Fog lies thick on New Year’s Eve as 17-year-old Jennifer walks from a teenage house party into the cold winter night – and disappears without a trace. Across town, her parents Lollo and Max are hosting their own celebrations, blissfully unaware that their lives are about to change forever. The couple’s annual New Year’s party features a gathering of old friends bound by tradition rather than fondness. Over the decades, the relationships have become riddled with jealousy, forbidden opinions about each other’s parenting, and political incorrectness. And yet, there is a sense of belonging worth holding on to. Because who knows you best if not your oldest friends?
As the first day of the new year dawns, the adults wake up to throbbing hangovers and a world in pieces. Through three distinct points-of-view, the group of friends begins to unravel: Lollo, Jennifer’s mother, an interior decorator obsessed with outer appearances who realizes that she does not know her own daughter at all; Nina, a struggling preschool teacher and Lollo’s childhood best friend who secretively thinks that the capricious Jennifer may have got what was coming to her; and Nina’s husband Fredrik, a disgruntled father of three who is clearly hiding something, and who may have been the last person to see Jennifer alive…
What really happened to Jennifer? And what role did Nina and Fredrik’s daughter Smilla play in her disappearance? The missing teenager is the catalyst that leads Lollo, Nina and Fredrik to spiral out of control, awakening dark secrets that have remained dormant for years. Tensions rise between parents who are dissatisfied with the lives they have made for themselves, and children who have begun to lead questionable lives of their own.
A Happy New Year is an addictive novel with relationships in focus where allegiances and expectations unravel in a shattering twist. Debut author Malin Stehn skillfully constructs a house of cards wherein three protagonists are forced to reconsider everything they thought they knew about each other – and about their own families. When it comes down to the wire, everyone is looking to save their own skin.