Saturday, August 24, 2013

Night Road by Kristen Hannah (audio)

★ 1/2

"They were like soldiers who'd fought on a common battlefield, she and her son.  There were things to say, but they were just words, and they would come in time.  What mattered was that they had survived and that there was still love - between them and around them.  Everything else was a postscript.  There was really only one thing she needed to say to him now.  One question to ask. 'Do you still love her?' "

"That's how we do it, Zach.  We just...forgive.  I use to worry that you and Lexi were too young for love, and I still think of you as young, but you're not, are you?  None of us are, and life doesn't take the straight road."

" 'I'm sorry it took me so long to get here. I got...lost,' she finally said, and once she started talking, she couldn't stop.  She sat down on a granite bench and told Mia everything."

This was a wonderful book that I will be recommending to my friends and family for a very long time!  It has a little bit of everything -  a story about love, friendship, and family.  The characters must learn to forgive each other, and themselves, in the mist of a terrible tragedy.  The first part of the book was so-so.  I was a little annoyed by all of "teenage drama" at the beginning, but I began to like the book more and more as it went on.

The story begins with a young teenager named Lexi.  After a hard childhood living with a drug-addicted mother and many foster parents, she finally settles in with her great-aunt Eva.  On the first day of high school, Lexi becomes friends with Mia Farraday and the two become inseparable throughout high school.  Mia's parents, especially her mom Jude, becomes like a second family to Lexi and she finally feels like she has found a home.  

Early in their senior year, Mia's twin brother Zach falls in love with Lexi and the three develop an even closer bond.  They spend the next months making plans for their futures and enjoying every minute together.  One bad decision leads to a night that will change their lives forever.  In the years that follow, Lexi and the Farraday family are torn apart and must find away to put their lives back together.

I absolutely loved the second half of the book.  It was beautifully written and had a stunning truth that I don't normally see in these types of novels.  The narration of the novel alternated between Lexi and Jude - two very different point of views.  I loved the character of Lexi - she is one of the most realistic and heart-breakinging characters that I have come across in a very long time.  She tried so hard to do the right thing and put everyone she loved ahead of her. Lexi was forced to grow up in a matter of days and is forced with one hard decision after another.  I also loved the character of Jude.  At times, she frustrated me so much I wanted to scream.  Even though I understood where she was coming from, I could not get over some of the things she did.  By the end of the book, I not only understood Jude, but learned to love and respect her as well.  She had a sort-of wisdom that I greatly admired.  

"Night Road" was also the first audio book I listened to.  I have about an hour commute to work everyday, so I figured that it would be a good time to catch up on some extra reading.  I got so attached to the characters, I ended up bawling my eyes out the whole way home while listening to the last two chapters - and I'm not one for crying.  This book was highly unexpected.  I went into it thinking I would ready a good book - one with nice characters, a semi-interesting plot line, and a lot of "chick-lit" type drama.  Instead, I walked away with a stunning story that I will remember for a long, long time.  

This book was #10 on my top ten list of 2013.

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