Night Road Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
For 18 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.
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|Listening Length||14 hours and 47 minutes|
|Audible.com.au Release Date||22 March 2011|
|Best Sellers Rank|| 20,525 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
175 in Psychological Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
466 in Family Life Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
477 in Psychological Thrillers (Audible Books & Originals)
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Top reviews from Australia
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Jude Farraday is mother to twins Zach and Mia - polar opposites and partners in crime. Mia is shy and reclusive, while Zach is popular and outgoing. The two are best friends, and the pride of Jude's life. Jude's doctor husband, Miles, may have a point about her helicopter-parenting and reluctance to cut the apron-strings where the twins are concerned, but Jude's own childhood was a lonely one cut off from her mother after her father's death, and she won't do that to Mia and Zach.
When Mia and Lexi strike up a powerful bond over a shared-love of classic literature, Jude is both relieved and nervous. Lexi brings Mia out of her shell, but Jude is also aware that the Farraday's have a very different, privileged life to that of Lexi and her aunt . . . then there's the fact that Mia has been hurt in the past, when her girlfriends developed crushes on Zach, and abandoned Mia for him.
But Mia and Lexi prove to have a bond that's almost as strong as the one Mia and Zach have - and for three years they are the best of friends . . . until one night changes everything. Zach is left an only-child, Jude is cut adrift and Lexi takes on the burden of blame - and none of them will ever be the same again.
`Night Road' was the 2011 popular fiction title from Kristin Hannah.
This novel is just awful. I hated reading it - all the characters irked me, and some of them made me want to reach into the story and throttle them. But I kept reading because I wanted to know how it would end. . . this book is, literally, like a McDonalds meal that you start feeling guilty about from the first bite but you can't stop yourself from finishing all of it.
We begin in 2000, when Lexi arrives at Port George and strikes up a friendship with Mia and is welcomed into the Farraday bosom by Jude. The first few pages introduce us to Lexi - a young girl who has had an unfair share of heartache in her short life. Between foster homes and witnessing her mother's decline (more than once) her arrival in Port George to live with her unknown Aunt Eva is the first really good thing to happen to Lexi, possibly in her whole life.
Then we're introduced to Jude - who is panicking about her kid's first day of high school. She's worried that Mia won't make friends, and she's concerned about the kind of friends Zach will make . . . yep, Jude is one of those parents. Meeting Jude and the Farraday family after having first met Lexi is rather jarring - even more so when Jude goes over the floor-plan of their massive manor-home (the kids have the entire first floor to themselves - including a gaming room.) Straight away, I was on Lexi's side and more invested in her story and narrative voice. I'll always root for the underdog, and compared to the obnoxious wealth of the Farraday's, Lexi is an extreme-underdog
Then the timeline of this story starts getting a little skewed . . . we jump ahead from 2000 to three years later (right in an odd place too, Hannah snaps forward right before we're about to read Jude, Mia and Lexi start bonding on a girl's outing).
The next little chunk of timeline concerns Lexi and Zach's developing feelings for one another in senior year of high school - something they have to hide from Mia because she's so fragile after having one friend in the past hook-up and break-up with her brother that has apparently scarred her for life. Geez. You know things aren't good when you give characters nicknames in your head - Mia was `needy-psycho' to me. This girl just grated - though I think Hannah meant to portray her as a sweet, innocent soul who needed looking after . . . I just read `whinger'. This section of story also concerns Lexi working round-the-clock at an ice-cream store to try and scrape enough money together to go to a small state school, while Mia and Zach are struggling to decide between USC, Yale, Stanford . . . and of course dominating parent, Jude, is stressing right along with them. When Lexi's Aunt Eva contemplates dipping into her life-savings to help Lexi go to a four-year school, I officially wanted to smack every Farraday character over the head, repeatedly.
Now, a huge let-down of this book is the supposed soul-mate romance of Zach and Lexi - which is meant to cover all manner of ills and explain a lot, later in the story. It doesn't help that Zach is written a little too true-to-life as a teenage boy who says not a whole lot. Seriously - when Hannah pulls the "he's in love with her!" card I was sitting there thinking `Really? How can you tell? The boy does not talk!' Actually, Zach suffers the same fate as his father, Miles, in that neither male character does or says a whole lot. The men in this story feel depleted and sidelined, completely overpowered by the women despite them all going through the same losses and traumas. This is especially bad for Jude's story - I might have warmed to her if she had been a well-rounded woman but she is literally labelled MOTHER and not much else. Her marriage, despite going through the biggest trauma any relationship can experience, is just back-burner to her being a mother (and then a mother who loses a child). She gardens, but that's really her only discernible characteristic. She has her own mother-issues, but they're anaemic and not at all an excuse for her being such a one-dimensional mother-cyborg. I get that this is the point of `Night Road' - here is a woman who sees herself as a mother and nothing else, and what happens when that's (partly) taken away from her? Well, that's boring to me. Jude is the book-equivalent of all those people in my Facebook feed who only post photos and updates about their kids and nothing else - as if they weren't really alive until they had offspring. Blergh.
