The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone MOBI Î Van Apfel Girls

The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone 35 StarsThe Van Apfel girls grew up with an extremely strict religious fatherTikka 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 of a thriller fan than a mystery fan The setting takes place in Australia I did have some uestions at the end that were unansweredI 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 Algonuin Books for the arc of this book in exchange for an honest review 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 Cordie and Ruth Van Apfel live under the thumb of their strict and often cruel religious father so Hannah and Cordie make a plan to runaway during the schools Showstopper concert The plan doesn't go accordingly yet the girls manage to disappear leaving their best friends and neighbors sisters Tikka and Laura wondering what has become of them even all these years later “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 crueler in the end” This book is being marketed as a mysterythriller and I think that is a huge disservice to this wonderful coming of age novel Yes there is the mystery of the Van Apfel girls disappearance but it remains unsolved so mystery lovers looking for resolutions may be disappointed and so with that being said there isn't really anything thrilling happening either Where this book succeeds is in character development and drawing a sense of place These characters came alive to me and were portrayed so realistically The conversation among the girls and their behaviors were so on point that it brought me back to my own early teen years I loved spending time with Tikka and this book If you enjoy coming of age tales then this is one not to be missed 4 Sultry Stars Thank you to NetGalley Edelweiss and Algonuin Books for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for my honest review My initial impression of this book was uirky Tikka returns home from Balti 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 uite understanding how things work But as the book goes on it gets and 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 Algonuin Books for an advance copy of this book 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 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 uniuely 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 ownMy reviews can also be found on my blog wwwjennifertarheelreadercom 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 collouialisms 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 please’ Australian literature fans will be sure to like this beguiling offering 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 sac Her unseeing eyes her stop me shuffle they'd taken her as far as that and she might have made it further too if it wasn't for the car that sat idling at a ninety degree angle to her path A right angle made from her wrongs The driver's elbow pointed accusingly out of the window and he leaned out and shouted to each neighbour as they arrived on the scene 'She came from nowhere' as if that were her crime This girl who appeared from thin air ABOUT THIS BOOK 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 recount of the summer of 1992 the summer the Van Apfel sisters Hannah the beautiful Cordelia and Ruth disappearEleven and one sixth years old Tikka is the precocious narrator of this fabulously endearing coming of age story set in an eerie Australian river valley suburb with an unexplained stench The Van Apfel girls vanish from the valley during the school's 'Showstopper' concert held at the outdoor amphitheatre by the river While the search for the sisters unites the small community on Sydney's urban fringe the mystery of their disappearance remains unsolved foreverMY THOUGHTS This was a delightful fix of Australiana 'Cossies' swimsuits 'thongs' flip flops 'yabbies' kookaburras and finishing sentences with 'but' I felt uite at home although I would never call the suburbs of Sydney home The dialogue is so realistic I could hear the voices complete with accents as I read The characters are enchanting A trio of teenage girls and their two younger sisters trying to make sense of life and the largely confusing behaviour of some of the adults in their lives These are normal girls They form friendships and cliues They suabble and sulk The older three often leave the younger two out of their plans and secrets Tikka not her real name and we never find out what that is or how she earns the nickname Tikka is stuck in no man's land older than 8 year old Ruth but not yet a teenager like Hannah Cordie and Laura It is Tikka who narrates the story so we only get to know what she knows andor suspects It is Cordie the sleepwalker who shines in this group Rebellious ethereal she has an air about her a sense of living beyond her years We learn of the cruel and inhumane treatment of the Van Apfel girls particularly Cordie at the hands of their father a religious fanatic And her suspicions about Mr Avery Cordies new teacher But mostly it is the lead up to the fateful night the girls go missing Tikka's reaction and the ongoing effect on her and Laura's lives many years down the track when certain incidents are viewed differently with the benefit of hindsight and experience The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone is well written and enjoyable It's a slow burning mystery and an intriguing one Don't expect to get all the answers served up neatly It isn't going to happen An author to watch 🐨🐨🐨🐨#TheVanApfelGirlsAreGone #NetGalley THE AUTHOR Felicity McLean is an Australian author and journalist This is her first novel DISCLOSURE Thank you to One World Publications Point Blank via NetGalley for providing a digital ARC of The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone by Felicity McLean for review All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreadscom profile page or the about page on sandysbookadaywordpresscom This review and others are also published on Twitter Instagram and my webpage 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 viewpointTikka's memories of growing up in the 1990s are evocative of the Australian childhood walking to school buying ice creams at the corner shop sleep over parties lazy summer days spent swimming in the pool and hanging out with the girls next door But there are darker memories the explosively cruel and religiously zealous Mr van Apfel who would punish his daughters for any perceived sin as well as a shady teacher who seems to be around Cordie than he should and there is a sense of menace that infuses Tikka's memoriesIt is the confident and graceful Cordie who Tikka most idolises and has trouble forgetting and even twenty years later she wonders if she could have done to help the police find the girls She also seems lost and unsure of her place in life and needs to overcome her sense of guilt and loss over the girls' disappearance With echoes of Picnic at Hanging Rock and The Virgin Suicides this is an intriguing and atmospheric mystery 35★I listened to the audio version narrated by Eloise Oxer I thought she did a good job with the female parts although I wasn't that keen on the male voices Part mystery part coming of age story The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone is set in a distant suburb on the encroaching bushland over the long hot summer of 1992 It's the summer of the school's Showstopper concert The summer Tikka never forgot The summer the Van Apfel sisters disappeared Blackly comic sharply observed and wonderfully endearing '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 the summer the Van Apfel sisters disappeared Hannah beautiful Cordelia and Ruth vanished during the night of the school's Showstopper concert at the amphitheatre by the river surrounded by encroaching bushlandNow years later Tikka has returned home to try and make sense of the summer that shaped her and the girls that she never forgotBlackly comic sharply observed and wonderfully endearing this is Picnic at Hanging Rock for a new generation a haunting coming of age story with a shimmering unexplained mystery at its heart 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 blurb blazons some big name comparisons So is this like Picnic at Hanging Rock? Only inasmuch as it’s set in Australia and some girls go missing Is it like The Virgin Suicides? Only inasmuch as those suburban girls are three blonde sisters This novel sits in that crossover zone between commercial literary fiction along with books like Jasper Jones but without the theme of racial prejudice or The Lovely Bones but without the violence and supernatural ghosties I feel I can pretty safely say that if you lovedhated those books you will lovehate Van Apfel Girls too For me it was good Readable enjoyable but not particularly memorable 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 than 50 years ago now and still have not been found No resolution to their story eitherThe author creates the most atmospheric Australian setting I have read in ages and her interpretation of the way children think and speak at each different age was spot on I feared for Cordy from page one She was so sexually aware for a thirteen year old from a strictly religious family that she was obviously destined for troubleTikka on the other hand was so intelligent on the one hand and so naïve on the other I loved her parents who brought their two daughters up with humour and understanding although they maybe made a few mistakes in the way they dealt with what was happening at their neighbour's houseIn the end the epilogue helped me make up my mind what happened to the Van Apfel Girls and I was satisfied This was an enjoyable well written book which I can recommend

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