Monday, March 21, 2011

Review: Night Road by Kristin Hannah

Night Road Teenager Lexi Baill is thrilled to discover that she has a living relative who wants to take her in. When she moves to the new community, she is content to finally have someone who loves her and the chance to make new friends. She quickly befriends Mia Farraday, another girl who doesn't fit in at the school. They become fast friends, best friends. Mia has a twin brother, Zach who is opposite to her in that he's very popular, and Lexi crushes on him a bit. But Jude, Mia and Zach's overprotective mother, has already warned Lexi about being a good friend to Mia and not messing that up with a relationship with Zach. So when Zach and Lexi find themselves falling in love, Lexi is conflicted about the strange relationship it creates with the family she loves so much.

And....stuff happens. I really don't want to say more than that, because while the book heavily foreshadows certain events, it's best to just go in with an open heart. Which is what I did. Hannah very masterfully develops these characters and gives their relationships the kinds of depth and feeling that caused me to feel what they were going through as they tried to navigate the unsettled and unknown new territories of their changing relationships. Seriously, Zach and Lexi's love story made my heart flutter, Mia and Lexi's friendship was so real, and Jude's love for her children was so believable. And this is so important because when things take, um, a turn and start to change, I felt fully invested as a reader and heart was crushed.

Hannah does a great job of really evoking an emotional response to certain character's actions and even while they are understandable, I felt a lot of anger and frustration. But the emotional pay-off at the end has been unmatched by any reading experience for me in quite a while...oh did I cry.

Night Road is a gorgeously written and developed story about love and why it matters, the exchange of love and pain and the importance of acceptance and healing. For whatever reason, I need these stories in my life, the ones that remind me that life is equal parts love and loss, and that love is always always worth it.

Also, I think this is a great example of how a book can be a love story, even a long suffering love story (without destroying either character) and not be a romance. (but seriously some of it did make me swoon!)

Told in Lexi and Jude's third person perspective, Night Road is a richly rewarding emotional read that engages universal themes and contemporary problems facing parents and teens alike. I loved it.

Rating: 4.75/5
Things You Might Want to Know: Some profanity
Source of Book: ARC received for review
Publisher: St. Martin's Press


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