The Vale Girl
Pan Macmillan Australia Pty Ltd
“I had seen every last secret laid bare in my own house, every briefcase in Banville gaping open.
But I had missed one.”
Fifteen-year-old Sarah Vale has disappeared from the small town of Banville.
Resident copper Sergeant Henson attempts to find the missing girl but the locals dismiss his investigations. What would you expect with a mother like hers anyway?
No one cares except teenager Tommy Johns – for Sarah Vale takes a straight line t his heart.
A delicate and layered exploration of secrets and lies, forgotten children and absent parents, and the long shadows of the past.
An extraordinary debut from a talented new writer.
A solid debut performance by author Nelika McDonald. I really enjoyed this fast paced contemporary novel that features astute character development and brilliant observational qualities depicting small town middle class Australia in the 1980’s. As Edmund Burke is reputed to have said “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”, and this theme is very evident and relevant in this narrative. Neighbours and community members ignore ongoing domestic violence, bullying is prevalent in the behaviours of children and adults alike and rumour and innuendo prescribe how individuals are perceived and treated. Thankfully we have several heroes in this book who do not sit idly by and let the past totally dictate the future.
This is a multi-layered sensitive narrative that is an introspective analysis of contemporary attitudes largely still relevant today; of family histories and values, of secrets and lies, of children exchanging roles with the adults in their lives, a story that discusses the meaning of love and family and a wonderful coming of age narrative. This narrative is so many things but most of all it is an impressive, engaging debut novel.