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 Mia and Zach leave the house, she worries about them.
On a hot summer’s night her worst fears are realized. 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.
Vivid, universal, and emotionally complex, Night Road raises profound questions about motherhood, identity, love, and forgiveness. It is a luminous, heartbreaking novel that captures both the exquisite pain of loss and the stunning power of hope. This is Kristin Hannah at her very best, telling an unforgettable story about the longing for family, the resilience of the human heart, and the courage it takes to forgive the people we love.
About the Author
KRISTIN HANNAH is the New York Times bestselling author of eighteen novels. A former lawyer turned writer, she is the mother of one son and lives with her husband in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii.
Read an Excerpt
NIGHT ROAD Kristin Hannah
She stands at the hairpin turn on Night Road.
On either side of her, giant evergreens grow clustered together, rising high into the blue summer sky. Even now, in midday, this stubbled, winding ribbon of asphalt holds the morning mist close.
This road is like her life; knee deep in shadow. Once, it had been the quickest way home and she’d taken it easily, turning onto its potholed surface without a second thought, rarely noticing how the earth dropped away on either edge. Her mind had been on other things back then, on the miniutae of everyday life. Chores. Errands. Schedules.
She hadn’t taken this route in years. Just the thought of it had been enough to make her turn the steering wheel too sharply; better to go off the road than to find herself here. Or so she’d thought until today.
People on the island still talk about what happened in the summer of ’04. They sit on barstools and in porch swings and spout opinions, half truths, making judgments that aren’t theirs to make. They think a few columns in a newspaper give them the facts they need. But the facts are hardly what matter.
If anyone sees her here, just standing on this lonely roadside in a gathering mist, it will all come up again. Like her, they’ll remember that night, so long ago, when the rain turned to ash….
“Midway upon the journey of our life I found myself within a forest dark,
For the straightforward pathway had been lost.”
—The Inferno by Dante Alighieri
Lexi Baill had studied a Washington State map until the tiny red geographical markings shimmied in front of her tired eyes. There was a vaguely magical air about the place names; they hinted at a landscape she could hardly imagine, of snow draped mountains that came right down to the water’s edge, of trees as tall and straight as church steeples, of an endless, smogless blue sky. She pictured eagles perched on telephone poles and night skies filled with stars. Bears probably crept through the quiet subdivisions at night, looking for places that not long ago had been theirs.
Her new home.
She wanted to think that her life would be different there. But how could she believe that, really? At fourteen, she might not know much, but she knew this: kids in the system were returnable, like old soda bottles and shoes that pinched your toes.
Yesterday, she’d been wakened early by her caseworker and told to pack her things. Again.
“I have good news,” Mrs. Watters had said.
Even half asleep, Lexi knew what that meant. “Another family. That’s great. Thanks, Ms. Watters.”
“Not just a family. Your family.”
“Right. Of course. My new family. It’ll be great.”
Ms. Watters made that disappointed sound, a soft exhalation of breath that wasn’t quite a sigh. “You’ve been strong, Lexi. For so long.”
Lexi tried to smile. “Don’t feel bad, Mrs. W. I know how hard it is to place older kids. And the Rexler family was cool. If my mom hadn’t come back, I think that one would have worked out.”
“None of it was your fault, you know.”
“Yeah,” Lexi said. On good days she could make herself believe that the people who turned her away had their own problems. On bad days—and they were coming more often lately—she wondered what was wrong with her, why she was so easy to leave.
“You have relatives, Lexi. I found your great aunt. Her name is Eva Lange. She’s sixty-six years old and she lives in Port George, Washington.”
Lexi sat up. “What? My mom said I had no relatives.”
“Your mother was…mistaken. You do have family.”
Lexi had spent a lifetime waiting for those few precious words. Her world had always been dangerous, uncertain, a ship heading for the shoals. She had grown up mostly alone, among strangers, a modern day feral child fighting for scraps of food and attention, never receiving enough of either. Most of it she’d blocked out entirely, but when she tried—when one of the State shrinks made her try—she could remember being hungry, wet, reaching out for a mother who was too high to hear her or too strung out to care. She remembered sitting for days in a dirty playpen, crying, waiting for someone to remember her existence.
Now, she stared out the dirty window of a Greyhound bus. Her caseworker sat beside her, reading a romance novel.
After more than nineteen hours, they were finally nearing their destination. Outside, a steel wool sky obliterated the treetops. Rain caused squiggling patterns on the window, blurring the view. It was like another planet here in Washington; gone were the sun scorched bread-crust colored hills of Southern California and the gray crisscross of traffic-clogged freeways. The trees were steroid-big; so were the mountains. Everything seemed overgrown and wild.
