Cover Image: A Nearly Normal Family

A Nearly Normal Family

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Member Reviews

Excellent Book!!!  I love how the authour, M.T. Edvardsson, seperated the story line with the family.  She had the father's version first, then the daughter and finally the mother with the Epilogue at that the end to tie everything up.

It was so well written I did not know how the story was  going to end until the very end.  

The story is about a family that on the outside looks normal and from certain characters in the book they think they are normal.  There daughter is put in jail for a crime.  The father is a pastor and the mother is a lawyer.  You see how everyone is in the same family but looks and takes situations differently.

This is a must read!
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Ulrika and Adam Sandell, are celebrating the birthday of their daughter, Stella, age 18.  

Adam is a pastor and a great believer in God.  Ulrika is an attorney.  They are both loving and good parents.

Stella has a long time friend, Amina, who wants to be a doctor.  At times, Stella has had trouble controlling her temper.  Today, Stella has been arrested for the stabbing murder of Christopher Olsen, 32.  As it happens, his mother, Margaretha, is a professor of criminal law.  Christopher has been a successful businessman.  How did he get involved with Stella?  Did Stella truly stab him to death?

This book is a study in the lengths that a parent or friend will go to protect their child or friend.  The time Stella spends in jail awaiting trial and the agony of her parents as they await that time.  This time is told through the viewpoint of Stella, Adam, and Ulrika.

While I’m sure that many readers found this fascinating, I did not.  I realize that this book takes place in Sweden and, perhaps, the freedoms given a teenager may be a bit looser than here in the U.S., I still could not help but question some of the behavior that Adam and Ulrika found acceptable for Stella.  In addition, the story seems to drone on for too long a time.  Sorry.  Not my cup of tea.

Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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Excellent psychological thriller!  It moved at a fast pace with twists and turns throughout!  Well-developed characters and plot.  Highly recommend!
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"A Nearly Normal Family" is an English translation of a Swedish novel. It is one of the best psychological thrillers I have read.  It focuses on the Sandell family -- Adam, Ulrika, and teenage daughter Stella.  Shortly after turning eighteen, Stella is accused of murdering Christopher Olsen, a wealthy businessman whose mother is a well-known and influential law professor.  Adam is a pastor and Ulrika is a lawyer and both are very image-conscious, especially Adam, who wants everyone to think their family is normal, although Stella has had some behavioral issues that have cast the family in a negative light at times.  However, beneath the façade, there are numerous cracks in the foundation of the family; and the family will be tested by the murder charges.

The story is broken up into three main parts, with the first part focusing on Adam's perspective of their family life, the issues he and Ulrika have experienced with Stella, and his actions following Stella's arrest, including behavior that crosses ethical lines.  The second part focuses on Stella, alternating between her time in jail and earlier events in her life, including her connection to Mr. Olsen.  The third part is from the perspective of Ulrika, alternating between the trial and earlier events.  Also critical to the story is Amina, the best friend of Stella.  

The characters are well-developed, with a good mix of strength, weakness, failings, and uncertainty.  The author explores how far people will go to protect their loved ones and to keep up appearances, with Adam and Ulrika both contemplating or engaging in actions that could or will ruin their professional careers and could tear the family apart, while Stella takes actions to protect Amina.  Each person is hiding things with the goal of helping the others, not trusting that the others can handle the whole truth (or at least the whole truth as the particular character understands it).  The plot is well-paced, with information coming out at a steady pace, but keeping the reader off-balance, unsure which version of events is most accurate.  There are some rather good surprises.  The ending is less surprising for what actually happened (as the reader will likely have guessed the most likely scenarios), than for what particular characters publicly reveal.  Stella is the most enjoyable character and her conversations with Shirine, the psychologist she meets with in jail, are some of the best parts of the book, delving into the psychological motives of rebellion, violence, psychopaths, lying, etc.

I received a copy of the e-book from NetGalley in exchange for a review.
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Such a good story of family dynamics.  How do you know your child knows right from wrong? What do you do if your child commits a crime? Do you know what really happened? How far would you go to protect your family? Until you are put into that situation, we just judge from the outside looking in.  Great novel that makes you think- what would you do?
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Clever, compulsive, & emotive!

A NEARLY NORMAL FAMILY by M.T. EDVARDSSON was quite the unique, intense, and fascinating story.  I was thoroughly entertained and loved how this story was broken up into three very powerful sections from each of the family members.  The first section from the father's point of view started off a little shaky for me but then once I got to Stella's (the daughter's POV) I was hooked.  This was such an emotionally gripping story that was absolutely unputdownable!  Highly recommend!

