The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone
Harper Collins Publishers Australia
We lost all three girls that summer. Let them slip away like the words of some half-remembered song and when one came back, she wasn’t the one we were trying to recall to begin with.’
So begins Tikka Molloy’s recounting of the summer of 1992 – the summer the Van Apfel sisters, Hannah, the beautiful Cordelia and Ruth – disappear.
Eleven and one-sixth years old, Tikka is the precocious narrator of this fabulously endearing coming-of-age story, set in an eerie Australian river valley suburb with an unexplained stench. The Van Apfel girls vanish from the valley during the school’s ‘Showstopper’ concert, held at the outdoor amphitheatre by the river. While the search for the sisters unites the small community on Sydney’s urban fringe, the mystery of their disappearance remains unsolved forever.
Brilliantly observed, sharp, lively, funny and entirely endearing, this novel is part mystery, part coming-of-age story – and quintessentially Australian. Think The Virgin Suicides meets Jasper Jones meets Picnic at Hanging Rock.
If evocative, tension packed mysteries are your thing than don’t miss reading this book.
Felicity McLean captures the age of the characters, the idiom and the culture of the 90’s effortlessly – or makes it seem effortlessly.
I was glued to the pages, holding my breath, hoping for a positive outcome. There is so much tension packed into every observation, every comment, and every moment.
This is compelling, haunting and thought provoking. I loved every minute of this read. Is this the best read of the year? I think so. It is a book that will stay with me for a long time.