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The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone
The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone | Felicity McLean
28 posts | 32 read | 29 to read
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 bushland. Now, years later, Tikka has returned home to try and make sense of the summer that shaped her, and the girls that she never forgot. Blackly 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.
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MidnightBookGirl
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Pickpick

Catching up on August reviews!

Very reminiscent of The Virgin Suicides, this novel focuses on the three Van Apfel girls, especially on the charismatic middle daughter, Cordelia. Told from the point of view of Tikka, she and her sister Lauren's friendship with the Van Apfel girls is front and center. The timeline weaves through past and present, leading always toward when the three sisters disappeared.

Continued in comments

MidnightBookGirl The tension in the Van Apfel household is palpable, as is the new male teacher who seems to be ever crossing boundaries. Only one of the sisters is ever found, but that only lends to the mystery. I was as engrossed as Tikka in the Van Apfel girls, and I feel that their possible fate is going to linger in my mind. 2y
Megabooks You make me want to move this up the TBR pile! 2y
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WhimsyandRigor
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Pickpick

Although this was billed as a thriller, it was more about growing up with loss and what it means to move on from tragedy in childhood.

I especially loved the ending because everything was not neat and tidy, kinda like real life.

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ClairesReads
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Mehso-so

The Van April Girls are Gone is easy reading, with a killer sense of oppressive atmosphere. That being said it was a bit too conventional for me, and I found the meandering pace frustrating at times. If you‘re into resolutions, this probably isn‘t for you. A nice way to spend a weekend anyway.

Laru79 That view!! 😃 3y
BarbaraBB Great pic 😍 3y
ClairesReads @Laru79 it‘s pretty incredible. 3y
ClairesReads @BarbaraBB thank you! 3y
36 likes4 comments
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ClairesReads
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Easy reading weekend

Megabooks Thanks for reminding me I have this on kindle! 3y
ClairesReads @Megabooks haha no worries it‘s also been on my radar for aaaaages 3y
32 likes2 comments
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Hooked_on_books
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Bailedbailed

Three sisters go missing in 1990s Australia. One of their close friends is looking back on events from the current day in what is trying to be a character study draped in a thriller but fails at both. This book feels like it‘s trying to be a Eugenides book and failing. It felt like such a slog I can only quit halfway through. I just don‘t want to read it anymore.

Megabooks Yikes! I picked this up as an ebook. 3y
Cinfhen Me too @Megabooks but this is the second pan/bail I saw on Litsy for this book in the last 24 hours 😬🙄 3y
Megabooks @Cinfhen and @Emilymdxn gave it a so-so I think. 😬😬 3y
See All 6 Comments
Hooked_on_books @Megabooks @Cinfhen It‘s funny, I really waffled about getting this book. I like the title, cover, and setting, but for some reason wasn‘t sold on trying it. Then it was sitting on the new books shelf at the library, but it turns out my initial instinct to not read it was right. Hopefully it will work better for both of you than it did for me! 3y
Cinfhen It was definitely a #CoverBuy coupled with the #KindleDailyDeal draw ~ I‘ll probably bail but it was worth the $1.99 gamble @Megabooks @Hooked_on_books 3y
Emilymdxn I didn‘t hate it and I wouldn‘t warn anyone off reading it, my soso was a very ‘medium‘ eating but I‘d definitely say if you want to read the book you‘re hoping this will be, read or watch the virgin suicides instead 3y
49 likes6 comments
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Emilymdxn
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Mehso-so

This was fine, I did enjoy it and I liked the ending more than I think other readers did, I wouldn‘t NOT recommend it but in general it felt like a lower budget virgin suicides and made me wish I was rereading that instead. I would have rated it a pick except that it constantly made me wish I was reading a different book. I also thought the child‘s perspective wasn‘t done as well as in some books, it‘s quite rare to see that done well

Abailliekaras Agree! 🙃 3y
61 likes1 comment
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crhealey
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Mehso-so

This was a fun palate cleanser after reading two straight nonfiction books to start the year. However, I found young Tikka‘s narration to be rather annoying and like many other readers, did not love the ending.

