Hagen Carmichael's Review // The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone

The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone // Felicity McLean

Publication: June 25, 2019
Genre: International Mystery and Crime; Women's Contemporary Fiction; Coming of Age
Pages: 304
Pace: Relatively Fast-Paced



A Recommended Summer Read from Entertainment Weekly * Bustle * Nylon * Cosmopolitan

"How do you escape your childhood, emotionally, actually?  This compelling mystery has a rare depth of psychological and emotional truth. It will engage your heart.” —Delia Ephron, New York Times bestselling author of Siracusa
Tikka Malloy was eleven and one-sixth years old during the long, hot, Australian summer of 1992. 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.

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.


This novel arrived with much praise and adoration. I had high expectations, but unfortunately this novel did not live up to them. Tikka came home due to a family emergency and immerses herself with the events of the summer of 1992. The story is split between present day and 1992, which is interesting, though lacks satisfaction because the reader is left wanting more. 

There isn't any real resolution, which may be my issue with this novel. Perhaps I am missing something other readers noticed. 


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