The bus pulled up to a squat, cement colored terminal and came to a wheezing, jerking stop. A cloud of black smoke wafted across her window, obscuring her view of the parking lot for a moment; then the rain pounded it into nothingness. The bus doors whooshed open.
She heard Mrs. Watter’s voice and thought move, Lexi, but she couldn’t do it. She looked up at the woman who had been the only steady presence in her life for the last six years. Every time a foster family gave up on Lexi, returned her like a piece of fruit gone bad, Mrs. Watters had been there, waiting with a sad little smile. It wasn’t much to return to, maybe, but it was all Lexi knew, and suddenly she was afraid to lose even that small familiarity.
“What if she doesn’t come?” Lexi asked.
Mrs. Watters held out her hand, with its veiny, twig-like fingers and big knuckles. “She will.”
Lexi took a deep breath. She could do this. Of course she could. She had moved into seven foster homes in the past five years, and gone to six different schools in the same amount of time. She could handle this.
She reached out for Mrs. Watters’ hand. They walked single file down the narrow bus aisle, bumping the cushioned seats on either side of them.
Off the bus, Lexi retrieved her banged up blue suitcase, which was almost too heavy to carry, filled as it was with the only things that really mattered to her: books. She dragged it to the very edge of the sidewalk and stood there, perched at the rim of the curb. It felt like a dangerous drop off, that little cliff of concrete. One wrong step could break a bone or send her headlong into traffic.
Mrs. Watters came up beside Lexi, opening an umbrella. The rain made a thumping sound on the stretched nylon.
One by one, the passengers disembarked from the bus and disappeared.
Lexi looked out at the empty parking lot and wanted to cry. How many times had she been in exactly this position? Every time Momma dried out, she came back for her daughter. Give me another chance, baby girl. Tell the nice judge here you love me. I’ll be better this time…I won’t forget about you no more. And every time, Lexi waited. “She probably changed her mind.”
“That won’t happen, Lexi.”
“You have family, Lexi,” Ms. Watters repeated the terrifying words and Lexi slipped; hope tiptoed in.
“Family.” She dared to test out the unfamiliar word. It melted on her tongue like candy, leaving sweetness behind.
A battered blue Ford Fairlane pulled up in front of them and parked. The car was dented along the fender and dirty. Duct tape criss-crossed a cracked window.
The driver’s door opened slowly and a woman emerged. She was short and gray-haired, with watery brown eyes and the kind of diamond-patterned skin that came with heavy smoking. Amazingly, she looked familiar—like an older, wrinkled version of Momma. At that, the impossible word came back to Lexi, swollen now with meaning. Family.
“Alexa?” the woman said in a scratchy voice.
Lexi couldn’t make herself answer. She wanted this woman to smile, or maybe even hug her, but Eva Lange just stood there, her dried-apple face turned into a deep frown.
“I’m your great aunt. Your grandmother’s sister.”
“I never knew my grandmother,” was all Lexi could think of to say.
“All this time, I thought you were living with your daddy’s people.”
“I don’t have a dad. I mean, I don’t know who he is. Momma didn’t know.”
Aunt Eva sighed. “I know that now, thanks to Ms. Watters here. Is that all your your stuff?”
Lexi felt a wave of shame. It was all she had, just the one suitcase. “Yeah.”
Mrs. Watters gently took the suitcase from Lexi and put it in the back seat. “Go on, Lexi. Get in the car. Your aunt wants you to live with her.”
Yeah, for now.
Mrs. Watters pulled Lexi into a fierce hug, whispering, “Don’t be afraid.”
Lexi almost hung on too long. At the last second, before it turned embarrassing, she let go and stumbled free. She went to the battered car and wrenched the door open. It rattled and pinged and swung wide.
Inside, the car had two brown vinyl bench seats, with cracked seams that burped up a gray padding. It smelled like a mixture of mint and smoke, as if a million menthol cigarettes had been smoked within.
Lexi sat as close to the door as possible. Through the cracked window, she waved at Mrs. Watters, watching her caseworker disappear into the gray haze as they drove away. She let her fingertips graze the cold glass, as if a little touch like that could connect her with a woman she could no longer see.
“I was sorry to hear about your momma passing,” Aunt Eva said after a long and uncomfortable silence. “She’s in a better place now. That must be a comfort to you.”
Lexi had never known what to say to that. It was a sentiment she’d heard from every stranger who’d ever taken her in. Poor Lexi, with her dead drug-addict mother. But no one really knew what Momma’s life had been like—the men, the heroin, the vomiting, the pain. Or how terrible the end had been. Only Lexi knew all of that.
