on 14 July 2011
I read this as part of the channel 4 TV Book Club programme. I'm not sure it's something I would normally have chosen from the blurb on the back, but I'm so glad I did and would definitely recommend. Exploring themes of friendship, love, trust, loss, pain, fear, loneliness, isolation, forgiveness - and more - thus a total emotional rollercoaster - spent a lot of the time with tears streaming down my face and ended up feeling totally wrung out! Haven't written a book review before but felt compelled to encourage others to read this story - when a novel leaves you emotionally raw it's too good to miss.
This is the story of three young friends: Lexi, an orphan, who after years in foster care between stints with her now deceased drug addict mother, lives in a trailer park with her great aunt, and twins Mia and Zach, golden children who come from a loving family and live in a state of the art modern home with every comfort. Against the odds they become the best of friends, and Lexi is welcomed into the heart of the twins' family, she is loved by their mother Jude, also a main player in this wonderful novel.
But one night something terrible happens that shatters everything. Lives are ruined, families torn apart. The consequences of that night carry repercussions for years afterwards, and this is the best part of the book for me. The first half is good, the second half is totally gripping and I really didn't want to put it down.
The characterisation is excellent, Lexi is a wonderful strong girl, and Jude, though some of her actions are not great, is someone I really felt for, I can't say much more as it would give away the plot, I would just add that who knows how any of us would behave until we have found ourselves in these situations, and I would hope never to do so.
I really enjoyed this book, it's engrossing, sad, and very readable, and I highly recommend it. I was desperate to finish it today, but now gutted that I have done.
on 30 June 2013
first warning about this book: back cover copy says it "speaks to women everywhere about the things that matter most". Erckle. Everyday sexism much?
this is a well written page turner, but I was a bit puzzled why I kept turning the pages! It's well observed but it is loaded with cliches, and some of the characters are so weak, it makes me wince. I don't know any twins; is that level of co-dependence normal? As for Jude, yes, sadly I do know mothers who are that completely obsessed with the lives of their kids, and frankly I liked her detached, icy mother better (until we were told the "reason" Jude's mum is the way she is, which was a shame. I would have been quite happy for her to just be that way naturally).
The book is loaded with "mom" stereotypes generally. There is certainly a football mom community out there who would probably relate to every word, but I winced, because happily, I live in a very different world and mums actually have lives!!
I like Jodi Picoult's work, but the sentimental teenager world portrayed here made me cringe; JP seems to get away with this more. Too much Disney added here maybe? I think it was good writing and a general "what happens next" that kept this going, but I continued why I continued reading.
Other oddities in the book - there were a few predictable things that took so long to happen, by the time they did happen, it became unbelievable because they should have happened ages ago. Also, when Lexi really fell in a hole, we were not given the chance to see either the fall or how she dug herself out of that hole, which was a pity as it may have been the most interesting bit of the book.
The thing I can't deny is that the characters were well drawn and I did keep turning the pages. If you want an easy read, try it; but be prepared for the kind of teenagery schmaltz that would make you laugh if someone said it to you in real life.
on 11 September 2011
I read nearly as many American books as British. It has never been a problem before. But it was with this book. At one point I wondered if the whole thing was a propaganda piece against under-age drinking in America. My view, and I should think many Brits agree with me, is that something strange and even hypocritical is going on when adult students 18+ cannot drink legally. It seemed to me that it was this, rather than anything else which caused the central accident to occur. Instead of planning a night out with maybe a lift there and taxi arranged back, young adults are 'put on their honour' not to drink. Coincidentally I met an American student studying over here recently. After a couple of glasses of wine she confided that her mother had made her swear not to drink or have sex until she was twenty-one, still two years away. She was extremely unhappy about her inability to talk openly to her mother partly because of this unrealistic promise.
My view is addressed by the author in the book as 'A few whack jobs even blamed the drinking age, saying that if it were eighteen, things like this wouldn't happen'. I suppose I am one of those 'whack jobs'.
So to me although the story rattled along and held my interest, I just could not fully empathise with any of the cast of characters.
There were quite a lot of typos, these were all gaps in the mid dle of a wo rd - rather irritating.
on 18 August 2011
As a first time reader of Hannah's, I wasn't entirely what to expect from this novel, but as the other reviewer's have said: the synopsis on the back cover really doesn't do this novel justice. This is a story about friendships, love and families but is also a book laden with guilt, compassion and forgiveness and I couldn't put it down.
The book sees orphaned Lexi moving to live with an estranged aunt and becoming friends with Mia on the first day of high school. Lexi has been through some impossibly hard times in her life whereas Mia and her twin brother Zach have had everything they could possibly want, yet somehow the three of them are soul mates. The twins' mother, Jude, also thinks of Lexi as another daughter, so when tragedy strikes one summer evening so many lives are inextricably torn apart...
I found this to be a really moving tale of grief and sadness with a plot that flows beautifully. From the outset of the novel you are pulled directly into the lives of all of those involved so when they are devastated, you too can feel their emotions and you wonder how you too, could handle such a situation. It is very realistic.
