Cover Image: A Nearly Normal Family

A Nearly Normal Family

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Member Reviews

This book illustrates perspectives from the father, the daughter, and the mother which expresses their versions of what and how things happened. I couldn't tell until close to the end who actually committed the crime.  Great mystery!
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This was such an amazing read that I couldn’t put it down. It went everywhere with me. To the doctors office, the dentist, the eye doctor. IT WENT ABSOLUTELY EVERYWHERE. I was so sad when it ended that I immediately went and bought more books from this author!
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Captivating, suspenseful, entertaining novel! This beautiful thriller kept me on the edge of my seat while I was reading it! Would highly recommend to those who enjoy this genre.
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I'm in the definite minority on this one, but A Nearly Normal Family did nothing for me. The idea and the writing are both average, which is okay, but I was expecting more from this thriller based on its description. I would say it's a good airport read in that in the end, it's utterly forgettable.
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I like the concept of the plot, how a "normal" family become wrapped up into a murder trial for a well-known resident of their town. The families morals are put into play when the daughter of a priest and a lawyer is the lead suspect in a murder trial. The suspense comes into play because Stella has all of the background characteristics of someone who could snap and kill someone, as well as lack of an alibi and evidence. The perspective of the father, daughter, and trial is an interesting take and leads you guessing up until the end. 

The reason my rating is low, is because Adam, the father, plot goes by really slow. In addition, the writing for his part is short and choppy, which took me out of the story. However, I thoroughly enjoyed Stella's perspective of into the potential murderer's mind as well as her time in jail, the lead up, and the finale. 

I would recommend this book for people who enjoy more of a character, slow-burn story, versus edge of your seat, action driven mystery.
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This book was written in several sections. I liked that just when it seemed like that character was reaching a tipping point of sharing big details, it switched characters. The author did a great job of providing big and small details, all the while leaving you with more questions each time. This book held my interest and made me want to know more. At points in this book I was frustrated with each of the characters, but each was critical to the book. This book really gave me pictures in my head of the scene and what may have happened. This book is suspenseful and a psychological thriller.
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How far would you go to protect your child?  18 year old Stella is arrested for the murder of a 30-something man she has been involved with.  Her father searches for answers, she struggles with her incarceration waiting for trial revealing so many struggles she's endured during her short life and her mother tries to protect her daughter and her family.  An excellent read until the final moment.
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Thank you Netgalley for allowing me to preview this ARC of A Nearly Normal Family by M.T. Edvardsson.

Stella, the daughter of a pastor father and lawyer mother, has just been arrested for the murder of a man 15 years her senior.  Desperate to free her daughter and clear her name, her parents will stop at nothing, even if their actions are legally shady.  

Told in the voices of Stella, her mom, dad, and best friend, we find out what really happened to the slain young man, and whether or not justice was served.

This was very readable, exciting, and well paced.  I liked the nuances and the characters.  The ending could have been a bit stronger, but that doesn't take away from the journey.
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I enjoyed this smartly written novel.  Told from multiple points of view, the mystery at the center was highly engrossing as well as the courtroom drama. Would recommend this book to my customers who read Grisham.
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‘A Nearly Normal Family’ is about the ideal family who everyone thinks is perfect. But when the daughter is accused of murder, everything breaks down.

I love multiple POV books with the same circumstances being narrated by different people, and this book should have been perfect for me. Plus I generally like thrillers which keep me guessing. This book was at least successful on one count. I had not seen the exact end coming - and that was a huge plus. The multiple POVs was what let me down in this one. The POV of the father just seemed to drag on and added very little to the narrative - I understand that it was being built up - but it was a little difficult to keep reading. The mother’s POV seemed really dry and robotic. Stella’s POV was the strong one in this scenario. I understand that the book was translated, so maybe some of the initial charm was lost? 

The bond between the parents and the children, also the friendship showcased was really well done. The struggles and the love and the lengths we go to for our family were accurately descriptive. The end was perfectly built up and one of those ‘unguessable’ endings.

