Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Night Road // book review

So I was thinking to myself that today would be a good day to write a post, but I didn't really have much to say. I've been working at my church's VBS this week and although I'd be happy to write a whole big long post about it, it would mostly consist of me being happy and talking about a whole lot of meaningless day-camp jumble that only makes sense to me.
And as fascinating as I'm sure that would be....no. ☺ I'm not going to do that.

So then we went to the library and I read a book and spent so much time mentally dissecting it that I thought I might as well write a book review.

For eighteen years, Jude Farraday has put her children’s needs above her own, and it shows—her twins, Mia and Zach—are bright and happy teenagers.  When Lexi Baill moves into their small, close knit community, no one is more welcoming than Jude.  Lexi, a former foster child with a dark past, quickly becomes Mia’s best friend.  Then Zach falls in love with Lexi and the three become inseparable.   
Jude does everything to keep her kids on track for college and out of harm’s way.  It has always been easy-- until senior year of high school.  Suddenly she is at a loss.  Nothing feels safe anymore; every time her kids leave the house, she worries about them. 
On a hot summer’s night her worst fears come true. One decision will change the course of their lives.  In the blink of an eye, the Farraday family will be torn apart and Lexi will lose everything.  In the years that follow, each must face the consequences of that single night and find a way to forget…or the courage to forgive. (summary taken from amazon.ca)

I'm not really sure what to say about this book. On one hand, it was an emotional powerhouse of a story. I was so drawn to the characters - there were a couple of spots where I thought I might end up with a tear or two, which doesn't normally happen to me. I grieved with the characters, felt their horror at certain events, screamed along with Jude after her worst fears come true.

On the other hand...the ending was way too perfect. Like, waaaaay too perfect. The characters spend the whole book trying to put their lives back together (in a very broken and believable way) and then as the storyline moved closer to the end, things just started falling into place and the road to recovery became straight as an arrow, easy-peasy...and then the final chapter was presented with every loose end tied neatly into a little bow, with each character well on their way to happiness.
I mean, I love a happy ending, I really do. I wish all books ended happily, but I can't help feeling disappointed when they do. Because life isn't neat and tidy with everyone well on their way to a happy ending. People are broken. And the characters in Night Road were broken, but the final few chapters made it seem as though the rest of the book was a hiccup - like they'd go back to normal now. And that totally doesn't suit the book, because as I said - it was a powerful story, full of emotion and truth and realness. The last few chapters didn't fit with that feeling of reality, and that bothered me. It was too perfect.

Throughout the book, though, I just constantly kept thinking about how true the writing was. It's not a Christian novel, and the characters weren't Christian, didn't attend church...but all the same, I just had a feeling the whole time I was reading...like there was a lot of Truth in Kristin Hannah's writing. I don't remember ever having that particular feeling before, and it was really cool - I came away from the book just feeling good. Like I'd learned something, grown, maybe.

And then...there were a couple places (maybe four?) which I chose to skip because of the content. A couple of the teenage characters sleep together, and although those sections were relatively small, I'm really not a fan of reading detailed descriptions of that nature. I wasn't too bothered by them - I still recommend the book - but it's definitely something to be aware of if you decide to read Night Road.

Overall, I think my rating boils down to characters: 8/10, basic plotline: 5/10, style/emotion: 9/10, with a total rating of 7/10 stars. if you decide to go ahead and pick it up, let me know! I'd love to hear your thoughts on it.


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