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Ratings and Book Reviews (5 6 star ratings
5 reviews
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4.3 out of 5
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    A psychological thriller, a legal drama...

    A psychological thriller, a legal drama, a family drama - this book is everything! It's all about the characters. Told from the point of view of three different unreliable narrators, not only do the characters not know who to trust, but you don't know who to trust either! How far would you go to defend your child? (My mom would totally throw me to the wolves if she thought I was guilty.) The characters each take the reader through one of three phase of the trial from their own point of view with their own struggles and opinions. It starts off a bit slow, but keep going! You'll totally be hooked in the last two thirds!
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    Where will you stop to protect your family?

    A Nearly Normal Family is a fascinating glimpse into the inner workings of a family that seems on the surface to be average and rather boring and forces you to think about what you might do if your family was threatened and if your morals might shift. The story starts out in Adam’s voice and grabs you right away. Even in the prologue you don’t know what he is going to say when questioned by the police, and it Immediately sets up the possibility of him lying rather than telling the truth, of doing whatever is necessary to save his daughter. The writing starts off rather stilted, whether because it’s a translation from a Swedish author or because this is the way Adam is I’m not sure, but it works well. Adam is a pastor but that seems very secondary. The primary impression of him is that he is just odd. And that there is a lot more to him than what you see. As we learn more about the Sandell family they all seem odd. Is Stella a Bad Seed? Is there much, much more going on under the surface with a really unreliable narrator and huge twist or reveal coming, or is this a family of three with each living more or less in their own little world? Or are they all together in some kind of conspiracy? Part Two is Stella’s voice, and we really don’t learn any more about her actions or motives. All we learn is that she is very smart, very clever. The Disney reference to Lady on a meatball date is pretty cute. And is, ““I don’t know if it’s worth it, if I can handle it.” a clue? Should we start to think that Adam may have somehow done this when Stella reflects that It’s awfully ironic that the sides of me that bother Dad most are the things I inherited from him? The suspense continues to build. Part Three is in the mostly absent mom’s voice. You are kept guessing whether she and Stella have truly finally bonded after years of Stella being a daddy’s girl or not. And you have the sense she has some underlying motive or activity going on that Adam and Stella aren’t aware of. A Nearly Normal Family is a complex story keeps you guessing, with a satisfying ending that you won’t see coming. Unfortunately, I couldn’t feel empathy or sympathy for any of these characters, including the lawyer, and I was often impatient with Adam’s and Stella’s seeming willingness to try and place the blame on someone else. Thanks to Celadon Books for providing the advance copy of A Nearly Normal Family in exchange for my honest opinion. I recommend it as an exciting summer read.
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    Great read!

    What a great read and what a family! Adam, a controlling pastor father, Ulrika, a workaholic mother who does not seem to be that interested in her daughter Stella and lets her do pretty much what she wants to. Stella turns 18 as the story starts with flashbacks to her younger years. Stella has been friends with Amina since preschool and they are inseparable. Stella and Amina meet Christopher Olsen, who is about about 10 years older than they are, at the bar one night. Christopher starts seeing Stella and then one night Christopher ends up murdered. Stella is arrested and charged with the murder and the story takes a lot of twists and turns as the case goes through the court with a very surprising ending. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC of this fascinating book in exchange for an honest review.
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    A Nearly Normal Family

    A Nearly Normal Family by M. T. Edvardsson takes place in Sweden, but it's easy to understand the legal system and court scenes the way they are presented. Mr Edvardsson tells us the story from three different points of view, keeping the reader on the edge of their seat trying to figure out exactly what had happened. I'm looking forward to reading more by this author. I was given an early copy to review.
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    Intensely suspenseful page-turner

    This book is the definition of a page-turner, a masterpiece of suspense. I loved the way the book is broken into three sections: The Father, The Daughter, The Mother. With each section, we get a distinctly different narrative voice, a little more background information and accompanying secrets, and a new perspective on the murder and how this "nearly normal family" started down a destructive spiral. Are any of them telling the whole truth? Who has all the information? It was fully engrossing, and even when I was caught up in the "current" storyline of the murder investigation, the flashbacks that fleshed out each character were always just as interesting. Each person's past informs how they choose to act during the investigation, and the lingering sense that the full story still hasn't been uncovered is wrapped up in an ultimately satisfying conclusion. A disturbing examination of how far people will go to protect a reputation, a friend, a daughter.
6

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