Night Road by Kristin Hannah

Being able to pre-order new releases before they come out on the Kindle is pretty sweet.  It’s nice because you don’t pay for the book until it is automatically delivered to your Kindle on release day so you can pre-order books months in advance and not spend all of that money all at once.  I couldn’t wait to read Kristin Hannah’s newest book that just came out a few weeks ago.

Night Road” is told in chunks of time.  It starts out in 2000 when twin teenagers Mia and Zach are entering high school.  The twins are inseparable, even though they are somewhat different: Zach plays sports and is quite popular; Mia is quiet, shy, and doesn’t really have her own set of friends outside of Zach’s.  They seem to balance each other out and are quite dependent on each other.  At this same time, another girl named Lexi, an orphan who has bounced from foster home to foster home, moves into their small town in Washington to be taken in by her great aunt who she has never met before.  Lexi is a bit of a loner herself and on the first day of high school, Lexi and Mia meet during lunch and quickly become best friends.  Judy, Mia and Zach’s mother, has initial concerns about Lexi (her family history, background, etc.) since  their family is quite well-to-do.  Judy is also worried that Lexi will use Mia to get to Zach, which is what happened with another friend of Mia’s in the past.

Fast forward a few years: all this time, Lexi has had a secret crush on Zach but hasn’t done anything about it due to Judy’s concerns.  After a party, Lexi comes on to Zach and he later reveals that he’s had feelings for her the whole time, too.  As Lexi and Zach begin a relationship, and after Mia and Judy’s initial shock wears off, the three teens become as close as ever.  Mia and Zach are both accepted into USC for college, while Lexi can only afford to go to the community college.  Zach doesn’t want to leave Lexi and wants to stay behind in Washington with her, but Mia is too scared to go off to college by herself.

All three kids go to the big graduation celebration party held by one of their classmates at the end of the year.  They drink at the party, even though they promised Judy they wouldn’t.  When it’s time to leave and all three are drunk, Zach and Mia are too afraid to call their mother for a ride even though Judy said they can always call instead of driving after drinking.  What happens next will change everyone’s lives…

I hate leaving you with a cliche cliffhanger like that but that’s really all I can say without giving major spoilers.   I have a habit of not reading the book jacket/summary for authors I like so I had no clue what was going to happen in this book so even up to this point, everything was a surprise to me.

I’ve enjoyed all of Kristin Hannah‘s other books so far but this one was really captivating.  There is so much that happens in the book (so much more after I stopped my summary above) but it’s easy to digest because she breaks it into chunks of years over a decade or so with gaps in between.  I will tell you right now that I almost cried a number of times while reading this but held it in because I was reading it while sitting in the waiting area at the mechanic while getting my car worked on and there were other people around.  The characters were really realistic and the story really draws you in.  I found myself siding with certain characters over others.

I know it’s not summer yet, but if you have any spring vacations coming up and you don’t mind an emotional, potentially tear-jerking book, add this to your reading list.

2012 Reading Challenge

2012 Reading Challenge
Jaci has read 1 book toward her goal of 35 books.
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