It’s a fast paced thriller and I can definitely see why people liked it. It just wasn’t for me.
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I love when an ending can surprise me. When you're a thriller fan, sometimes they all sort of blend together or follow a formula with similar results. I loved the three part point of view writing style and was eager to learn more! 

Thank you to NetGalley for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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This book is a quick read that carries the reader on a journey to find out who killed a man.  The story is told in three parts, from three different perspectives, and I was completely drawn in and compelled to finish to find out what really happened.  Just when I thought I knew what the truth was, that knowledge was challenged and more information came to light that made me wonder again.  The primary themes for me that stood out were about what would you be willing to do for a loved one?  for a child?  for a friend?  and what is a life worth? a good person's life?  a bad person's life?   This is a well-written and well-translated book that I thoroughly enjoyed.
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I included A Nearly Normal Family in a roundup of thrillers in the Toronto Star. It appeared on July 6, online a few days before (link below)

A Nearly Normal Family, M.T. Edvardsson, translated by Rachel Willson-Broyles

A Nearly Normal Family, like The Chain (above), addresses how far parents will go, morally and legally, to protect their children. When rebellious 18-year-old Stella is accused of stabbing to death a 32-year-old man outside his apartment, Adam, her pastor father, and Ulrika, her lawyer mother, find themselves breaking the rules they live by — providing a false alibi, destroying evidence and more — to save their daughter. First Adam, then Stella, and finally Ulrika, offer narratives about what happened and their assigned roles within this “nearly normal” Swedish family..
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I'm between a 3 and a 4 on this one. I enjoyed the build up and the back forth, and I even had a few times where I thought it was going one way, but went another. Days later and I'm still not sure if I liked it or not! I knew the book was going to end the way it did before I even got to the last page, but I really did enjoy getting there anyway. The perspective of the daughter was the most intriguing, especially with the build up to the pretty shocking ending.
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I wasn’t sure I was going to like this book but I kept reading and it pulled me in. I loved it. It was so original  ! The plot is fast paced and you never see the end coming. I gasped aloud ! I highly recommend this well written mystery.
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M. T. Edvardsson crafts an enjoyable psychological thriller in A Nearly Normal Family. It’s told from three viewpoints. First, the father’s voice lays out both current and past events. Then, the daughter fills in some gaps, but makes it clear that she’s an unreliable narrator. Lastly, the mother gives us the answers we crave. But in all three cases, the narrator only has one limited viewpoint. So nothing is certain.

What’s certain is that the daughter, who’s just turned 18, is accused of killing a man more than a decade older than her. She has a history of reckless behavior, and lacks the typical impulse control. So, in her father’s telling it seems quite possible she’s actually committed the crime. As she takes over the narrative, the situation gets muddier rather than clearer. Even when you think you’ve guessed the solution to the crime, everything you know depends on three narrators with their own agendas.

Set in Lund, Sweden, the book will make you want to travel there and ride bicycles through the streets like its characters.

I’ll add a trigger warning here for rape. There are some detailed descriptions and discussions of rape. They may be difficult for some people to read.

My conclusions
Stella, the daughter, isn’t an easy kid or teenager. All three narrators make that clear. And this made me glad that our kids were teenagers in a generally easier time. But Stella is a product of the people who raised her. Adam, her father, was a doting dad but also very involved in his career as a pastor. Being a pastor’s kid is never easy. Ulrika, the mother, never intended to have kids so young. Instead, she focused on her law career and let Adam manage quite a lot of the parenting tasks.

Edvardsson shines a bright light on all of their various relationships. Each parent has a different parenting style. And as Stella becomes a teenager, they have trouble shifting gears to her new needs and demands.

But still, each characterization leaves some dark shadowy spots in the narrative. They all have secrets from each other. And the shifting time frames during each narrator’s part only serve to make things less straightforward.

As an only child, I’m sensitive to the portrayal of only children in books and movies. Stella is an only child for the new generation. Her story is a huge contrast to recent books like Where the Crawdads Sing. She’s rebellious and manipulative from an early age, but Edvardsson also shows the difficulties she has fitting in at school. Adam and Ulrika struggle to understand her behavior, yet they’d do anything to protect her and offer her advantages.

