Cover Image: A Very Typical Family

A Very Typical Family

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Member Reviews

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC digital copy. I was not compensated for this review and all opinions are my own.

Not my typical (LOL) read. Enjoyable while on a quick vacation. 

The family dynamics were the most interesting to me, I felt invested in each of the Walker siblings.

I could have done without the romance aspect, but I do understand how it was used to demonstrate Natalie’s strengths, weaknesses, and her growth.

3.5 stars round up out of respect for the author.
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Thanks to Sourcebooks & NetGalley for a digital advance reader's copy. All comments and opinions are my own.

So glad I decided to take a chance on this book! Despite the uninspired title and mundane cover art, I couldn’t put down this 5-star read. As the title explains, it is a family story – and who is to say what a “typical” family really is? This family contains adult sibling dynamics, warm childhood memories, friendships, and a lovely old home with a secret room.

Told from the point of view of Natalie, the youngest sibling who has been banished from her hometown and shunned by her family for 15 years. Now 32, she and her two older siblings have been called back to their rambling Santa Cruz Victorian as a condition of their recently departed mother’s will. They must claim it together in order to inherit it.

This is a story of love and loss, grief and forgiveness, East Coast/West Coast, a bit of romance, and ultimately it’s a heartwarming, feel-good novel. I highly recommend it.

Trigger warning – domestic violence and abuse. Helpful resources at the back of the book.
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Couldn’t finish this one - DNF’ed at 46%.

Book started with promise - will Natalie and her siblings reunite in time to inherit their mothers historic home?  - but ultimately I thought it was perhaps mischaracterized a bit: the family drama is not rich and deep like The Most Fun We Ever Had, and from what I read there was no “dark humor.” This led to expectations misaligned with the actual book.

My biggest discomfort was that I found the book to be very predictable - I could sense where things were going to fall into place and felt some of the setup was very heavy handed, which took away a lot of the fun for me.
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dnf @40%
there’s a decent storyline in here about a young woman who has to meet up with her resentful estranged siblings but i couldn’t get past the stilted, emotionless dialogue.
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Many thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for gifting me a digital ARC of the debut novel by Sierra Godfrey - 5 stars!

Fifteen years ago, Natalie made a phone call to the police that shattered her family and sent her two older siblings to jail.  She fled to Boston to go to college and has a job researching the history of homes for an architect firm.  She's primed for a promotion, has a boyfriend who wants to marry her, and his sister is her best friend.  Then she gets a call that her mom has died and their family home is to be jointly inherited by all three siblings, with the caveat that they all have to be together in person to claim it.  So she heads out in her car with her cat to drive to Santa Cruz CA to hopefully get it all situated and return home asap.  Her sister, Lynn, shows up from NY with her son, Kit, but their brother Jake is nowhere to be found.

I loved this family/sibling drama - it is full of humor, heart, family and forgiveness with a dash of romance on the side.  Plus, all of the characters have interesting jobs that you've never thought about and the city of Santa Cruz shines brightly.  I really liked Natalie and felt quite protective of her - she lived with crushing grief and estrangement for something she did when she was a teenager.  Definitely a book about second chances and living your truth.  Can't wait to read more from this author!
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I like this book it was really interesting how everybody had to say in this house in Santa Cruz. Everybody had to come out of denial and work together as a family this was amazing because you didn't really know the back story why everybody hated each other in this family but eventually it worked out where everybody seemed to get along. N ATC HLE Was the youngest one and she had the most to lose because her mother told her to go away when she did she lived in Boston She was very lonely and the sky named Paul really wanted to date her and marry her whatever but there's a back story to that as well. Her sister Lynn and Jack when she was very young and had drugs there so At the party and she was not supposed to come home. Things escalated that night when those 2 got arrested this sent the family down where it's far but the mother knew she had to find a way to get them back together so so when she died she left the house to them but they all had to be there together I think that's very interesting becauvery interesting because they had their own problems with each other but we're making them go there then wethey would see how they could get along. Her sister was in a beautiful relationship and she had a boy named Kitt and she had to deal with that as well but it's a happy ending there. Violence and drug use can tear family apart and I think her mother realized that because her 1st husband died and died and she had a lot of death in her family. The book title married typical family is very interesting because everybody looked normal and everything was fine but you really don't know what really goes on underneath a house  In families
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A Very Typical Family by Sierra Godfrey is a decent debut novel.

This is a family drama but not too dark and disturbing. 
It is a solid story, with some heavy topics interspersed with much lighter parts.
I wasn't sold on a romance or the conclusion of the story.  I thought that there were quite a few issues that were brushed over and some things were pretty much unbelievable.

The characters aren’t particularly well developed and our main heroine made some really silly choices that left me quite irritated. On the other hand she can sometimes be quite insightful.
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A clever family drama, where the author sets up a scenario which is hard to imagine overcoming – sending your beloved siblings to jail.

Natalie Walker hasn’t seen her sister and brother since she left Santa Cruz somewhat in disgrace after being responsible for sending her sister and brother to prison.

Fifteen years later, she returns to Santa Cruz after the death of her mother to settle her estate, and they will all meet again for the first time. But nothing is so easy. Her siblings have every reason to resent her, and in fact, her brother is missing.

