I'm giving this book 4 stars out of 5 because I have very high expectation about this book after I read the author's last book that I really really love. I also have a hard time relating to the story's obsession about USC. As someone who lives in Los Angeles, I never thought about going to USC myself or to send my child there if I have one. I think the story will be perfect if California Institute of Technology, Standford, UC Berkeley or UCLA is used instead of USC. For whatever the obsession of USC has cost the characters in the story, it's just totally not worth it. For all that conflict, it even seems a little silly. I would be happily and proudly moving to Washington to attend U of Washington, if I have to choose to stay here in LA to attend USC or to go to U of Washington. USC is in a very bad neighborhood in Los Angeles and has a small campus that can't compare to the beautiful and sprawling campus in U of Washington. Also, all my friends who couldn't get in UCLA , they got into USC. UCLA is more competitive and will make more sense if this is the school that caused the tragic event in the story. USC is a good school, just not good enough for the bucks and the break up of a family or anything to attend. Just my take.
The following is an interview with the author about "Night Road":