Night Road: A Novel

Night Road: A Novel

by Kristin Hannah

Paperback(First Edition)

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"A rich, multilayered reading experience, and an easy recommendation for book clubs." —Library Journal (starred review)

Life comes down to a series of choices.

To hold on…

To let forget…to forgive…

Which road will you take?

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 out of harm's way. But senior year of high school tests them all. It's a dangerous, explosive season of drinking, driving, parties, and kids who want to let loose. And then on a hot summer's night, one bad decision is made. 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.

"You cannot read Night Road and not be affected by the story and the characters. The total impact of the book will stay with you for days to come after it is finished." —The Huffington Post

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312364434
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 01/03/2012
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 24,333
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.40(d)
Lexile: HL660L (what's this?)

About the Author

Kristin Hannah is the New York Times bestselling author of novels including Firefly Lane, True Colors and Winter Garden. She was born in Southern California and moved to Western Washington when she was eight. A former lawyer, Hannah started writing when she was pregnant and on bed rest for five months. Writing soon became an obsession, and she has been at it ever since. She is the mother of one son and lives with her husband in the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii.

Read an Excerpt

Night Road

Behind the Novel

How little I knew about the world, and about parenting. When my son started school, I relaxed a tiny bit. He had made it past the dangerous years—or so I thought. He had learned how to cross the street, to wear a helmet, to ask for help, to stay away from strangers. But how do you keep them safe when the danger comes from within?

Senior year of high school. The Big Year.

I wanted so much for him in that year—to love his classes, do well in his endeavors, ace the SAT, go to the prom, sign his yearbook, pick his college. All of it. I remembered how much fun I had senior year, and I wanted the same for him.

I didn't realize how much the world had changed ... and how much it had stayed the same.

It's been five years now since my son graduated from high school, and those few years have given me a little space. I've gone through the empty nest and come out on the other side. Now, finally, I can look back on that incredibly difficult year and see it for what it was. See me for who I was, and see the mistakes I made along the way. And I made more than a few, believe me.

In retrospect, I think we underestimate the immense pressure our kids are operating under in that last year of high school. We don't realize how much they want to make us proud ... and how much they fear failing. They're ready to fly away from the nest, but they don't really want to test their wings. Everything is dangerous—tests can be suddenly failed, teams can lose, application deadlines can be missed, hearts can be broken.

And then comes spring. The party season.

Believe me, whatever you remember abouthigh school parties hasn't changed. Teen parties still spring up like mushrooms in dark, quiet places, far from adult eyes. Weekend after weekend.

"How could I have been a better mother?"

For me, this became the most challenging time of all. As I said before, I am a person who researches things. I pride myself on my ability to gather knowledge. I don't want to operate in a don't ask/don't tell world. I believe in honesty and transparency. Unfortunately, there's a price to all that honesty. Sometimes your kids tell you what you don't want to hear.

In looking back, I have tried to come up with The Answer. The right way to parent in that stressful, dangerous year. What should I have said about all the pressures he was under? How could I have been a better mother? How should I have dealt with the threat of teen drinking and driving? What's the right answer when the partying starts?

These are the questions that started me out on Night Road. The novel is my exploration of the year that is so pivotal, both to parents and kids.

It was definitely stressful. It was also exciting, exhilarating, and magical. Here's what I didn't know then: Everything I said to my son, he heard. I didn't need to say it twice or underscore it or remind him. He heard it all and took what he needed. In the end, we both grew up and learned that trickiest of skills: how to let go and hold on at the same time.

Reading Group Guide

For a mother, life comes down to a series of choices.

To hold on…

To let go..

To forget…

To forgive…

Which road will you take?

Night Road

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.

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?

Customer Reviews

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Night Road 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1250 reviews.
salander_9277 More than 1 year ago
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.
GEORGIAMOON More than 1 year ago
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.
BookaholicTracy More than 1 year ago
Great weekend read with great plot and likeable characters. LOVED IT!
Lynie More than 1 year ago
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
Lauren817 More than 1 year ago
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+
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Easy reading that keeps your attention! Love every book that I have read by Kristin Hannah!
para More than 1 year ago
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.
Kreadsalot More than 1 year ago
Emotional, unforgettable story. Very well-written.
ryanHS More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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 :).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
mommof2 More than 1 year ago
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.
Roxy0909 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A bad soap opera.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!!
AlaskaGin More than 1 year ago
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.
Rebecca Courtney Jones More than 1 year ago
So glad i bought this many emotions packed inside! Definitely get your kleenex ready! Very well written.
Polly Hughes More than 1 year ago
Have the tissue box ready, i could not put it down, a great read
CJ51 More than 1 year ago
A bit difficult to get into though well worth finishing.