The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone by Felicity McLean

The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone

'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 i...

Details The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone

TitleThe Van Apfel Girls Are Gone
Release DateApr 1st, 2019
PublisherHarperCollins Publishers Australia
GenreMystery, Fiction, Thriller, Mystery Thriller, Cultural, Australia

Reviews The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone

  • karen
    look who came all the way from australia and braved a biblical downpour just to sign books for our book club! They had six femurs, ninety-nine vertebrae, three skulls and thirty fingernails. Six kneecaps, forty-eight carpal bones, and more than three million strands of blonde hair, all tinged alien-green by the chlorine in their pool which, up until the day they went missing, we’d swum in almost every single day that summer.And yet all of these...
  • Mary Beth *Traveling Sister*
    3.5 Stars!The Van Apfel girls grew up with an extremely strict religious father.Tikka Molloy can't forget the summer of 1992. It was the summer that the Van Apfel sisters disappeared, all three of them. The story is set in Australia, in an eerie river valley suburb with an awful unexplained smell. The night of the Showstopper concert by the river was the night that the Van Apfel girls disappeared. They vanished without a trace. This was a very sa...
  • Liz
    My initial impression of this book was quirky. Tikka returns home from Baltimore to the suburbs outside Sidney, Australia. The trip brings on an onslaught of memories from the year she’s 11, the year her neighborhood friends, three sisters, disappear. And what’s apparent and obvious to an adult is not to an eleven year old. So her impressions are just a tad off, leading to a slightly offbeat telling. And the secondary characters are not your ...
  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
    This was a different sort of mystery crossed with coming-of-age, and I loved it! ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ Tikka Malloy’s playmates, the Van Apfel sisters, disappeared when she was eleven years old. It’s a mystery haunting her and her sister, Laura, for years. Ruth, Hannah, and Cordelia have harsh, religious parents, and it’s never been known if they ran away or were taken. Tikka has now returned home as an adult to try to grasp just what happened t...
  • Suzanne
    To me, this darkly themed story had a slight literary fiction feel, and I don’t love that genre. In saying that, I was okay with it. Set in the early 1990’s, this tale of three sisters who simply go missing on the night of the school concert, leaves the reader with a lot of pondering to do. Full of Aussie colloquialisms, and extremely well told, we witness the young Van Apfel sisters, bought up in a disturbingly warped religious household. Ti...
  • Michelle
    This book is so rich and lush in atmosphere. I could feel the heat wave of this Australian summer as the hot sun kissed my skin. I could hear the birds chirping and the insects buzzing and I almost felt as if I was walking hand in hand with Tikka as she told me the story about the Van Apfel girls. "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 we...
  • Marchpane
    The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone is well written, easy to read, easily devoured in an afternoon. It’s slick, but conventional: it’s too easy to see the film adaptation playing out in your head. Set mostly in 1992, there’s plenty of nostalgia for Gen X Aussies (sunnyboys by the pool; a slumber party complete with half-arsed séance; hearing about the Azaria Chamberlain case in the news). The child narrator is endearing, and the author really se...
  • Carolyn
    On the night of a school concert in an ordinary 1990s Australian suburb, the three van Apfel girls disappeared. Hannah 14, Cordelia (Cordie) 13 and Ruth, 7. Despite extensive searches, only one of them is ever found. Twenty years later their neighbour and friend Tikka Molloy returns home to visit her parents and older sister Laura and relates the events that led up to the girls' disappearance through her then 11 year old understanding as well as ...
  • Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
    *‘Then she said the words I’d been waiting to hear: ‘Don’t you know? The Van Apfel girls are gone.’Felicity McLean may have just released her first debut novel, but she is no stranger to the written word. She has carved out a career as a respected ghost writer, a children’s book author and a journalist. This previous experience has put McLean in good standing. The Van Apfel Girls are Gone is assure...
