The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone

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...

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Title:The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone
Author:Felicity McLean
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone Reviews

  • karen

    look who came all the way from australia and braved a biblical downpour just to sign books for our book club!

    look who came all the way from australia and braved a biblical downpour just to sign books for our book club!

    "they" are three australian sisters; cordie, hannah, and ruth van apfel, who go missing one summer in 1992. "us" is the small community left rocked by the girls' disappearance, most specifically tikka malloy and her sister laura, who were eleven and fourteen that summer; close friends and neighbors of the van apfel girls.

    twenty years later, tikka is living in baltimore, still haunted by the unresolved questions surrounding the vanishing, still obsessed with this defining dramatic event of her childhood. returning to her hometown to visit her cancer-stricken sister, her memories of the time and events leading up to the girls' disappearance resurface, mixing with laura's own corroborations and contradictions, picking apart what she knew, what she suspected, what she witnessed but couldn’t fully understand or interpret as a child.

    it’s both a coming-of-age story and a work of suburban suspense; one where the past is unpacked, examined, and relived. the writing style is vivid and immediate, but the scenes, through tikka’s eyes, have a gauzy, hazy quality to them that has as much to do with the porousness of memory as it does with that summer’s heat wave.

    i became completely engrossed in it, i loved the structure, i responded very favorably both to the characters and the fully-realized atmosphere made up of small-town gossip, ambiguity, and adolescent-girl secrecy; a cocktail that anyone who enjoys the work of megan abbott will appreciate.

    as a related aside, i am someone who often scoffs at dust jacket readalikes and how frequently off-target they are; name-dropping best-sellers with little actual relevance to the book’s beating heart to lure unwary consumers. some of my scoffing is tinged with jealousy, since i yearn to be the queen of readers' advisory in charge of all readalike declarations, but in this case?

    meets

    is both a great hook and also great matches. and while it is true that i have only seen the film-version of

    (which may be why i am not yet the queen of readers' advisory), the tone of this is

    how i remember the tone of

    being: at once detached and voyeuristic, chronicling the bravado and charisma and vulnerability and emotional weight of adolescent girlhood.

    an impressive debut, and i'm looking forward to more from her in the future.

  • 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 average folks either. There’s Mr. Apfel, a religious f

    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 average folks either. There’s Mr. Apfel, a religious fanatic who leads the girls in Bible study and prayers and punishes those that don’t get the message correctly. There’s the teacher whose actions just don’t seem appropriate.

    McLean does a wonderful job of getting the kids just right - the weird discussions, the picking on siblings, the not quite understanding how things work.

    But as the book goes on, it gets more and more poignant. My heart just ached for those girls. All of them. Even as adults, when Laura and Tikka still wonder if they did the right thing. I had no idea how this would play out. It’s a wonderfully ambiguous story. Don’t go into this story expecting answers or you’ll be disappointed.

    My thanks to Algonquin Books for an advance copy of this book.

  • 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 sad story that kept me intrigued and kept me turning

    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 sad story that kept me intrigued and kept me turning the pages. This is a slow burn mystery. I did love the atmosphere. It did have some surprises, dark secrets, and It was a little disturbing. I wouldn't call this one a thriller. I am more of a thriller fan than a mystery fan.

    The setting takes place in Australia. I did have some questions at the end that were unanswered.

    I loved the descriptive writing style and I did connect with the characters. My heart went out to the sisters, Hannah, Cordelia and Ruth, and I really felt sorry for Tikka.

    This story is part mystery and a coming of age genre and would recommend this one to those that enjoy this genre.

    I want to thank Algonquin Books for the arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

    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 to the sisters that summer.

    If you are looking for a fresh take o

    ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

    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 to the sisters that summer.

    If you are looking for a fresh take on a suspenseful read, this is your book! The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone is an engaging mystery, as well as a campy coming-of-age story. It’s a compelling page-turner, and I’ve read nothing remotely like this premise or the way in which it was executed.

    The story has a melancholy tone, and the writing is lush and descriptive. I loved the Australia setting. Tikka and Laura shoulder some blame, as children often do, when things like this happen, whether it’s warranted or not. McLean captures the poignancy in their emotions, as well those as rippling through the small community from which these girls are lost.

    Overall, The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone is uniquely its own story. It’s captivating, original, and keeps you guessing. There’s a haze of ambiguity, and my mind was spinning. This is just how I like my mysteries!

    I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.

    My reviews can also be found on my blog:

  • 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. Tikka (I loved this name) is their precocious whip smart

    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. Tikka (I loved this name) is their precocious whip smart neighbour and mate is our narrator, she’s a feisty girl and oh so smart.

    A strange and frightening river town full of even stranger characters, we never really get the full gist of what is going on. An ungodly holy man with a spineless wife, a teacher who is not straight up, and families just being families in the suburbs gives us a confusing sense of some misdirected young girls without bearings nor an anchor to give them any sense of safety. I was listening to this audio read with such intensity at the very end that I missed my freeway exit one Sunday night, but I do remember driving along thinking ‘I need to know more, please!’. Australian literature fans will be sure to like this beguiling offering.

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