Blog Tour: The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone by Felicity McLean

June 7, 2019 Book review 3 ★★★★½

The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone by Felicity McLean dazzled me with lyrical prose, a strong sense of setting, and a whimsical feel.

Thanks to Random Things Tours for letting me participate in this blog tour, and for giving me the book for review consideration. As always, no matter what the source of the book, you get my honest, unbiased opinion.

Blog Tour: The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone by Felicity McLeanThe Van Apfel Girls Are Gone by Felicity McLean
Published by Algonquin Books on June 25, 2019
Genres: Thrillers, Psychological, Coming of Age
Pages: 304
Buy on Amazon

The Virgin Suicides meets Picnic at Hanging Rock in this stunning international debut.

“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.”

Tikka Malloy was eleven and one-sixth years old during the long hot summer of 1992, living in an Australian suburb with her sister and their three best friends. The TV news in the background chattered with debate about the exoneration of Lindy (“dingo took my baby”) Chamberlain. That summer was when the Van Apfel sisters, Ruth, Hannah, and the beautiful Cordelia, mysteriously disappeared.

Did they just run—far away from their harsh, evangelical parents—or were they taken? While the search for the girls united the small community, the mystery of their disappearance was never solved, and Tikka and her older sister, Laura, have been haunted ever since by the loss of their friends and playmates.

Now, years later, Tikka has returned home to try to make sense of that strange moment in time, of the summer that left her frozen in the past, of the girls that she never forgot.

Part mystery, part darkly comic coming-of-age story, The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone is a page-turning read—with a dark, shimmering absence at its heart.

addictive BOOKLOVE suspense Well Written

First line of The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone

The ghost turned up in time for breakfast, summonsed by the death rattle of the Cornflakes in their box.

My thoughts

I adored this book. One thing I love about blog tours is that it helps you find books that you might not otherwise come across. And this book deserves to find readers who will love it as much as I do.

One scorching hot summer, three sisters disappeared. That’s the premise, and it sounds simple and sinister. However the delivery of this story feels original and hauntingly different to anything else I’ve read lately.

As I turned the pages, I felt the blazing hot sun, and the isolation of the rundown rural Australian town. I lost myself in the innocence of the childhood games, the confusion you feel when you hears bits of story as a child, but don’t have the knowledge to piece it all together. Tikka narrates the story, as a adult, reminiscing back to the summer when she was eleven and one sixth. The summer where three of her neighbourhood friends slipped away, and were lost forever.

The book is about the Van Apfel sisters, but it is equally about Tikka and her sister Laura. The ones who were left behind, and how they had to learn to live with an enigma that shattered through their childhood.

The blurb compared this story to Picnic at Hanging Rock, so I was expecting an ambigious ending. However I’ll stay spoiler free by not revealing whether that was what was delivered or not. My mind raced with theories as I read, and even now as I write this, I’m still thinking about all the characters and their stories.

I loved how The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone by @FelicityMcLean managed to be sinister, and whimsical and totally unforgettable. What a cracking debut novel! @AnneCater #RandomThingsTours Click To Tweet

I loved how it managed to be sinister, and whimsical and totally unforgettable. What a cracking debut novel!

Rating Report
Did I feel it?
Overall: five-stars

Who should read The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone

I’d highly recommend this to you if you love mysteries, hauntingly beautiful writing and vibrant characters. Fans of The Virgin Suicides and Picnic at Hanging Rock should also enjoy.

About Felicity McLean

Felicity McLean was born in Sydney Australia. She graduated at Sydney University with a BA in English and Australian literature and worked as a book publicist before embarking on a freelance career. Her journalism has appeared in The Daily Telegraph, The Courier Mail and the Big Issue, among others, and she has ghost-written celebrity autobiographies. THE VAN APFEL GIRLS ARE GONE is her first novel. She lives with her English husband and two young children in Australia.


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3 Responses to “Blog Tour: The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone by Felicity McLean”

  1. Sam@wlabb

    I like the idea of a mystery/coming-of-age combo, and also like that the story recalls events from their childhood through an adult lens. Glad it was a hit for you.

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