She stared out the window at this new place of hers. It was bold and green and dark, even in the middle of the day. After a few miles, a sign welcomed them to the Port George reservation. Here, there were Native American symbols everywhere. Carved orca whales marked the shopfronts. Manufactured homes sat on untended lots, many of them with rusting cars or appliances in the yard. On this late August afternoon, empty fireworks stands attested to the recent holiday, and a glittering casino was being built on a hillside overlooking the Sound.
Signs led the way to the Chief Sealth Mobile home park. Aunt Eva drove through the park and pulled up in front of a yellow and white double wide trailer. In the misty rain, it looked blurred somehow, rounded with disappointment. Plastic gray pots full of leggy, dying petunias guarded the front door, which was painted easter egg blue. In the front window, a pair of plaid curtains hung like a pair of fabric hourglasses, cinched in the middle with strands of fuzzy yellow yarn.
“It isn’t much,” Aunt Eva said, looking ashamed. “I rent from the Tribe.”
Lexi didn’t know what to say. If her aunt had seen some of the places Lexi had lived in her life, she wouldn’t have made excuses for this pretty little trailer. “It’s nice.”
“Come on,” her aunt said, turning off the engine.
Lexi followed her aunt across a gravel path and up to the front door. Inside, the mobile home was neat as a pin. A small, L-shaped kitchen sidled up to a dining area that held a yellow speckled Formica and chrome table with four metal chairs. In the living room, a plaid loveseat and two blue vinyl La-Z-boys faced a T.V. on a metal stand. On the end table there were two pictures—one of an old woman with horn-rimmed glasses and one of Elvis. The air smelled like cigarette smoke and fake flowers. There were purple air fresheners hanging from almost every knob in the kitchen.
“Sorry if the place kinda smells. I quit smoking last week-when I found out about you,” Aunt Eva said, turning to look at Lexi. “Secondhand smoke and kids is a bad mix, right?”
A strange feeling unfurled inside of Lexi; it was birdlike, fluttery, and so foreign she didn’t recognize the emotion right away.
Don’t care. Don’t care. She tried to follow her own advice, but she couldn’t do it. This woman, this aunt, had quit smoking for her. And she’d taken Lexi in when obviously money was tight. She looked at the woman, wanting to say something, but nothing came out. She was afraid she might jinx everything with the wrong word.
“I’m kinda outta my depth here, Lexi,” Aunt Eva finally said. “Oscar and me—he was my husband—we never had kids. Tried, just din’t. So, I don’t know about raising kids. If you’re gonna be—“
“I’ll be good. I swear it.” Don’t change your mind. Please. “If you keep me, you won’t be sorry.”
“If I keep you?” Aunt Eva pursed her thin lips, gave a little frown. “Your momma sure did a number on you. Can’t say I’m surprised. She broke my sister’s heart, too.”
“She was good at hurting people,” Lexi said quietly.
“We’re family,” Eva said.
“I don’t really know what that means.”
Aunt Eva smiled, but it was sad, that smile, and it wounded Lexi, reminded her that she was a little broken. Life with Momma had left its mark. “It means you’re staying here with me. And I guess you’d best just call me Eva from now on, ‘cause that Aunt bit is gonna get old fast.” She started to turn away.
Lexi reached out and grabbed her aunt’s thin wrist, feeling the velvety soft skin wrinkle in her grasp. She hadn’t meant to do it, shouldn’t have done it, but it was too late now.
“What is it, Lexi?” her aunt said, frowning.
Lexi could hardly form the two small words; they felt like a pair of stones in her tight throat. But she had to say them. Had to. “Thank you,” she said, her eyes stinging. “I won’t cause you any trouble. I swear it.”
“You probably will,” Eva said, and finally, she smiled. “You’re a teenager, right? But it’s okay, Lexi. It’s okay. I’ve been alone a long time. I’m glad you’re here.”
Lexi could only nod. She’d been alone a long time, too.
Jude Farraday hadn’t slept at all last night. Finally, just before dawn, she gave up even trying. Peeling back the summerweight comforter, taking care not to wake her sleeping husband, she got out of bed and left her bedroom. Opening the French doors quietly, she stepped outside and watched the sunrise.
In the emergent light, her backyard glistened with dew; lush green grass sloped gently down to a sandy gray pebbled beach. Beyond it, the Sound was a series of charcoal colored waves that rolled and rolled, their peaks painted orange by the dawn. On the opposite shore, the Olympic mountain range was a jagged line of pink and lavender.
