Night Road by Kristin Hannah
|Night Road by Kristin Hannah|
|Category: Women's Fiction|
|Reviewer: Zoe Morris|
|Summary: The trials and tribulations of teen love and friendships told through the eyes of a watchful mother, this is an extremely emotional read and one you won't be able to put down.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 400||Date: June 2011|
|Publisher: Pan Books|
|External links: Author's website|
Lexi and Mia are best friends, and Mia and Zach are twins, and Lexi and Zach hardly hate each other either. They're not so much a couple of friends or brother and sister as they are a circle that goes round and round and never ends, and despite mother Jude's initial reservations, their unconventional arrangement seems to work. It's not like she's not got enough on her plate anyway. It's senior year of high school and the pressure of college applications and future plans is driving them all crazy, but when an event on the eve of graduation changes all their lives forever, there's nothing they wouldn't give to return to those stress-filled days of the before to escape the after that now torments them.
It's hard to describe how magical this book is, and I'm loathe to give away any more of the plot, but it is one of those special books that comes out of nowhere and leaves you floored. It was not what I expected from the blurb or from the cover... it was so much better and I couldn't bring myself to put it down. It felt a bit like running a marathon – once I'd started I had to see it through in as little time as possible.
The story is not overly complex, and it lacks the dramatic end of story twists that the likes of Diane Chamberlain or Jodi Picoult favour, but it is beautifully written and extremely moving again and again, not just towards the finale. The setting of the north west of the USA is a little unusual but works well and even though I know little about the Seattle area, the descriptions were vivid enough that I could picture it all.
What I enjoyed immensely about this book was the way so much was told through the eyes of Jude. In what could otherwise be seen as a teen book (set in high school and with three 18 years olds front and centre in the plot) it would have been easy to overlook the role of the mother, and yet as the story unfolds over the pages and details come to light, it's quite clear that eventually everything comes back to how she has mothered the children over the years.
It's been a long time since I cried quite so much while reading, but this week I seem to be on a roll, first with The Red Thread, and now this. It is utterly heart-wrenching and had me sobbing from very early, and reviews online confirm I'm not the only one. The characters are wonderfully formed, from Lexi's acquaintances Scot and Tamica to the entire Farraday clan, and make an interesting mix without crossing over into too exotic. I didn't know where the story was going so every page was a surprise, and I really thought the ending could plausibly go either way which is rare.
This is part of the 2011 TV Book Club Summer Reads which was what persuaded me to try it, since I hadn't been terribly sold by the summary of it, but I can see why it was picked and I'm sure many others will try it for the same reason, and be equally enthralled.
Thanks go to the publishers for sending us this book.
For another look at an emotional mother's viewpoint in the aftermath of a tragedy, why not grab a box of tissues and have a peek at Every Last One by Anna Quindlen.
You can read more book reviews or buy Night Road by Kristin Hannah at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Night Road by Kristin Hannah at Amazon.com.
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