Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Night Road by Kristin Hannah

A very kind neighbor loaned this book to me a couple of months ago. In some "down time", i.e. time between Book Club books, I treated myself to a free read. Then vacation interrupted and I didn't want to take a friend's book with me. So it has been a long time in reading. It was a decent read, pretty predictable, but one wrought with emotion.

Alexa (Lexi) Bail, a foster child due to her mother's drug addiction, is finally placed permanently with her Great Aunt in Pine Island, Washington. Her aunt, a clerk at the local WalMart,  has little money, but a lot of love to give Lexi. It is awkward to move to a new area and make new friends, but Lexi gives it a go on the first day of school when she approaches Mia Farraday, somewhat a social misfit. Mia, though skeptical of Lexi, accepts her offer of friendship and the two develop into the best BFFs that could ever happen. Mia is the twin of Zach and the daughter of Miles and Judith. The family leads a very comfortable life in suburbia. The parents have high expectations for their children. Lexi is treated as a member of the family, while still understanding her  roots and monetary limitations.  Judith has always been the supportive mother who brings treats to school, goes on field trips, and is protective of her children. It has never been difficult to expect that  Mia and Zach will do the right thing. But then Senior year happens and Mia and Zach begin to push the envelope - parties with alcohol and driving. They make a good decision about leaving a party and not driving drunk. Parents are called and the young adults are retrieved. However, a lecture ensues and we as readers as well as Mia and Zach wonder if that really was the best course of action. 

Lexi, Mia, and Zach become inseparable friends and it seems that the inevitable happens - Zach and Lexi fall in love and become a devoted couple. They pledge to spend the rest of their lives together, taking into account how the relationship could hurt Mia. The twins are inherently mindful of each other's feelings and Lexi fits into that profile. Nearing graduation the three attend another  party vowing not to drink and find themselves in a predicament when about to leave. Tragedy strikes and lives are changed forever. 

As the novel progresses, the reader is catapulted into lives that struggle to find meaning and solace in the cards that have been dealt. Blame is passed around freely, guilt is assumed too quickly, and ramifications of an early summer night's love create a horrible dilemma. It seems that life has taken a turn that results in a little girl living in somewhat of a foster home situation again. 

Kristin Hannah's Night Road is a bit reminiscent of a Jodi Picoult novel. It is highly emotional, character centered, and comes to a painful resolution. Marketed as an adult book, this book would definitely have a place in my high school library or the YA section of the public library. It was a very good, not fabulous, and engaging read.