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The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  4,099 ratings  ·  607 reviews
'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
Paperback, 304 pages
Published April 1st 2019 by HarperCollins Publishers Australia
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Bob Walenski I think it told her name at the beginning...but i forget and returned the book to the library....i'll try to find it again, you've got me curious too.…moreI think it told her name at the beginning...but i forget and returned the book to the library....i'll try to find it again, you've got me curious too. Tikki is a shortened nickname, yes, b ut shortened from what.......??? I'm on it!!!!(less)
Jerika The Virgin Suicides definitely crossed my mind a few times while reading this. It probably served as a sort on inspiration, and they definitely have t…moreThe Virgin Suicides definitely crossed my mind a few times while reading this. It probably served as a sort on inspiration, and they definitely have things in common.(less)

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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 things vanished—just evaporated in the heat. Not a
Mary Beth
May 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: paper-arc

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
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 to the sisters that summer.

If you are looking for a fresh ta
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 were trying to recall to begin with."

Hannah, Cor
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
EXCERPT: The ghost turned up in time for breakfast, summoned by the death rattle of Cornflakes in their box.

She arrived on foot. Bare feet. Barelegged and white knuckled, in a pale cotton nightie that clung to her calves and slipped off one shoulder as jaunty as a hat. Her hair was damp with sleep sweat - whose wasn't that summer? - and stiff strands of it fenced in her thirteen-year-old face like blinkers strapped to a colt.

By the time we got there she was already halfway across the cul-de-sa
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 ...more
Jan 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 5000-2020
Now here's a strange thing. I usually complain when a book finishes without telling me what happened to everyone. Yet the ending of this one, although there was no resolution, was perfect for the story that it told. Maybe because I related it in my mind to the three Beaumont siblings who really did disappear from an Australian beach more than 50 years ago now and still have not been found. No resolution to their story either!

The author creates the most atmospheric Australian setting I have read
May 03, 2019 rated it liked it
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 is plenty of nostalgia for Gen X Aussies (sunnyboys by the pool; a slumber party complete with half-arsed séance; the Azaria Chamberlain case in the news). The child narrator is endearing, and the author really seems to get the dynamics between adolescent & preteen girls.

The blu
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 from her now adult viewpoint.

Tikka's memories of g
Larry H
Sep 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
If you're looking for a mysterious, quirky book that may leave you with more questions than answers, Felicity McLean's The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone may be just the ticket for you!

"We lost all three girls that summer. Let them slip away like the words of dome half-remembered song, and when one came back, she wasn't the one we were trying to recall to begin with."

In the summer of 1992, Tikka Malloy and her older sister, Laura, were living in a suburban Australian town. Tikka was 11-1/6 years o
Dec 13, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I had high expectations for this and ended up disappointed. Don't read on if you don't want to be spoiled, although I had it spoiled by reading reviews and this is the first time I can recall being glad. That doesn't excuse those who spoiled it except me; I've warned you. Because I still can't manage to do HTML code properly. (Note to Felicity McLean: If you're reading this and thinking why is my book being judged by an idiot who can't do HTML, I get it, I do.)

This is about three sisters in Aust
“We thought we'd seen the worst when those girls disappeared, but seeing, and not seeing, is a funny old thing. Even now, I don't know which is crueller in the end.”
― Felicity McLean, The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone

I am realizing maybe I should not pick books from the library or the book store if I am on limited time to browse.

I am trying to save money so that is why I am doing t his but in the process I am picking books that are not a fit for me at all.

This book is so different I do not even know
Dannii Elle
The Van Apfel girls are all blonde-haired, green tinged from the chlorinated waters of their backyard swimming pool, long-limbed, a sun-kissed brown from the relentless Australian sunshine, and, mostly importantly, all missing. One night the three sisters disappeared. One returned, but not the one they were hoping for, but the mystery of where they went and why remained.

The narrative is split between past and present sections and I appreciated how little the focus remained in the present. The ch
Apr 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: five-star-books
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 Baltimore, Tikka has been haunted by the disappearan
Jul 08, 2019 rated it liked it
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 once you have closed the book.
Unique and sad, with poi
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 assured, refined and incredibly intriguing. It had me hook, line and
Nov 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
I struggled to get into this book at first, and I'm still not sure if that was down the story, or just my frame of mind. It was one of those days where I just couldn't get absorbed into what was taking place on the page, like I was incredibly aware I was reading, never quite connecting with anything.
The next day when I picked it back up things fell into place pretty quickly. The struggle of the first 70 pages fell away and I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of the book.

The thing that I think I wil
Apr 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 full of the story of Lindy Chamberlain, released, after
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 voice seems to flit between that of an adult and that
Brooke - One Woman's Brief Book Reviews

The 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 unsatisfied haha. The synopsis states "this is Picnic
Jun 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 as suspicions, are voiced by narrator and friend of ...more
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I have been listening to this on audio book.
It’s a slow burner but steady. I’m not complaining about that at all.
I gave it 3* because it’s good.

Well written. Characters well pitched and believable.
Loved how this unfolded.
It’s not a thriller though, it’s more a mystery.

So the parents of these girls are very religious.
On one certain occasion while things were going on......whoosh.....the sisters vanished.

There is a lot to this book and
More words than there was solid story. Too many questions left unanswered.

(view spoiler)
3.5 stars rounded up.

They keep coming out with these titles containing the words Gone and Girls, and I am still a sucker for them. Add a pink cover, and I snapped this up from Chirp as soon as they had a $.99 sale. It's description as part mystery, part coming-of-age is right up my alley; and the Australian narrator's accent is authentic.

The Van Apfel Girls -- Hannah, Cordelia, and little Ruth -- were neighbors of the Malloy girls, Tikka and Laura, before the three sisters went missing 20 years
Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
May 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc
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 disappeared.  It was a confusing time for the precociou
Jul 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars
I 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.
Jun 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 as I read more, I found myself totally sucked in
Apr 03, 2020 rated it liked it
Like a cross between Picnic At Hanging Rock and the Virgin Suicides with it’s similar tone and themes, with a haunting quality that lingers but also left me hanging for a more dramatic conclusion.
1992, and an early, searing Australian summer. In a small river valley town outside of Sydney, the three Van Apfel sisters – Hannah, Cordelia and Ruth – disappear during the yearly outdoor “Showstopper” concert organised by their school. All the community is marked by this disturbing occurrence, and none more so than eleven-year old Tikka – the narrator of this novel – and her older sister Laura, close friends of the Van Apfel girls. Twenty years later, back home from America where she now works ...more
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“We thought we'd seen the worst when those girls disappeared, but seeing, and not seeing, is a funny old thing. Even now, I don't know which is crueller in the end.” 1 likes
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