Book Review: A Nearly Normal Family

A NEARLY NORMAL FAMILY | M.T. Edvardsson
06.25.2019 | Celadon Books
Rating: 5/5 stars

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How far would you go to protect the ones you love? The Sandell family is facing a situation that they never in their wildest imaginations thought would happen to them. Eighteen-year-old Stella has been charged with brutally murdering a man almost fifteen years older than her. Stella claims not to know what happened, but her parents don’t know what to believe.

Stella’s father, a pastor, embarks in his own investigative process by following every move the lead detective takes and even going so far as to reach out to a few persons of interest himself. Stella’s mother, a criminal defense attorney is working to get Stella the best representation available, while struggling with a moral compass that leads her to question Stella’s innocence. How well do you know your children? What would you do if they were charged with murder?

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It takes a long time to build a life, but only an instant for it to crumble. It takes many years – decades, maybe a lifetime – to become the person you truly are. The path is always circuitous, and I think there’s a reason for that, for life to be built around trial and error. We are shaped and created by our trials.

M.T. Edvardsson has blown me away with A NEARLY NORMAL FAMILY! I walked into this book expecting a legal thriller, which for all genre picking purposes, it certainly fits. What I found was so much more! This book is broken down into three parts: the father, the daughter, and the mother. The reader walks through the current situation with the father, the events of the night in question and those days leading up to it with the daughter, and ends with the mother leading us through the court case. I absolutely adored this breakdown! I was able to sympathize with each member of the Sandell family, while piecing together the events of what was happening present day, as well as the night of the murder.

The Sandell family serves as not only the narrators, but also the basis to the story, so the reader is able to intimately bond with all three of the family members and see the situation from all sides. I really enjoyed the order in which Edvardsson chose to introduce us to the family and the perspectives we were told from each. I would easily pick Stella as my favorite character and section of the story, simply for how real she seemed as a person. There was nothing hidden about Stella. Did she hide herself from her parents? Yes, but once the reader was inside her mind, you truly got to understand what made her tick.

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How many times can you allow yourself to lie? Sooner or later you’ll cross the line of decency and dignity, no matter how noble the purpose of the lie may seem.

The plot to this book as a whole is filled with suspenseful moments. There are tense situations from each family member, where the reader is put in a place of not only wanting to know what will happen, but also wondering what they would have done in that person’s shoes. I can’t imagine being any member of the Sandell family and having to go through this situation. There is also an overwhelming element of distrust to the story. The reader can’t fully believe what the narrators are telling them, but there is truth to everyone’s story, it just needs to be drawn out. To make matters more complicated, it seems that everyone surrounding the Sandell family is hiding something as well.

A NEARLY NORMAL FAMILY is a book focused on a realistic scenario that will make the reader think about their morals and compare themselves to those involved. Would you have done what the Sandell family did? You’ll have to read this one to find out!


This book is available to buy from: Amazon | Book Depository

Disclosure: Thank you to Celadon Books and Bookish First for sending me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review!

Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.

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