Night Road

Kristin Hannah, St. Martin's, $27.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-312-36442-7
Hannah follows up Winter Garden with a strained story of friendship, social pressures, love, and forgiveness. After a string of foster homes and the death of her heroin-addict mother, Lexi Baill is taken in by a newly discovered great-aunt who lives a spartan life near Seattle. Despite financial problems, the two are glad to have found each other, and though Lexi resolves to stay safely on the periphery at her new high school, she soon meets Mia, unhappy and awkward despite a solid family life, a loving twin brother, Zach, and a closetful of clothes. The friendship flourishes, and Mia's mother, Jude, relieved and pleased for her daughter, draws Lexi into the family circle. But trouble begins in senior year with a slowly growing attraction between Zach and Lexi, who take great pains to make Mia comfortable with the change in the dynamics. This familiar story takes an unfortunate turn deep into after-school-special territory when Lexi, Mia, and Zach collectively make a bad decision that results in a tragedy with extreme repercussions. Even readers who like their melodrama thick will have problems as Hannah pushes credibility to the breaking point, and more than once. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/03/2011
Release date: 03/01/2011
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