I did have a few little niggles with the book though: I found Jude's inherent over-protectiveness of Zach and Mia to be so irritating. Possibly this is because I'm not a mother myself, but her complete pushiness was so tedious and I almost stopped reading at one point owing to this. Later in the book however I grew to really dislike her again- she was definitely a character to empathise with though, despite not really liking her. I'm glad I stuck with the book however and I did find her interesting and believable as a character- as I did with all the characters.
I did find the ending to be just a little bit rushed however- and possibly not as in-keeping with the rest of the novel, which is why I have deducted 1 star. Given the events that had happened I found the nature with which events occurred to move perhaps just a little bit too fast and be a little bit *too* perfect for my liking.
If you are a fan of Jodi Picoult or Diane Chamberlain then I think this is a must-read for you. I am now really looking forward to reading through this author's back catalogue of books.
on 15 September 2011
I agree with the reviewer who pointed out that whilst this book has a very high rating it has very few reviews given how many thousands of units must have been shifted.
It is badly written (four uses of the word "dully" over 2 pages - surely the writer could have found a synonym) and concentrates on what clothing the characters are wearing more than how they are feeling (although, they are generally feeling "dully" about things).
It's a grown up version of Twilight - another terrible book - I don't sympathise with a single one of the characters. I haven't read anything else by Kristin Hannah but from the reviews I've read of her other books it sounds very much like she has a formula and she sticks to it. I get the impression that the only thing she changes from book to book is the characters' - it seems wrong to refer to them as characters when none of them have any! - names
Lexi makes one bad decision after another and, if she were half as bright as she's intended to come across as, would have realised this quite quickly.
Mia is incredibly wet and you feel that if she had lived it would have had to have been in Lexi and Zac's basement as she was too much of a weakling to even go to university unless her brother went with her.
Zac is generic popular teenage boy. Clearly the writer didn't waste a second on building him a character.
Jules has a difficult relationship with her mother. We're supposed to absolutely detest her evil mother but I found this impossible as the only thing she did that seemed even remotely awful was refer to Jude by her full first name of Judith. The horror! Jude behaves like a petulant teenager whenever her mother is around.
The character of Miles, much like Zac, wasn't given a moment's thought by the writer. He is simply strong-surgeon/dad type.
The only character who has even a shred of personality is Eva. I would have enjoyed the book a lot more if Eva had kicked off and added a bit of grit to the proceedings. Unfortunately, she moves to Florida as clearly Kristin Hannah couldn't understand why anyone who isn't a complete drip was in one of her books.
on 16 July 2011
This is not my preferred genre of book to read, but I am trying all the books that are part of the TV Book Club, and I am so pleased that I gave it a go.
Night Road leads you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions; sadness, laughter, morality, happiness, etc.
The book is based around a terrible event that rips apart the lives of all the characters. It really made me think about how I would react if I ever found myself in the same situation.
For me the highlight of the book is that I could easily relate to the characters and imagine myself in their position. The beginning half of the book I loved, it is funny in parts, genuine and really grips you. I found myself wanting to read more and more, and actually finished it in a day, sadly, as I would have liked to keep going.
The book description I find does not do it justice and had I stumbled across this without any recommendation, I would probably never have bought it. Its a great book that would be an excellent summer read, or a great Sunday snuggled on the sofa book. I would definately recommend this to family or friends, its really worth giving it a go.
on 9 November 2013
Lexi has been passed from foster home to foster home until eventually her maternal great-aunt Eva is found. Lexi is thrilled to find out that Eva wants her to move in with her but reluctant to let the past go fearing she'd be rejected again. During first class of the first day of high school she meets Zach, the good-looking, popular kid, she likes him but doesn't think the feelings are reciprocated. During lunch she meets Mia, a shy, lonely girl and they connect instantly. What Lexi learns to realise is that you can love your best friend and her brother simultaneously.. but where there is love there is also heartache.
This book is about love, hope, friendship, grieving, loss, forgiveness, acceptance and letting go. I love it. It's beautifully written and tugs at your heart strings. It takes you on a whirlwind of emotions - laughing one minute and then sobbing the next. It is truly one of those books that you will never forget.
The characters were amazing and you felt connected to them, there's no other way to describe them. They felt real, their emotions felt real. I absolutely adored Zach, he tugged at my heart strings and made me want to reach through the book and just give him a nice big, friendly hug. To me he suffered the most but he always seemed to pick himself up and carry on even when he just wanted to curl up and grieve for his loss. Lexi was wonderfully written about, she was a well developed character, the way she grew in the book was astonishing. Jude was another character who was well developed she's one of those overbearing mums but her heart was always in the right place until she lost sight of who she was.
The book tied up nicely at the end. It all came together nicely and didn't leave you questioning anything. Even though I read this book a few years ago I still had no idea what was going to happen next. The story was gripping and definitely makes you want to keep turning the page. I will be recommending this book for years to come.
on 5 June 2016
This book was recommended to me but with no clues as to content, storyline or genre. I started to read and was slowly drawn into the characters and the story being told. After a while it became compelling to read & I couldn't see where it was going or how it would end, but the conclusion was fitting. I enjoyed the read and would recommend to friends
on 12 August 2015
It's not often I find a story that moves me to tears but this one did just that - perhaps being the mother of twins myself made the story have special resonance. Both Jude and Lexi have real "mother" issues which need to be resolved before they can move forward. This is a powerful story of teenage friendship, love, mistakes and tragedy.