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Caledon Books and M.T. Edvardsson for the complimentary copy.
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I really wanted to like this book. I've been trying to finish it for months. I have picked it up and put it down so many times and I can't get through it. I find the character of the father to be impossibly annoying, he is always stepping in where he doesn't belong and using the excuse of "but I'm her father I'm doing what's right". Maybe one day I'll finish this book but I just can't get into it enough to want to. The mystery doesn't build fast enough, they don't tell the reader very much and it's too slow moving.
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Wow....that's all I can say. I just finished this book, and I loved it! 
The book follows a family consisting of a pastor/father (Adam), lawyer/mother (Ulrika), and their crazy/impulsive/daughter (Stella).  Stella is an "out of control" teen getting ready to graduate high school and move on to a trip to Asia to hopefully find her way and make decisions on where she wants her life to go. Then the world comes crashing down around her, and she is arrested for murder.  The question then arises, what would you so to protect your child and your family? Would you lie; hinder the prosecution?  As a parent, would you risk everything you have for the love of your child?  
I am a big fan of books that keep you guessing, and have a twisted plot. This book was right up my alley, and the fact that you don't know the whole truth until the last page made it all the better. I would definitely recommend this book!
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I really enjoyed this one. Told through three different points of view, all three family members, we get to see all the different angles of this mystery. A young girl is accused of murder. The story unfold with how all three members of the family deal with the accusation. The twists and turns were great and the characters were well developed. I will definitely read more by this author. 4⭐️  Thank you NetGalley for the early review copy.
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Guys I really thought I was going to love this one. It started out good for me but then just fell flat. I never ended up feeling a connection with the characters. The story is told in 3 POVs , Stella, Adam (Stella's dad), and Urika (Stella's mom), which gives you an understanding of the story as it unfolds.There was alot of family dynamics in this book, and I thought there was going to be more about the murder trial. It wasn't a terrible read, but I also wasn't wowed by it. The translation for me didn't seem to flow for me! Thank you Celadon books and netgalley for my approval to read in advance for Review!
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A Nearly Normal Family by M.T. Edvardsson was a slow paced, somewhat plodding along story told from the POV of three family members, none of whom were very likeable.  For me, it was hard to connect with the story, although others have found it interesting. 

Thank you to the publisher, author, and NetGalley for the opportunity to preview the book.
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I thoroughly enjoyed this unusually structured Scandinavian novel. The way the author lays down the narrative first through the father, then the daughter and finally the mother adds greatly to the plot and how the reader perceived the actions of all parties. It felt very modern while still being Scandinavian (one of my favorite genres). No spoilers, just my opinion that this was riveting and original and a very engaging read. Thanks to #netgalley for the joy of reading #anearlynormalfamily ahead of publication.
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This book was incredible. Family drama, thriller, secrets and a murder trial!!! I enjoyed the point of view that alternates from past to present. I was quickly flipping through the pages. So many twists and turns. Loved the family dynamic that the author portrayed so excellent. If you enjoy a good suspense thriller with lots of surprises, this book is for you! So well written with rich, complex characters.
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I enjoyed this legal thriller about a daughter accused of murder and the fallout for the family -- how the charges effect them, how they react, what the parents are willing to do to protect their daughter and their "happy family" appearance.
The story is told from 3 points of view, the pastor father, the lawyer mother, and the rebellious daughter accused of murder. As the novel evolves, the family history comes out and how outward appearances are not always accurate, how "normal" is not what it always appears to be once the surface is cracked, and what families, even troubled ones, are willing to do to protect each other.
The differing points of view were a good way to explore this family and their reasons for how they acted. I liked the tension and the uncertainty around who actually committed the crime. This is not an "action packed" thriller, more of a study and I did find some parts slow, especially during the father's point of view section. Overall, though, I liked this book and the playing with the idea of what normal is and that behind closed doors we are different from the persona we present.
Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for a review copy of this book.
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A Nearly Normal Family was easily one of the best thrillers that I have read this year. It seemed like when I first started it, that it would be a long and tedious read but once I got started it really didn't feel like that. It flowed together very nicely.

I thought that the writing was smooth and the pacing was nice. The two of them combined was refreshing. With me saying that-- I enjoyed the twists that were strategically placed throughout and the execution of them. I think the story structure and the writing helped a lot with that. 

I also really loved the concept and multiple POVs that we received throughout the book. Stella's POV was some of my favorite parts of this one. I think that what the others lacked, Stella's really picked up on. It was all very crucial to the story. 

At times this one was a tad predictable, but all in all I really enjoyed the book as a whole. The characters were questionable as was the plot at times but that didn't slow me down one bit.
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I lucked out majorly in receiving A Nearly Normal Family from NetGalley.  This book by M.T. Edvardsson was released by Celadon Books on 06/25/19.

When 18 year old Stella Sandell is accused of murdering a man 15 years older than her, Stella's parents feel compelled to defend her.  Her father (a pastor) and her mother (a lawyer) stretch their morals and beliefs as they struggle to free their daughter, while the rest of the town is screaming for her punishment.