My family is from Santa Cruz area, and the author nailed the descriptions of the area. The ocean, the sand, the people, West Cliff drive, walking to the beach in bare feet. The Santa Cruz setting is described so well that I was left truly impressed.

A novel about regret, loyalty, forgiveness, sibling loyalty - and the strength (or not) of those bonds. I was left guessing until the end. Will Natalie would find forgiveness from the family she pines to rejoin?

A clever novel filled with moments of dark humor, about the power (and difficulty) of coming home. Readers of family drama will enjoy this one. It reminded me in all the best ways of another book that had me riveted—A Good Family by A H Kim.
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Thank you to Sourcebook and NetGalley for this impressive debut from Sierra Godfrey.  I am always all in for family drama narratives and I have to applaud this author for a new take on family drama, tension, and dysfunction.

I simply love going on a reading journey where I don't know if I will root for anyone (I did!), if the tension will be balanced (it was with humor and well developed characters), and if there will be movement towards resolution or at least understanding (there was but what a story this was!  I loved the added mystery).  I was not aware that this was a debut author until I was organizing my review so I want to say I really am impressed with a first novel that was so thoughtfully executed.

Read this if you are a fan of The Family Plot, The Latecomer, or some of Meg Wolitzer's work such as The Interestings (I was reminded of the family conflict issue in that novel).
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A self discovery journey that pulls you in right away.
What a unusual plot,,,,certainly a intriguing story about unresolved family conflicts.  The story is full of finding forgiveness, second chances and being able to let the past go.  
Some parts of the story did seem a bit unrealistic.  But, I was totally kept engaged throughout the book.  I think the humor aspect helped me get through the darker moments.  
A great debut novel by Sierra Godfrey.
Many thanks to NetGalley, the publisher and author for the opportunity to read this book for my honest review.  All opinions and thoughts expressed are my own.
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I have mixed feelings about A Very Typical Family. In some ways, I liked it and thought it was a cute feel-good family reunion. In other ways, I was really disappointed by it and thought it had a lot of potential to go so much deeper. This may be because I was expecting a much darker storyline.

Before the book begins, there was a disclaimer letting readers know that this novel depicts scenes of domestic violence and abuse. This was the first time I had seen a disclaimer like this and I tend to read some pretty disturbing and graphic novels so I was a bit taken aback and prepared for truly gruesome scenes. After getting through most of the story, I finally came upon the domestic dispute referred to, and while horrible and intense, it didn’t strike me as particularly surprising or grisly.

I also anticipated a lot more family drama and a more twisted and unhealthy upbringing for the three siblings. Besides a mom that checked out a bit when their father died, they weren’t uncared for or abused in the way that the book seemed to foreshadow. Of course, this is a good thing and no one should grow up abused or in an unhealthy environment, but for the purpose of this fiction, my expectations were just not aligned with the narrative and that definitely skewed my perspective of the book.

Natalie, the main character, is facing a decision about her career and a prospective fiancé when she travels across the country to reunite with her estranged siblings after fifteen years. How convenient that she’s still best friends with her best friend from high school and keeps getting thrown into situations with her brother’s attractive research assistant. For the most part, I thought this book was more of a rom-com than anything dark or mysterious and I might have liked it more if I had been prepared for a rom-com rather than a more twisted family mystery.
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The novel tells the story of 3 siblings who must reunite in their mothers home upon her passing in order to receive their inheritance. It sounds easy enough except the youngest is the black sheep and hasn’t spoken to her two older siblings in 15 years. Recently overlooked for a promotion that went to her boyfriend, Natalie decides she will make a cross county trip-spend a few awkward hours with her siblings and Claim the inheritance. However, she arrives to California to find out that it will not be that easy-no one can find her brother and her sister doesn’t want to engage with her. The only saving grace is her nephew, kit. 
Throughout the novel, Natalie and Lynn explore their past resentments and what happened 15 years ago, while trying to locate their brother. 
  I really enjoyed the first 1/2 of the book, with piecing together what happened to the siblings 15 years ago and why they don’t speak now. However, at some point in the novel, I started to lose interest as many subplots started to surface and at times, it felt as if there were maybe 3 novels in one. The end of the novel dragged slightly as well due to trying to wrap up a few loose ends. 
However, I did enjoy the characters and liked the twist on the estranged family trope that we commonly find. I applaud the authors efforts to throw in some twists, it just felt like it was too much at times.
  I would rate it 3.5 if I could, and overall, I found it an enjoyable and at times engaging novel.
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What was their mother thinking when she conditioned their inheritances on Natalie, Lynn, and Jake all being present at the family home.  The entire family has been estranged ever since the night 15 years ago that Natalie called the police and Lynn and Jake ended up going to prison.  Told from Natalie's POV, this is all about reconciliation and forgiveness, as well as about finding your truth.  Natalie has been living in Boston and working writing backgrounds on renovated historic homes but she really wants to be an scientific illustrator.  She's got a horrible (really) boyfriend and a psycho cat which she packs up and takes (along with her lizard) on a road trip to California.  Lynn turns up with her son Kit and he proves to be the bridge between those two.  But what about Jake?  He's become a distinguished expert on marine life but he's also missing. Natalie's hunt for Jake brings her a romantic interest as well as an opening to the career she really wants.  No spoilers from me but this one takes some interesting turns.  Yes, Natalie seems remarkably immature in spots but I still found myself rooting for her.  There's more to everyone (including their mother's partner) than it appears and Lynn works in a unique capacity.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  I really enjoyed this terrific debut.
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Natalie Walker is estranged from her family. Fifteen years ago, her actions resulted in older brother Jake and her sister Lynn being sent to jail. She left Santa Cruz and made a life in Boston working for an architectural firm. When she is notified that her mother has died, Natalie learns that the inheritance of the family's historic Victorian mansion has a stipulation. All three siblings have to reunite in their former home to claim it. With recent job and romance disappointments, Natalie heads to California assuming her siblings still hate her for being the one responsible for their incarceration. Lynn, escaping an abusive husband, has also headed to the family home with her teenage son. But brother Jake, who is a scientist at the University of California Santa Cruz's Long Marine Lab, has disappeared. The Walkers are certainly not a typical family. 