The second-half of the story jumps ahead to 2010 and concerns everyone's fate after the tragic accident that kills Mia . . . and lays blame entirely (unfairly) at Lexi's feet.
Now, if this had been a Jodi Picoult novel, you can bet this would have been the point that the story started. Because this is the most interesting portion of the whole book - everything else that came before; setting up Mia & Zach's twin-dynamic, Jude's helicopter parenting, the kids growing, Lexi & Zach's romance . . . all that was just boring filler. Part-two of the story, which starts at page 241 of this 385-page book, is where the whole thing should have started from (with some backtracking of story origin). Here is where Hannah pulls out questions of morality, forgiving, guilt and redemption.
Jude just gets worse. Maybe I was meant to feel sympathy for her - but I have little sympathy for those determined to be victims and wallow in their own pain while blaming and punishing others for their state of being.
I cannot, for the life of me, tell you why I didn't chuck this book away about 20 pages into it. But I think I was looking forward to the skip-ahead portion, when we get to the meat of the morality-story. And, honestly, I did race to read this last half (though it left me utterly unsatisfied). Hannah rushes the ending, and what could actually take up an entire 300+ pages is watered-down with happily-ever-after shenanigans and unbelievable resolutions .
I know that popular-fiction writers get a bad rep. Their books are seen as nothing more substantial than fairy-floss . . . but, by God!, there are nuances within this genre. Someone like Jodi Picoult can have me enraptured in a couple of chapters, and I'll finish one of (admittedly, earlier) books a weeping-wreck, but completely satisfied. Then you read someone like Kristin Hannah who writes despicable characters like Jude (I'm convinced we were meant to like her) and waffles on for 280-pages writing absolute filler rubbish - only to leave the actual meat of the story for the last 100 rushed pages. But, you know, I can only blame myself for this one - I knew it was bad after the first chapter, but I kept punishing myself and reading it. Fool me once.
Top reviews from other countries
The Night Road is an emotional rollercoaster that surrounds the events that took place, that simmer in 2004.
The characterisation is intense, with each character playing a role in the story of what took place that summer. Teen siblings Mia and Zach are at the heart of the tale. Mia’s best friend Lexi is new to the area and moving into a local trailer park with her aunt, finally escaping a life in foster care. Mia and Zach’s mother Jude also plays a central role, as she becomes like a mother to Lexi.
Judy Farraday is the mother we all wish to be. She has known her own share of heartache and difficult upbringing, but she hasn’t let it impact the way she has chosen to raise her kids. They are at the heart of every decision she comes to make. She often agonises over every minor detail in their lives.
‘It’s impossible to love you children too much’ - Jude
Pine Island high school is where Lexi and Mia first meet and instantly strike up a deep friendship. Mia finds it difficult to fit in and Lexi is new to town and looking to settle in and get on with her education. Too often children are forced to carry the stigma of their own parents and this becomes evident in Lexi’s life. I felt quite emotional at times during Lexi’s story and the theme’s were really tear jerking.
As with all teenage friendships there will be secrets and forbidden love. But for these teens the mistakes they make one night will have a massive impact on all their futures. Can Jude protect her children? And will Lexi survive saying bye to more people in her life?
The raw honesty of the situation is astounding. I cannot say too much here for fear of leaving spoilers. But this book left a huge dent in my heart. 4*
‘A girl without a mother was a prisoner of a different kind’
This book is about love, hope, friendship, grieving, loss, forgiveness, acceptance and letting go. I love it. It's beautifully written and tugs at your heart strings. It takes you on a whirlwind of emotions - laughing one minute and then sobbing the next. It is truly one of those books that you will never forget.
The characters were amazing and you felt connected to them, there's no other way to describe them. They felt real, their emotions felt real. I absolutely adored Zach, he tugged at my heart strings and made me want to reach through the book and just give him a nice big, friendly hug. To me he suffered the most but he always seemed to pick himself up and carry on even when he just wanted to curl up and grieve for his loss. Lexi was wonderfully written about, she was a well developed character, the way she grew in the book was astonishing. Jude was another character who was well developed she's one of those overbearing mums but her heart was always in the right place until she lost sight of who she was.
The book tied up nicely at the end. It all came together nicely and didn't leave you questioning anything. Even though I read this book a few years ago I still had no idea what was going to happen next. The story was gripping and definitely makes you want to keep turning the page. I will be recommending this book for years to come.