  • Susan
    Tikka returns to Australia, from her new life in Baltimore, as her sister, Laura, has cancer. Returning home triggers all sorts of memories and, for Tikka, it throws her back twenty years, to when she was eleven and Laura was fourteen. Their neighbours were the Van Apfel girls – Hannah, who was Laura’s confidante, thirteen year old Cordelia, who Tikka looked up to, and six year old Ruth.The summer was unbearably hot and the televisions were f...
  • Kelli
    I can’t put my finger on the why of it, but this book took me forever to finish. The more I read, the more I appreciated the skill with which the author crafted the childhood summer slowly rolling along and the intricacies of the relationships between the girls, who were neighbors and friends. Those atmospheric entities felt like characters in this hazy, out-of-reach mystery that might make you wonder if the answer is there within the pages onc...
  • Michael
    The title of this debut novel could not be more descriptive of the story if it tried. But far from being a work of crime fiction or an edge of your seat thriller, this is more of psychological look at those left behind. In this case, we experience the incident through Tikka who twenty years earlier along with her older sister Laura was friends with neighbors, the Van Apfel girls Hannah, Cordelia and Ruth. Back in Australia after flying in from Ba...
  • Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
    3.5 stars"We lost all three girls that summer. Let them slip away like the words of some half-remembered song." *In the summer of 1992, a quiet suburb in Australia is stunned when the three Van Apfel sisters - Hannah, Cordelia, and Ruth - disappear.  Suddenly the news is no longer focused on the infamous Azaria Chamberlain case and the community is searching the valley for any sign of the girls.Tikka Malloy was eleven the summer her friends disa...
  • Brooke - One Woman's Brief Book Reviews
    ** Van Apfel Girls Are Gone by Felicity McLean. (2019).Tikka was 11 years old in 1992 when the three Van Apfel sisters disappeared during the school's concert. Years later Tikka has returned home and is trying to make sense of the summer that shaped her and the three girls she never forgot. I should have known from the synopsis on the back of the book that I would finish this book unsa...
  • Juli
    The VanApfel Girls disappeared in 1992. All 3 of them. Hannah, Ruth and Cordelia. Gone. No Trace. Never found. Tikka remembers when the girls disappeared. The mystery pulled the small Australian community together....but over time dark secrets are revealed. This story develops slowly. It's richly atmospheric and subtle....sad, disturbing and mesmerizing. I couldn't put the book down once I got into the story. At first, I was a bit confused....but...
  • Roman Clodia
    This feels like a mash-up of books and tropes that have all been done before, and better: the edgy adolescence of girls (Megan Abbott), the unsolved mysterious disappearance of Australian girls (Picnic at Hanging Rock), the violent Christian fundamentalist father and subservient wife, the mysterious and creepy new male teacher who may or may not like boys and may or may not have been in prison...The narrative feels fussy to me: the 1st person voi...
  • Arlene
    More words than there was solid story. Too many questions left unanswered.(view spoiler)[ Whatever did happen to the girls? Why did Mr Avery hang himself? Why didn’t the author reveal his past? Who got Cordie pregnant? What happened to Lor? (hide spoiler)]
  • Lou
    Sometimes it's the subtle thrillers that hit you the hardest, and that indeed was the case with The Van Apfel Girls are Gone. At its heart, this is a complex, multi-layered psychological family drama set in the humid heat of Sydney, Australia circa 1992 and it simply oozes tension and an ominous atmosphere runs for the whole duration. It follows three sisters as they come-of-age and their disappearance and the surrounding circumstances, as well a...
  • Liz Barnsley
     loved this.Beautifully atmospheric, a snapshot in time that is utterly gripping, The Van Apfel Girls are Gone is a tense and character driven psychological thriller in the classic sense of the word.Our narrator Tikka guides us, first through a child’s eyes then through the filter of adulthood, through the friendships and drama of her youth leading up to the disappearance of three sisters. A small community searches and mourns but not all ques...
