The Van Apfel Girls are Gone
by Felicity McLean
Pub Date 06 Jun 2019
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A compulsive, note-perfect debut for fans of The Virgin Suicides and Picnic at Hanging Rock
'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 Molloy was eleven and one-sixth years old during the long hot summer of 1992, growing up in an isolated suburb in Australia surrounded by encroaching bushland. That summer, the hottest on record, was when the Van Apfel sisters – Hannah, the beautiful Cordelia and Ruth – mysteriously disappeared during the school's Showstopper concert, held at the outdoor amphitheatre by the river. Did they run away? Were they taken? While the search for the sisters unites the small community, the mystery of their disappearance has never been solved.
Now, years later, Tikka has returned home and is beginning to make sense of that strange moment in time. The summer that shaped her. The girls that she never forgot.
Brilliantly observed, spiky, sharp, funny and unexpectedly endearing, The Van Apfel Girls are Gone is part mystery, part coming-of-age story – with a dark shimmering unexplained absence at its heart.
'A smart, classy thriller that blazes with the heat of Australia and slowly reveals its many layers.' Fiona Mozley, author of Elmet
'A taut, beautifully written thriller with a scorching expansive setting. The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone is a fantastic debut and a story that lingers.' Lisa Ballantyne, author of The Guilty One