This book was told in three parts-the father, the daughter, and the mother.  This was a unique take on a typical court situation and I really enjoyed it. I loved the layout of the book.  It was super interesting to each viewpoint without the others mixed in.  I was hooked from page 1.  I actually annoyed when I had to put this book down to run errands or work.  The father's part was probably my favorite.  It was so sincere.  I could really feel his pain through the pages as he struggled between his job and congregation against his daughter and wife.  Stella's viewpoint was equally as fascinating to me.  Teenagers can be annoying in books, or written the same way over and over.  I didn't mind Stella, even though she was quite selfish and vane.  The mother's part fell a little flat for me.  I left it wanting more. 

My biggest complaint about this book is that I read finished it and immediately wanted more of a resolution.  I wanted to continue with the family to see what happened after.  There's a rumor going around in the bookstagram community that there will be another book.  I really hope that's true.  I NEED to know what happened next.  Please Mr. Edvardsson, give us another book following the Sandell family!!!

🌟🌟🌟🌟/5 Stars
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A Nearly Normal Family centers around a pastor, his wife (a lawyer), and their teenage daughter, Stella. They appear to be the model family but in reality, they are constantly struggling to put out fires caused by Stella’s uncontrollable behavior and anger issues. Things go from bad to worse when Stella is arrested and charged with the murder of a 35-year old man. 

Aside from it being extremely well-written, the set-up of this book was a nice change from others I’ve read. The story held my attention from start to finish because I was able to experience three different versions of one tragic night. Those separate storylines revealed that things aren’t always what they seem and that certain circumstances can force you to go against your core beliefs. Stella and her parents’ morals are put to the test and whether or not you agree with what happens, you’ll understand that no one really knows what they’re capable of when it comes to love. The best part of this book is when everything is revealed and begins to wrap up, the author flips it all around with JUST ONE SENTENCE! 

Add this to the top of your TBR pile! It will definitely be one of your favorite summer reads!
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In some ways, Stella Sandell is an average teenager. In other ways, she is anything but. On the one hand, she just wants to spend time with her friends, dance and drink and flirt, and save her earnings from H&M for an amazing trip through Asia. 

On the other hand, Stella’s on trial for murder. 

Stella’s father is a pastor, and he’s struggling with feelings of helplessness regarding the justice system. He’s blaming himself for his shortcomings as a father. He is questioning his moral compass. He pushes for answers. He pushes his daughter’s lawyer, he pushes his wife, he pushes his wife, and he pushes their friends until he can’t do anything except worry. 

Stella’s mother is a well respected attorney. She understands aspects of Stella’s defense better than anyone. But as the days and weeks go by without getting to see her daughter, with Stella locked up with no visiting privileges, her mother fights within herself. Getting Stella exonerated, and keeping her family together, is going to take all of her strength. And while she and Stella have struggled through the years, she knows that this is something she has to do for her daughter, to make sure she has a future. 

A Nearly Normal Family is not your average thriller. A slow burn unwinding of a family’s story, it’s powerful in a quiet way. The Swedish novel by M. T. Edvardsson is told in three parts. The first part is the story of Stella’s arrest and trial through her father’s eyes. The second part is told by Stella herself, and the third part is the perspective of her mother. Taken together, the three strands of A Nearly Normal Family weave together to show the whole picture of a family through a series of traumatic events that ends with a man losing his life and an 18-year-old girl on trial. 

A Nearly Normal Family is a beautifully told story of a family in crisis, of three individuals whose lives could blow apart at any moment. It’s a story of how relationships develop and diverge, how family relationships make us who we are and threaten to tear us apart. I really loved how this novel drew me in with the emotion of the story and then walked me through to the facts of the crime. While Stella’s family isn’t perfect, it is three people who genuinely love each other, and that makes for a moving story. I recommend this one. Added bonus: an interesting look at the Swedish justice system. 

Galleys for A Nearly Normal Family were provided by Celadon Books through NetGalley, with many thanks.
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Normal is subjective, right? It would seem so in this drama that's bursting at the seams with family dysfunction. There has been a lot of hype surrounding A Nearly Normal Family, so maybe I had it built up a little too high before I even started reading. Whatever the reason, this one just didn't do it for me. There is some pretty good courtroom drama, which is something I like, but the book is drawn out at times, making it a bit too easy to set aside. Parts of the story are choppy and awkward, but that may be due to the translation, and that's something I can overlook. The deal breaker for me is that this one just didn't hold my interest. In the end, it didn't live up to the hype for me and was much easier to set aside than to pick back up.
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Overall, this was a good, although not-your-typical, legal thriller and a fine representation of the genre of Nordic or Scandi noir. Told from the POV of the three main characters – the father, a pastor in their somewhat small community, the rebellious teenage daughter, and her emotionally distant mother, a successful attorney. Sharing center stage with the criminal aspects, there is a great deal of attention to the family dynamics as well as the moral question “what is lie?”

However, I did not get caught up by the characters or the plot and it was a push to read. Rather than the book, which has many rave reviews, the disconnect may have been because it was a translation or perhaps because the noir genre is not my thing. It should appeal to readers who are fans of the genre.
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