She stepped into the orange plastic gardening clogs that were always by this door and went into her garden.
This patch of land was more than just her pride and joy. It was her sanctuary. Here, hunkered down in the rich black earth, she planted and replanted, divided and pruned. Within these low stone walls, she had created a world that was wholly defined by beauty and order. The things she planted in this ground stayed where she put them; they sent out roots that ran deep into this land. No matter how cold and bitter the winter or how driving the rainstorms, her beloved plants came back to life, returning with the seasons. Over the years, as this garden bloomed and matured, so too had her children.
“You’re up early.”
She turned. Her husband stood on the stone patio, just outside their bedroom door. In a pair of black boxer shorts, with his too long, graying-blond hair still tangled from sleep, he looked like some sexy Classics professor or a just-past-his-prime rock star. No one wonder she’d fallen in love with him at first sight, more than twenty four years ago.
She kicked off the orange clogs and walked along the stone path from the garden to the patio. “I couldn’t sleep,” she confessed.
He took her in his arms. “It’s the first day of school.”
And there it was, the thing that had crept into her sleep like a burglar and ruined her peace. “I can’t believe they’re starting high school. They were just in kindergarten a second ago.”
“It’s going to be an interesting ride, seeing who they become in the next four years.”
“Interesting for you,” she said. “You’re in the stands, watching the game. I’m down on the field, taking the hits. I’m terrified something will go wrong.”
“What can go wrong? They’re smart, curious, loving kids. They’ve got everything going for them.”
“What can go wrong? Are you kidding? It’s…dangerous out there, Miles. We’ve been able to keep them safe up until now, but high school is different.”
“You’re going to have to let up a little, you know.”
It was the sort of thing he said to her all the time. A lot of people gave her the same advice, actually, and had for years. She’d been criticized for holding the reins of parenthood too tightly, of controlling her children too completely, but she didn’t know how to let go. From the moment she’d first decided to become a mother, it had been an epic battle. She had suffered through three miscarriages before the twins. And there had been month after month when the arrival of her period had sent her into a gray and hazy depression. Then, a miracle: she’d conceived again. The pregnancy had been difficult, always tenuous, and she’d been sentenced to almost six months of bed rest. Every day as she’d lain in that bed, imagining her babies, she’d pictured it as a war, a battle of wills. She’d held on with all her heart. “Not yet,” she finally said. “They’re only fourteen.”
“Jude,” he said, sighing. “Just a little. That’s all I’m saying. You check their homework every day and chaperone every dance and organize every school function. You make them breakfast and drive them everywhere they need to go. You clean their rooms and wash their clothes. If they forget to do their chores, you make excuses and do it all yourself. They’re not Spotted Owls. Let them loose a little.”
“What should I give up? If I stop checking homework, Mia will stop doing it. Or maybe I should quit calling their friends’ parents to make sure the kids are going where they say they’re going? When I was in high school we had keggars every weekend and two of my girlfriends got pregnant. I need to keep better track of them now, trust me. So many things can go wrong in the next four years. I need to protect them. Once they go to college, I’ll relax. I promise.”
“The right college,” he teased, but they both knew it wasn’t really a joke. The twins were freshmen in high school and Jude had already begun to research colleges.
She looked up at him, wanting him to understand. He thought she was too invested in their children, and she understood his concern, but she was a mother, and she didn’t know how to be casual about it. She knew how it felt to be your mother’s last concern. She couldn’t stand the thought that her children would grow up as she had, feeling unloved.
“You’re nothing like her, Jude,” he said quietly, and she loved him for saying it. She rested against him; together they watched the day brighten, and Miles finally said, “Well, I better get up. I have a surgery at ten.”
She kissed him deeply, then followed him back into the house. After a quick shower, she dried her shoulder length blonde hair, put on a thin layer of makeup and dressed in jeans and an oversized lightweight cashmere sweater. Opening her dresser drawer, she withdrew two small, wrapped packages; one for each of her children. Taking them with her, she walked out of her bedroom, down the wide slate hallway. With morning sunlight streaming through the floor-to-ceiling windows, this house, constructed mostly of glass and stone and exotic woods, seemed almost to glow from within. On this main floor, every viewpoint boasted some decorating treasure. Jude had spent four years huddled with architects and designers to make this home spectacular, and her every dream for it had been realized.
Upstairs, it was a different story. Here, at the top of a floating stone and copper stairway, it was kidland. A giant media room, complete with big screen TV and a pool table, dominated the east side of the house. Additionally there were two large bedrooms, each with their own en suite bathrooms.
