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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Night Road by Kristin Hannah

Publication Date: March 22nd 2011
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Grief
My Goodreads Rating: 4/5
Source: Own Copy

This novel was a recommendation by my mom, and I was surprisingly  interested in the story right from the beginning. I can't say that this book has been on my to-read list for a long time, but I simply can't understand why I didn't pick up this book earlier!
 Night Road by Kristin Hannah follows the story of a young teen who's been in the foster care system since she can remember. Alexa (or Lexi) has finally found her permanent home with her Great Aunt. Her social worker enrolls her in a prestigious high school, where she befriends Mia, an introvert who's twin brother is the school's most popular boy.

 The book begins with Alexa looking back at her time as a teenage girl who'd finally achieved her dream of family and friendship. Kristin hints at a tragedy but parallels it with happy memories. When the prologue ends, the readers find themselves transported back in time to Lexi's initial appointment with her Great-Aunt.
 For the first few chapters, Hannah writes about the friendship that blossoms between the two girls and the relationships that follow between Mia, Lexi, and Zach (twin). She also focuses on the life of Mia and Zach's mom, Jude, and her family relations. However, the novel soon dives from the safe waters of friendship into the deep, dark waters of tragedy. 
  As an accident rips apart Jude, Mia, Zach and Lexi, the story veers into a more mature aspect of life, and focuses primarily on family. Lexi gives up her freedom to repent, and Jude can no longer comprehend the idea of motherhood. Zach is left alone with a beautiful daughter that reminds him too much of that infamous night. 
 Kristin Hannah writes with many underlying themes, as most authors do. Friendship and Family are the more obvious ones, but she also makes prominent the difference in the character's lifestyles. In my opinion, Hannah was attempting to bring out the bonds that can be formed over difference. 
 There is no doubt that my favorite part of Hannah's writing is her characterization. Drowned in emotion, each character progresses in their own miraculous way through the novel and is dynamic in their own right. Although it is arguable that the characters tend to seep into one another at the beginning of the story, by the end, each one has their own separate identity. Mia is given a quirky sense of humour, and Lexi a sense of responsibility. Zach is the caring but outgoing brother, while Jude is kind and constantly worried. 
 The only thing I found amiss with the novel was the ending. I found it a bit fantastical that all problems were put on the back burner. I'd also really hoped for a more conclusive end, however that tends to be my wish with every read, so I don't think that's necessarily a common perspective. There are readers who prefer to imagine their own endings.

I'd recommend this book to any Young Adult readers out there. In fact, it's a great adult read too. Initially you may consider it a break from heavy reading, but as you progress through the novel you will find that isn't the case. However, I love that the beginning does provide enough happiness to carry you through the whole book. Have any of you read any Kristin Hannah books? Let me know which ones in the comments below!

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