Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Guest Review: Night Road - Kristin Hannah

Today I'm handing over to my friend Poppy who has a review for you.  I'm very happy to have her making regular appearances here & hope you'll give her a warm welcome.  Thanks for a fab guest review Poppy :o)

An exquisite, heartbreaking story that speaks to women everywhere about the things that matter most.

People on the island still talk about what happened in the summer of ’04. They sit on bar stools and in porch swings and spout opinions, half-truths, making judgements that aren’t theirs to make. They think a few columns in a newspaper give them the facts they need. Bu the facts are hardly what matter…

Lexi and Mia are inseparable from the moment they start high school. Different in so many ways – Lexi is an orphan and lives with her aunt on a trailer park, while Mia is a golden girl blessed with a loving family and a beautiful home, Yet they recognise something in each other which sets them apart from the crowd, and Mia comes to rely heavily on Lexi’s steadfast friendship. Something which, at first, worries Mia’s mother, Jude.

Mia’s beloved and incredibly good-looking twin brother Zach finds life much less complicated than his sister. Jude thought she’d never have to worry about her son, that he’d always sail through life easily achieving whatever he, and his family, wanted and expected – but then he fell in love.

The summer they graduated is a time they will always remember, and one they could never forget. It is a summer of love, best friends, shared confidences and promises. Then one moment one night changes them all forever. As hearts are broken, loyalties challenged and hopes dashed, the time has come to leave childhood behind and learn to face the future.

Moving, haunting and completely unforgettable, Night Road raises questions no mother, daughter or son would ever want to answer.

Visit Kristin Hannah's website for more information

Poppy's Review:
To be honest this book did not grip me immediately. The prologue based in 2010 alludes to an awful event that happened six years earlier and then the story goes back to begin in 2000. The narrative is seen through the eyes of two central characters, starting with Lexi, who after living in foster care has been taken to live with her Great Aunt Eva, a family member she didn’t know she had. Together they live by humble means, but Lexi is simply grateful to have finally found family and a permanent home.

At school Lexi meets twins Mia and Zach who are blessed with a happy family life with financial stability. Zach is popular and thrives at school but Mia is more of a loner feeling rejected by her peers, when she feels lucky to meet and become best friends with Lexi, who is also subsequently accepted by her family. The narrative is also seen through Jude, the twin’s mother, who is very loving and interested in her children’s lives, but tends to be overprotective in comparison to her laid back husband Miles.

The story shows the lives of these characters over the next few years leading up to the event that happened in 2004, and then how their lives are affected as they attempt to move on afterwards. To me the story felt slow paced and reminded me of a teen show like Dawson’s Creek or Life Unexpected, with the ins and outs of teenage life and the challenges of parenting and setting boundaries. The plot highlights how much the latter teenage years are full of temptation, dramas, a desire to form friendships, love, lust and rebellion….all while having to make career choices for how to start the adult stage of life.

Night Road takes you through ten years of Mia and Zach’s family life along with Lexi, a girl who entered their lives unexpectedly and was welcomed in. This teen drama shows the difficult choices parents and their teenagers both have to make with and independently of each other. It shows how these choices are far from straightforward, or a simpler matter of right or wrong. This story also shows that choices can dramatically change lives forever in positive or negative ways, but the key to living is how you deal with them.

I have recently read more thriller or mystery books where the plot feels more unexpected and provides many twist and turns along the way and I personally did not find Night Road to be a satisfying read due to this reason. The story was emotional but I found it hard to fully invest in the characters, perhaps because for me the plot held no surprises. As I continued to read I could see where the story was going but I did persevere, feeling like I was watching a movie or a teen drama series. The narrative conveyed the thoughts, feelings and emotions of the characters clearly, bringing the reader into their lives to watch as events unfold. I did enjoy reading this novel, but I personally prefer a story which keeps me guessing until the last page. If you love a book which centres around love, lives and relationships, then this well written emotional book is definitely for you.

Source: Received from Macmillan in exchange for an honest review

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