At Mia’s bedroom door, she knocked perfunctorily and went inside.
As expected, she found her fourteen year old daughter sprawled on top of the blankets in her four-postered bed, asleep. There were clothes everywhere, like shrapnel from some mythic explosion, heaped and piled and kicked aside. Mia was actively engaged in a search for identity and each new attempt required a radical clothing change.
Jude sat down on the edge of the bed and stroked the soft blond hair that fell across Mia’s cheek. For a moment, time fell away; suddenly she was a young mother again, looking down at a cherubic girl with cornsilk hair and a gummy grin, who’d followed her twin brother around like a little shadow. They’d been like puppies, scrambling over each other in their exuberant play, chattering nonstop in their secret language, laughing, tumbling off sofa and steps and laps. From the very start, Zach had been the leader of this pair. He’d spoken first and most often. Mia had uttered a real word until after her fourth birthday. She hadn’t needed to; her brother was there for her. Then and now.
They’d been so close that change—and danger—had crept up slowly, almost without Jude’s noticing it. Zach had bloomed in junior high; there was no other word for it. With his too-long, wheat blond hair, bottle green eyes, and room-lighting smile, he’d grown into the kind of confidence that brought friends to him like moths to a flame. Mia, on the other hand, had closed up in those same years, become so painfully shy that sometimes her teachers couldn’t even remember if she’d been in class. Zach tried to include his sister in every part of his life, but it wasn’t easy. Mia instinctively hung back. Every time Jude looked at her daughter, she felt Mia’s loneliness like a blow to the heart. “Hey, baby,” she said.
Mia rolled over sleepily and opened her eyes, blinking slowly. Her pale, heart-shaped face, with its gorgeous bone structure—inherited from her father—was an acne battlefield that no amount of care had yet been able to clear. Multi-colored rubberbands looped through her braces. “Hola, Madre.”
“It’s the first day of high school.”
Mia grimaced. “Shoot me. Really.”
“It’ll be better than middle school. You’ll see.”
Mia sighed. “Says you. Can’t you home school me?”
“Remember sixth grade? When I tried to help you with your math homework?”
“Disaster,” Mia said glumly. “It could be better now, though. I wouldn’t get so mad at you.”
Jude stroked her daughter’s soft hair. “You can’t hide out from life, Poppet.”
“I don’t want to hide out from life. Just from High School. It’s like swimming with sharks, Mom. Honest. I could lose a foot.”
Jude couldn’t help smiling. “See? You have a great sense of humor.”
“That’s what they say when they’re trying to set up an ugly girl. Thanks, Madre. And who cares, anyway? It’s not like I have friends.”
“Yes, you do.”
“No. Zach has friends who try to be nice to his loser sister. It’s not the same thing.”
For years, Jude had moved Heaven and Earth to make her children happy, but this was one battle she couldn’t fight. It wasn’t easy to be the shy twin sister of the most popular boy in school. “I have a present for you.”
“Really?” Mia sat up. “What is it?”
“Open it.” Jude offered the small, wrapped box.
Mia ripped open the box. Inside lay a thin pink leather diary with a gleaming brass lock.
“I had one when I was your age, and I wrote down everything that happened to me. It can help—writing stuff down. I was shy, too, you know.”
“But you were beautiful.”
“You’re beautiful, Mia. I wish you saw that.”
“Yeah, right. Zits and braces are all the rage.”
“Just be open to people, okay Mia? This is a new school, make it a new opportunity, okay?”
“Mom, I’ve been going to school with the same kids since kindergarten. I don’t think a new address is going to help. Besides, I tried being open…with Haley, remember?”
“That was more than a year ago, Mia. It doesn’t do any good to focus on the bad things that happen. Today is the first day of high school. A new start.”
“Okay.” Mia tried gamely to smile.
“Good. Now get out of bed. I want to get to school early today, so I can help you find your locker and get you settled into first period. You have Mr. Davies for geometry; I want him to know how well you did on the WASL test.”
Mia groaned. “You are not walking me into class. And I can find my locker by myself, too.”
Intellectually, Jude knew that Mia was right, but Jude wasn’t ready to let go. Not yet. Too many things could go wrong. Mia was fragile, too easily flustered. What if someone made fun of her?
A mother’s job was to protect her kids—whether they wanted it or not. She stood up. “I’ll be practically invisible. You’ll see. No one will even know I’m there.”
Reading Group Guide
For a mother, life comes down to a series of choices.
To hold on…
To let go..
Which road will you take?
