Book Review: Night Road

Night RoadNight Road by Kristin Hannah
My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

This is the first Kristin Hannah book I’ve read so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I found it to be a Lifetime Movie in print form. It had the requisite broadly painted characters – the overprotective mom (Jude), the detached father (Miles), the son who’s the most popular kid in school (Zach) and his misfit twin sister who has grown up in her brother’s shadow (Mia) and Mia’s best friend Lexi – the kid who has grown up in foster care and come out of it with a martyr complex.

Jude has got to be one of the worst mothers ever. She is today’s typical helicopter mom, directing every move of her children’s lives while indulging them in the worst way. After the tragedy that is heavily foreshadowed in the first pages of the book happens, she becomes the most self-involved bitch you can imagine. I had no sympathy for her and couldn’t find any redeeming qualities about her.

I found the things that happened to Lexi, the kid from the wrong side of the tracks that befriends Mia, fairly unrealistic. Being a foster parent myself, I know that a social worker does not just wake a 14 year old child up at the break of dawn and say, “Guess what – we’re flying halfway across the country so you can live with your aunt.” – unless they are a very bad social worker. She would talk to the child about it well before the moving day and at least have the child talk on the phone to the aunt before moving in with her. Anyway, I found just about everything that happened to Lexi or that she did pretty unbelievable but I just had to let that go so I could enjoy the story.

I really wanted to dislike this book. Especially since I’ve recently read Every Last One by Anna Quindlen which has similar themes but a much better developed characters and better written story. The whole time I was reading Night Road, I was thinking to myself how predictable the story line was and how one-dimensional the characters were. But just like I can get sucked into a Lifetime Movie while flipping channels and two hours later wonder why I watched the whole thing, I could not put this book down. It’s definitely a guilty pleasure read.

(I received this book courtesy of the publisher and the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.)