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NIGHT ROAD by Kristin Hannah

NIGHT ROAD

By Kristin Hannah

Pub Date: March 29th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-312-36442-7
Publisher: St. Martin's

A disadvantaged teen finds friendship, acceptance and love with a prosperous Seattle-area family, until a tragic accident changes everything.

Alexa (Lexi) Baill, daughter of a heroin addict, has bounced around the foster-care system for years. A long-lost great aunt, Eva, a Walmart employee, offers Lexi a home in her trailer across the bridge from Pine Island (Hannah’s fictional stand-in for Bainbridge Island) near Seattle. At Pine Island High School, Mia, daughter of Jude and Miles Farraday, and twin sister of Zachary, considers herself an outcast. She bonds instantly with the equally alienated Lexi. Soon, the Farraday’s opulent Pine Island residence is Lexi’s second home. As senior year approaches, Lexi and Zach fall in love and are relieved that Mia approves. Jude, whose days are a pleasant whirl of caring for her elaborate garden and being a supermom, has a strained relationship with her own mother. As seniors, Zach, Mia and Lexi can’t avoid Pine Island’s teen party scene. One foggy night, Zach and Mia get falling-down drunk, and Lexi, less inebriated, urges Zach to let her drive his Mustang home. (The question of who actually drove is left vague, which dodges several moral bullets, to the story’s detriment.) On a hairpin curve, the Mustang spins out and crashes. Mia is thrown from the backseat and killed. Zach and Lexi sustain milder injuries, but Lexi’s blood-alcohol level was above the legal limit, and she accepts the blame for killing Mia. Jude turns against her implacably. Lexi, unwilling to burden Eva with the expense of a trial, pleads guilty to vehicular homicide and serves over five years in prison. While incarcerated, she gives birth to Zach’s child, Grace, and relinquishes her to the Farradays. Grace bears such an uncanny resemblance to Mia that Jude finds it almost impossible to warm to her. Released from prison, Lexi returns to Pine Island, only to find that her daughter is as isolated and distrustful as any foster child. 

A flawed but never dull drama.