For eighteen years, Jude Farraday has put her children's needs above her own, and it showsher twins, Mia and Zachare 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.
Vivid, universal, and emotionally complex, NIGHT ROAD raises profound questions about motherhood, identity, love, and forgiveness. It is a luminous, heartbreaking novel that captures both the exquisite pain of loss and the stunning power of hope. This is Kristin Hannah at her very best, telling an unforgettable story about the longing for family, the resilience of the human heart, and the courage it takes to forgive the people we love.
Discussion Questions for NIGHT ROAD by Kristin Hannah
1. Jude Farraday is obviously a tenacious and committed mother. She very clearly tries to do anything and everything she can to keep her children safe. Do you think all of this effort makes her a "good" mother? Or is she overinvested in her children's lives? Does this kind of micromanaging keep kids safe, or put them in a position where they don't trust their own judgment?
2. One of the powerful themes in this novel is the delicate balance a mother must find between holding on to her children and letting them go. How does Jude succeed in finding this balance? How does she fail?
3. At one point or another in this book, every character feels extreme growing pains. How do you feel each character "grew up" throughout the story?
4. On page seventy-one, Jude observes that her husband accused her of being a helicopter parent, all noise and movement, hovering too close to her children, but if that were true, he was a satellite, positioned so far up in the sky he needed a telescope to track the goings-on in his own home. How does this sentence illustrate Jude's view of motherhood? Is she right? Is Miles unaware of what's going on in his children's lives? How does Jude render Miles ineffective and what is the price for that?
5. Jude seems to make all the rules for her children. Why does she ignore Miles's suggestions and advice? Why does he let her?
6. For years, Jude promised her children that they could "tell her anything, that she would pick them up at night with no questions asked." But when put to the test, she fails. Can you understand why she disciplined her children for drinking? What would you have done?
7. When the senior-year partying starts, Jude knows that her kids are going to parties where alcohol is served, and she gets proof that they are drinking. How should she have handled this? Should she and Miles have forbidden them from going to parties? Why didn't they? What were they afraid of ?
8. In knowing about the drinking, were Jude and Miles tacitly allowing it? Is it enough to tell your kids about the dangers of drinking and driving and then trust them to make good decisions?
9. In many parts of the country, parents choose to have a "take-the-keys" party for their teenage children, with the thought that it will be a safer environment. What do you think of this? Would you do it?
10. Jude seems to find a kind of solace in her grief. It appears that she would rather stop feeling anything than to experience her own pain. Do you think this is believable? Understandable?
11. How did Jude's handling of grief add to the heartache her family suffered? How do her perceptions of fault play into her coldness?
12. Jude has an extremely strained relationship with her own mother. How does this broken relationship contribute to the story?
13. Lexi comes from a very different world than the Farradays. How does her past contribute to the unfolding of the events? How is her past responsible for the decision she makes to drive that night?
14. When Jude discovers the romance between Zach and Lexi, she is immediately worried for Mia. Why? Were her fears justified? WBRT: Prepress/Printer's Proof
15. Lexi pays an very high price for her actions that night. Did she do the right thing by admitting guilt? How does her past play into and contribute to the decisions she makes about Grace?
16. The author seems to be making some strong statements about the judicial system, especially with regard to power and money. Do you agree that Lexi paid a higher price for her guilt because she was powerless and broke?
17. Jude says at one point that she is seeking "justice" from the court. Is she? Did she find it?
18. Assign blame for what happened on that tragic night. How much of what happened is Lexi's fault? Zach's? Jude's? Mia's?
19. Discuss your thoughts about Grace's "invisible" friend. Who is she? How did she help Grace deal with her emotions? 20. In the end of the novel, Jude learns that "in the sea of grief, there were islands of grace, moments in time when one could remember what was left rather than all that had been lost." What does she mean by this? How does it summarize the lessons she and Lexi learned? How will this new understanding change all their lives? Do you believe it? Do you think a person can ever truly overcome a tragedy of this magnitude, and if so, how?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This novel is fantastic! I read it all in one day. It was engaging and completely captivated me until the end. It is a story of three teens who become friends and the way life altering decisions warp the future. Lexi is a foster care child who is sent to Western Washington to live with her only known relative after many years in the system. Her great-aunt gives her hope in life and a stable home. She meets Mia and Zach, twins, who become her family after years of being alone. It's a dream come true for Lexi, until one fateful day when one bad decision shatters the world she knows. It was heartbreaking, poignant, and beautifully written. This is the first novel I've read by Kristin Hannah but it's so enthralling I will be on the lookout for other stories available.