I fully enjoyed author Sierra Godfrey's impressive debut. Natalie is such an appealing character. She is someone who has lived with an incredible amount of guilt and sadness. So, when she finally has the chance to reconnect with the siblings she loves and misses, it is impossible not to root for her happiness. And while this is a family drama, it is often very witty and upbeat. I enjoy books about forgiveness and second chances. This one was very well done. And be sure to read the interview with the author at the end.
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I absolutely loved A Very Typical Family! I think it deals with heavy situations such as grief, abuse, and familial isolation really well. It all rang very true and there were even some moments that made me a bit emotional. This is an extremely strong debut and I can’t wait to read what else this author writes! 

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
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I enjoyed this novel about a young woman who has not been in contact with her family for many years due to an incident while she was in high school.  She returns to her hometown roughly 15 years later after her mother passes and has much to catch up on.  It was funny at times, sad and a little upsetting at times, but overall I liked it.  Thanks to Netgalley for the eARC.
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An overall okay novel for a debut. I do believe it could have benefited from trimming down on subplots that didn’t add on or further the plot along in a substantial way. Honestly, the romance could’ve been cut out completely and got the same book. The reveal behind the siblings rift wasn’t that realistic due to how quick things escalated. If you were to blink too fast then you missed it. It’s the only time the main character wasn’t making one of their daily painfully dumb decisions. Even though the characters are all in their thirties, quite a bit of the story felt like a mellow filler episode of a teen drama show. What intrigued me the most was the story behind why Lynn chose her job. It sent me into a wikipedia rabbit hole that was...fascinating. lol 



Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks for providing a copy for an honest review.
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I really enjoyed this book.  Bravo to this first time author. 
This is the story of a California dysfunctional family not a typical one.  Natalie has not spoken to her siblings in 15 years. One night 15 years ago she called the police and her siblings went to jail.  They have not talked since.  Natalie receives a letter that her mother has died and there is a trust for the family home.  Natalie and her siblings must return to the house at the same time to claim the inheritance.  This is her mother's attempt to bring the family back together.

This book is a journey into each siblings life in the last 15 years and how each has coped with what happened.  I found myself wanting the family to get back together.  The book was emotional and has some triggers.  If you do not have the triggers it is an excellent book.  I would highly recommend this book.

Thank you to #netgalley, #SierraGodgrey, @Sourcebooks for a copy of this book.
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I love a good debut novel and even better I love a family drama.

Natalie hasn’t spoken to her family in 15 years. Since being the root cause her brother and sister spent time in jail and the subsequent fallout with her mother, she has been forging a life for herself in the east coast. She has a good job, good friends, and a budding relationship, until she finds out her mother has passed and in order to inherit the family home she must be present at the house along with her estranged siblings.

The strongest pull of this story is the pacing, shrouded in a bit of mystery, as to why Natalie’s siblings went to jail and what her role in it was. I wanted to see what had happened 15 years ago and Godfrey delivers on holding my intrigue. 

The characters aren’t particularly well developed but they are funny, with quirky careers that were fun to learn about.

A sprinkling of romance and some heavier light topics like drug use and domestic abuse made the story interesting and gave room for some emotions.

The big reveal and the kind of resentment and anger Natalie’s siblings had towards her I found a bit harsh, if anything I thought Natalie was completely in the right and I don’t think they gave enough thought to the fact she was only 17,  it all felt a bit overdone. 

A family drama with some extra substance always makes for an entertaining read and I think for a debut this was great. Check this one out September 12!


Thank you to NetGalley and Source Books for an advanced readers copy, all opinions are my own.
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I did not want this story to end. I could happily keep reading on and on. It was so engrossing. A family is rent apart when a tragedy occurs and a brother and sister go to prison, blaming their little sister Natalie for it. Fifteen years later they are supposed to meet again, in accordance with their mother's will.  Natalie drives crosscountry, hoping for their forgiveness, expecting their hate.  To add to the stress she has to make some decisions about her professional life and her love life.
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