Book Review: NIGHT ROAD by Kristin Hannah

Jude Farraday is a happily married, stay-at-home mom who puts everyone’s needs above her own. Her twins, Mia and Zach, are bright and happy teenagers. When Lexi Baill enters their lives, no one is more supportive than Jude. A former foster child with a dark past, Lexi quickly becomes Mia’s best friend. Then Zach falls in love with Lexi and the three become inseparable. But senior year of high school brings unexpected dangers and one night, Jude’s worst fears are confirmed: there is an accident. In an instant, her idyllic life is shattered and her close-knit community is torn apart. People and Jude demand justice, and when the finger of blame is pointed, it lands solely on eighteen-year-old Lexi Baill. In a heartbeat, their love for each other will be shattered, the family broken. Lexi gives up everything that matters to her, the boy she loves, her place in the family, the best friend she ever had, while Jude loses even more. When Lexi returns, older and wiser, she demands a reckoning. Long buried feelings will rise again, and Jude will finally have to face the woman she has become. She must decide whether to remain broken or try to forgive both Lexi and herself.

I received an ARC of this book from http://www.bookreporter.com/.  NIGHT ROAD is set to be available to readers on March 29, 2011.  For more information about Kristin Hannah, check out her website at http://www.kristinhannah.com/.

As soon as I cracked open the pages of this story, I could NOT put it down.  I became enveloped in the lives of the Farraday family and of Lexi.  As the story progressed and I new the traumatic event was coming, I still was shocked and intrigued with how Hannah played out the storyline.  Because I don’t want to give away any part of the twists and turns, I will speak in general about the story.

I think this is Hannah’s best novel yet. She has taken on several tough topics, such as the foster care system, helicopter parenting, and teens and alcohol, as well as others that I don’t want to give away. Everyone has different ideas on each of these topics and how to handle them.  What I liked is that Hannah doesn’t tie up all the events with a pretty bow and make everything a happy ending.  She doesn’t make the struggles look easy because in real life they are not.

The teenage siblings in this story came from very privileged lives and then befriend one who grew up with no privileges at all. As unrealistic as this might seem in our world of social status importance, Hannah made their friendships very believable. Even though the setting was again, in Hannah’s favorite Northwest, this story can play out in the midwest or anywhere.

While reading, I was frequently looking at my parenting and thinking about those teenage years in my future and how I would handle certain situations with my children. The mom in this story was very believable and struggled with being a parent, being a friend, being “popular” and being tough. All things that every mom struggles with at some point.

There were many times I read this book through teary eyes. You can feel the emotions throughout the pages. My heart ached for Jude and then for Lexi and then for Grace. Their pain jumped off the pages and reached right out to me. I will be thinking about these characters for a long time.

This is a story that should be read by every mother. I can also see this novel appealing to the young adult as well. There are mature themes, but themes that our young people are facing today.

Hannah has given us a story that we won’t be able to forget. You must pre-order this book and open it as soon as it lands in your lap!

Thanks to Bookreporter.com for a ARC of this book.
 
I received a free advanced readers copy (ARC) of this book in order to provide my review.  I was not compensated in any other way for this review.  This is my honest opinion.  I wouldn’t review anything that myself or my family couldn’t appreciate or benefit from.

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