NIGHT ROAD is an inspiring, heartfelt story about love, friendship, forbidden love, acceptance, tragedy, anger, loss and ultimately forgiveness. Lexi Baill is a lonely teen in search of a real home with real friends and family.. a place to belong. When she meets Mia Farraday a fellow loner and kindred spirit, she is immediately welcomed into the Farraday family where Jude, the mom, treats her like a second daughter. Tragedy strikes. Everything changes. A life is lost, another destroyed, the family left with regret and despair. The struggle begins. This story is devastating and heartbreaking as it journeys through many thought-provoking, soul-searching levels in their search for healing. Impacting and poignant, this wonderful storyline will leave you counting the days for Hannah's next book launch.
Great weekend read with great plot and likeable characters. LOVED IT!
Fourteen year old Lexi Baill has bounced between her drug addicted mother and foster care for years. Following her mother's death, a relative is finally located in Washington State. Her elderly Aunt Eva brings her home and provides a stable and loving home for her on the poorer side of this wealthy community. On her first day of school Lexi meets Mia Faraday, a vulnerable and insecure girl, and the two quickly become friends. Lexi is soon a part of the Faraday family, welcomed by Mia's parents, Jude and Miles, as well as Mia's twin brother, Zach. Jude had her own difficult childhood growing up and she is determined to be the perfect mother, totally micromanaging her children's lives and guarding them closely. NIGHT ROAD follows the high school years of the Faradays and Lexi and the burgeoning love between Lexi and Zach until a bad decision and tragedy shatters all of their lives, severing the bonds of family and friendship. Emotionally complex, this powerful novel deals with the intricacies of family life, parenting, despair, hope and the search for forgiveness with heartbreaking realism. I loved this book, but I strongly recommend that you keep the Kleenex handy! Lynn Kimmerle
When I first heard of this book a few months back, I just knew I had to read it. The premise sounded amazing, the cover was eye-catching, and Kristin has received plenty of praise. Therefore, when the chance finally came to read Night Road, I jumped right in, devouring it in one long sitting, as Night Road was simply fantastic. Full of likeable and complex characters, star-crossed romance, and tension, this one read had me flipping the pages as fast as humanly possible. Night Road tells the story of Lexie Baill and the Farraday family. For Jude Farraday, her whole life has been dedicated to her family- specifically her two twins Zach and Mia. However, while Zach is the king of his grade, Mia has always failed to the wayside. Everything changes when Lexie moves to town during the twin's freshman year of high school, though. Scared yet brave, Lexie quickly finds herself part of the Farraday family- another daughter to Jude, a best friend to Mia, and possibly "something more" to Zach. As the years continue, the bond only grows strong...until one horrific accident. Faced with sudden and bone chilling tragedy, everything changes between them all, landing one in jail and the rest in emotional distress. Will they all be able to begin living again? Will they be able to forget and move on before it is too late to do so? Will everything get worse or better in the end? Only time and more pages will tell in this heart wrenching tale of love, hope, and forgiving as well as moving on. Out of everything in this book, I have to say the characters are most likely my favorite aspect. Complex yet loveable, the main characters found in this one where one is who stories caught me from the very first page and kept me until the very last. Specifically, I loved the bonds that developed as the novel progressed. Ones between family, friends, and boyfriends/girlfriends- all were present and in full string. There was the one between Mia, Zach, and Lexie. Complicated as it was, it was easy to see just how much these three loved and adored each other and how far they would go to make the others happy. There was also the one between families, showing how while love is important, sometimes it cannot save everything. However, the thing I loved most about these characters was that they were real. Lexie, Zach, Mia, Jude, and Miles all made mistakes, but they learned from them and improved upon them- even if it did take a long time to do so. More importantly, when faced with tragedy, they grew strong, though in a way that was believable. Moving on, another part of Night Road I found enjoyable was the plot and the execution. Full of twists and turns to keep nearly any reader enthralled with the story at hand, I truly never lost interest, not even once. As I was constantly rooting for the characters on their journey's, sitting on the edge of seat, eating up every word, curious to see what road block would pop up next. Making everything even better was Kristin Hannah's writing. Hannah is one talented storyteller to say the least. She knows how to balance the sad scenes with the funny scenes. More importantly, she knows how to not only bring the characters to life, but also have the reader become dedicated to their stories. Nearly perfect, reading Kristin Hannah's Night Road is the perfect way to spend a day, in my opinion. Grade: A+
Easy reading that keeps your attention! Love every book that I have read by Kristin Hannah!