  • Jaclyn (sixminutesforme)
    3.5 🌟 This was a well written, reasonably paced read - structurally, I enjoyed the shift between the contemporary narrative and the flashbacks to the 1990s when the girls went missing. I thought the child-narrator was particularly well done, and immersed the reader in such an Australian experience of childhood in the 1990a complete with sunny boys in the garden, the Azaria Chamberlain case, and typical coming-of-age type adventure. .There were...
  • Deborah
    I requested this book belatedly after seeing it pop up in a few places. It's got one of those interesting titles and alluring covers and, though I didn't entirely know what I was going to be reading, the notion of disappearing girls seemed to be something that sat firmly in my reading comfort zone.I very much liked McLean's writing and note - though this is her first novel - she's previously ghost-written a number of books, so her prose reflect a...
  • Jennifer (JC-S)
    ‘We saw more of those girls after they disappeared than we ever did before.’In the summer of 1992, when Tikka Malloy was ‘eleven and one-sixth old’, her three best friends — the three Van Apfel sisters— disappeared. Two families, living in the suburbs. Mr and Mrs Van Apfel and their daughters Hannah, Cordelia and Ruth. Mr and Mrs Malloy and their daughters Laura and Tikka (a nickname everyone seems to use). And, as Tikka remembers, th...
  • Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
    ‘Don’t you know? The Van Apfel girls are gone.’In the summer of 1992, sisters Hannah, Cordelia, and Laura Van Apfel vanished from an outdoor school concert. Twenty years later, Tikka Molloy still imagines she might see the Van Apfel girls again, and when she returns to her family home to support her ill sister, she cannot help but reexamine the events of that fateful summer. “We lost all three girls that summer. Let them slip away like th...
  • Trish at Between My Lines
    4.5 starsThe 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.FIRST LINE OF THE VAN APFEL GIRLS ARE GONEThe ghost turned up in time for breakfast, summonsed by t...
  • Hannah
    There are many books about hot, exasperated childhood summers in the suburbs or far-flung country towns where the days seem never ending and something sinister lurks just out of sight. And they are more often than not written by our most eminent authors - Melina Marchetta, Trent Dalton, Tim Winton, Sonya Hartnett, Craig Silvey, David Malouf, Maureen McCarthy... All wonderful in their own ways. But this is the one that really got deep under my ski...
  • Anja
    2.5 starsI picked this book up, because it gave me virgin suicide vibes and I adore a good coming of age story. While this book is entertaining and a fast read, it sadly did nothing new at all. I wanted a "virgin suicide" vibe, not an almost retelling of the story. It's a good summer read, but other books have done it better in my opinion.
  • Susan Johnson
    3.5 starsTikka Molloy returns home to her rural Australia home from Baltimore when her sister is diagnosed with a severe medical problem. The town is still hot but the river valley doesn't seem to have the same bad smell as when she was a child. The author does a wonderful job painting a picture of of the childhood neighborhood.Of course, talk and thought turns to the three Van Apfel girls who disappeared when they were young teens. The youngest ...
  • Heidi
    WOW! Just wow! This was easily one of the best psychological thrillers I have read all year! It’s hard to believe that this is the author’s first foray into the mystery genre.Tikka, who has been haunted by the disappearance of three childhood friends and neighbours, the “Van Apfel girls”, twenty years ago, returns to Australia to support her sister, who has recently been diagnosed with cancer. Coming back to her small hometown nestled int...
  • Lesley Moseley
    3 1/2 to be fair, but it really needed a great editor as in all other aspects, it was a really good read. I had to skim the TOOOO many bible-study pages, and some useless 11 year old dialogue about nothing..Worth a read.
  • Natasha
    4.5 stars. We have all read countless books about missing girls, but this felt different. It wasn't your standard mystery - so some readers may be disappointed if going into it with thriller expectations. It is a coming of age story; a division between childhood and adulthood; a before and after. I really enjoyed Tikka's narration as a child - a precocious, lively voice that made me smile.