I liked the characters outside the main trio as well. Edvardsson develops the victim, Stella’s lawyer, and her lifelong best friend through the lens of the main characters’ eyes. They add substantial energy and complexity to the narrative.

I recommend this for readers who enjoy psychological thrillers with a European setting. I’d read more from this author.

Many thanks to NetGalley, Celadon Books, and the author for a digital advanced reader’s copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
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How far would you go to protect your family, even it meant lying to everyone around you and possibly covering up a heinous crime? 
This read like a Scandinavian version of Miracle Creek, and having read it close before starting this one, it was impossible for me to not draw many parallels between the two stories. Both center around alternating view points and a  family of three: mother, father, and teen daughter. In this one, Stella, a typical teen who is not nearly as responsible as her parents believe, inadvertently ends up entangled in a situation that they cannot cleanly escape from. Stella often comes across as lacking impulse control and living life for the moment. These same characteristics alternately cause her to become involved with an older man and be the subject of choice during the later murder investigation. 
Like many thrillers, there is a bit of the unreliable narrator going on. Obviously, none of the characters we hear from are completely aware of the other's actions or innermost thoughts. These are gradually revealed as the story chugs along, with each different POV offering conflicting evidence and memories to the timeline of events. Unlike Miracle Creek, I felt pretty certain, even with the red herrings thrown in, that I knew who the real killer was, and my guess was proven correct at the end. However, despite that, I still thoroughly enjoyed the story and its intense journey to the end. A solid four stars. 

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the advance copy. This did not influence my review.
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Thank you Netgalley for the opportunity to preview a Nearly Normal Family by MT Edvardsson.
A young girl, Sarah has been charged with killing an older man.  No one knows why especially her family.  They find it hard to believe their beloved child would do somthing like this, but Sarah is charged and there is alot of evidence that points in her direction.
This novel is written in three voices - mother, father and child.  It is a legal thriller, and it is written well.  
3 stars - it is good, but some of it was predicable and not everything made sense to me.  Could be cultural as it is Swedish in origin.
If you enjoy legal "who done its" you will like this book.
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A Nearly Normal Family by M.T. Edvardsson is a legal thriller with a difference. It involves a Swedish family: the father who is a pastor, the mother who is a criminal defense attorney and an eighteen-year-old daughter, Stella. Life as they know it suddenly becomes a nightmare when Stella is arrested and jailed for allegedly committing a horrific crime. The author divides the novel into three parts as each family member describes the events leading up to the arrest, giving the reader three points-of-view to help solve the mystery. I recommend A Nearly Normal Family to readers who enjoy legal mysteries unlike the usual. Thank you to Celadon Books and NetGalley for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I received an Advanced Reviewer Copy of A Nearly Normal Family by M.T. Edvardsson  from the publisher Celadon Books through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

What It’s About: Stella, an 18 year old girl, is accused of murdering an older man. It seems mysterious and circumstantial at best. Her parents, a preacher and a defense attorney fight to protect their family. This book covers the investigation, the period leading up to investigation, and the trial. 

What I Loved: This book is so unique in how its set up and I wish more books were written like this, the book is told from three perspectives: the dad, daughter, and mom. Each portion of the book tells about a certain aspect of the crime: the investigation, the background, and the trial. This book has a bit of everything and reminds me of Miracle Creek. This story was set up in such a way that the story telling really moved it forward and I loved it. 

What I didn’t like so much: Sometimes the characters were really frustrating and you wanted to stop them/save them. The book also should come with a TRIGGER WARNING about sexual assault. This book has a lot of sexual assault references (it's not super graphic but its very clear and brought up several times). 

Who Should Read It: People who loved Miracle Creek. People looking for noir tied with trial drama. People looking for a unique thriller. People who like complex stories. 

General Summary: A thriller that mixes noir with courtroom drama.
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