Its rarely that a book will move me like this one did. I can't stop thinking about it. Kristin Hannah is one of my favorite authors and I've read quite a few of her books - Firefly Lane being my favorite before this. I found myself laughing, crying, agreeing, and not wanting the book to end. Here characters are believable and human. All their frailties and strengths are laid out just as they are in real life. A must read book for anyone who is a mother.
Emotional, unforgettable story. Very well-written.
This book was very sad, but it dealt with issues amonng teens and parents that can go soooo wrong in the teen years. The reality of it is overwhelming but beautifully written. I really don't like the mom in this story, as she doesn't own up to her faults or believe that she is the reason why things went so wrong. Unfortunately the reality of this story rings true in a lot of real life situations that cannot be left behind.
This book dragged on and on and on persecuting a young girl who was nothing but nice to everyone who treated her wrong - especially Jude who, as a mother figure, was worst of all. Then, at the end Jude accepts her and everything is supposed to be all right? Excuse me? Talk about fantasy and unreality, cruelty and down right evil! I can't even give this book a 1/2 rating!
This book had a LOT of plots twists that will keep you turning pages. I have never cried so much over any other book in my life, and i finished it in one day. Well written, this book will make you laugh, cry, and everything in between. Night road is very eventful and my head was practically spinning by the end because of how many twists and turns the book took you on. I recommend this book for ages 10-100 :).
This was my first Kristen Hannah book... but definately not my last!!! It grabbed me from the very beginning - I read it in a day!
This book is a must read for every mother. I am the mother of a teenage daughter and this book has caused me to rethink the way I've handled some things. I can relate to Jude as I am a helicopter mother and want to protect my kids with everything in me. I really enjoyed this book and will recommend it to everyone!!! Life can change on a dime, let your kids know how much you love them and at the same time allow them to experience independance a little as they grow.
This book was so touching. It had me reaching for my tissue box many times. I actually couldn't put it down I finished it in one afternoon. I am recommending this to my friends and family I know they will love it as much as I did.
This book is so powerful that it literally gave me alternating chills and tears. I cried like a baby in the end. My mom's not much of a reader, but when I told her about the story, even she cried! Kristin Hannah has such a gift that the pages just flowed and flowed for me, and I was helpless to put my Nook down, even at 4 am, knowing full well that I had to get up at 7am to be a helicopter mom myself! She brought the characters to life for me so clearly that I literally have not been able to stop thinking about them ever since I started the first page, and even now that I've finished reading it. I would love to talk to someone about this story because it is so controversial, and there are so many ways of looking at the different decisions the characters made. Who's to say what decision any of us would make, or how we would react in the same circumstances. For example, I was so upset with Jude for how she changed, and coukd not be there for her remaining family. But then I got to thinking, how would I live through it if I were to lose one of my children? Especially when your whole life revolves around them as Jude's did. I love happy endings, but I must admit that on the last page as I was sniffling with my tissue, I was left hungering for more. I thinkbthis book will stay with me for a lomg time, if not forever. It is quite possibly life-changing, especially when your children come to be seniors in high school.
This is honestly the best book I've read yet! Night Road is a book that will absolutely keep you on the edge of your seat. I've recommended this book countless numbers of people, reading it myself many times over. Originally, I walked right past the book and my boyfriend pulled it down for me, telling me to give it a shot thinking I would enjoy it. Thanks to him, it's my favorite book :) I would absolutely recommend this to anybody!!
I've read Kristin's other books and she seems to be so sad. I need a happiness when I read. I did enjoy her writing, though.
Loved this book and read it in 1 1/2 days. I felt the book was well-written and the story line very emotionally griping. There were parts where I was drug into the situation by the writing and not many books have that effect on me. It's a book I won't forget.
A bad soap opera.
I had a very hard time putting it down, a friend told me to read this book. If you not had the chance to read it, please do. I want to get more books by her. Happy reading
I absolutely love this book. I have told everyone to start reading Kristin Hannah books. I can't put them down. This is my favorite. The emotional impact really hits home. I have told all my teenage daughtes and their friends to read it. It's a good life lesson about drinking and driving. Read it!!
When my book group won copies of Night Road I have to admit I rolled my eyes and was not looking forward to reading it. Have to confess I ended up so gripped by the story that I read it cover to cover in a single day. Author Kristin Hannah does a beautiful job making every emotion these characters experience come to life in ways so deep and real that you simply cannot walk away from the book. I'm now very much looking forward to discussing this book.
So glad i bought this book...so many emotions packed inside! Definitely get your kleenex ready! Very well written.
Have the tissue box ready, i could not put it down, a great read
A bit difficult to get into though well worth finishing.