a tree. It’s Mia and the two become fast friends. Mia invites her home after school and she learns that the hot boy, she was crushing on, is Mia’s twin brother Zach. That evening, Judy takes Lexi home, and when they pull up in front of the double-wide, she tells Judy her life story and promises not to hang with her kids again. Judy wisely tells her that doesn’t matter, and explains Mia needs a friend. She tells her a story about Mia’s last friend. A girl, who became friends with Mia to get close to Zach, began dating Zach, broke up with him and then ignored Mia, breaking her heart. Lexi vowels to ignore her feelings for Zach and becomes close with the entire family.
Life is good until the kid’s senior year of high school when everything changes. Lexi and Zach fall in love, and the three of them become inseparable. The romance between Lexi and Zach was so sweet and intense. He falls so hard for her. This was not instant-luv. They both have had feelings for each other and never acted on them out of concern for Mia. Jude is concerned, but she is also worked about all the parties. She worries about them drinking or having sex. She and her husband reminiscent about their own childhoods. Then one night tragedy strikes and it will change the lives of them all, ripping them apart. From this point on I cried for almost the remainder of the novel. Hannah’s portrayal of the event, the aftermath and the characters themselves was out of this world good. She walks us though each of their experiences. The depth of each characters emotions left me breathless and turning the pages searching for some kind of peace or happy ending. While, I predicted the ending, Hannah’s path there was delightful, tragic and heart-breaking. Despite the tears shed, I would gladly take the journey again.
I highly recommend Night Road to fans of chick-lit that are looking for an emotional novel of human loss, love, redemption and healing. Fan’s of Jodi Picoult will adore this author. Hannah’s characters will stay with you long after you have closed the book. Night Road is available in paper, eBook and audio. Hannah has over thirty-seven published novels and I will definitely read more of her work.
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