Also, kept getting tripped up on Australian season being the opposite of American seasons. 😂 #weekendreads

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crhealey
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A dark, gloomy but 64 degree (😯) day in New England...took advantage of the weather and took a long, long walk to the library and back.

BookishMarginalia Nice choices! 3y
2 likes1 comment
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Well-ReadNeck
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Mehso-so

Just meh. A good and well-paced plot but an unsatisfying ending/wrap-up

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Eva_B
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Pickpick

This is somewhere between a ‘Pick‘ and a ‘So-So‘ Anyone who was a child or teen growing up in early ‘90s Australia will enjoy the depiction of that time. Very spot on. The book kept me engaged but I can‘t divulge my reservations without spoilers. So, you‘ll need to read it for yourselves 😀

CarolynM I've looked at this but decided against it. I'll have to look again. 3y
4 likes1 comment
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guinsgirlreads
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My shadow and I started this one this morning since we‘ve already been up forever before work.. #catsoflitsy ❤️

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Lizpixie
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Pickpick

This was such a strange little story, it reminded me very much Of Picnic At Hanging Rock. Like a hot Australian summer when the cicadas are at their peak, your thongs stick to the road & the seat belt becomes a branding iron, and you lie under a tree having heat dreams. That‘s what this novel makes me feel. Three sisters go missing one hot Aussie summer and all the secrets come wafting to the surface. #Pop19 #PublishedIn2019

marleed And I‘m thinking by thongs you mean the flip-flop sandal variety! Ooh, oww on the undergarment thong :) 4y
Lizpixie @marleed yes! The footware not the undies!That would be painful😳Sometimes I forget that not everyone is australian🇦🇺 4y
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AntoinetteBuchanan
Pickpick

I appreciated all the finely observed period detail but don‘t feel the resolution really worked. It would have been three stars but for the Perkin‘s Paste reference and the details of rissole making.

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SarahHarts_books
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Mehso-so

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

31 year Tikka, lives in Boston, but when she finds out her older sister has cancer she flies home to Australia to be with her.Returning home brings up memeries from a summer 20 years ago when 3 sisters - her neighbors- The Van Apfel girls disappear.
It was ok. 3?

47 likes1 stack add
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SarahHarts_books
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Getting through midweek with a book and my furry reading buddy. I love when she cuddles with me while I'm reading! 😍 #dogsoflitsy

brit91 Awwww so cute!!!!💖💙💚💛🧡💜❤💖 4y
SarahHarts_books @brit91 Thank you! She is such a good little girl. 4y
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Verity
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Pickpick

Another holiday read. This is an atmospheric and unsettling book about the summer three girls went missing from a small Australian town and the lingering effects decades on. My only complaint with this was with the ending, but I think that means it probably did exactly what it was designed to to do!

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KathrynElise
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1. Tagged 📖

2. Not really sure.. In terms of the presence of an LGBT character, probably ‘Priory of the Orange Tree‘.

3. Today just relaxing (hopefully), but I went to a friend‘s kitchen tea yesterday 🥂😊

#weekendreads @rachelsbrittain

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Abailliekaras
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Our new episode is up! Amanda & I discuss ‘The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone‘ by Felicity McLean. ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock‘ vibes in outer Sydney, it combines Australian Gothic with a wry coming-of-age tale. Would be a good book club pick. 🎧📚
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Does it love up to the hype? 👀 Let‘s just say it would be a great book club book. You‘ll want to talk about the ending of this one. 🤔
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Subscribe now and let us know your thoughts! 🎧

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Tashreads
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Pickpick

#bookreview ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫⁣
#thevanapfelgirlsaregone

We have all read countless books about missing girls, but this felt different. It wasn't your standard mystery - so some readers may be disappointed if going into it with those expectations. It is a coming of age story; a division between childhood and adulthood; a before and after. I really enjoyed Tikka's narration as a child - a precocious, lively voice that made me smile.⁣ Loved it.

RatherTooFondofBooks I‘m reading this at the moment and it‘s so good. I can‘t wait to get back to it. 4y
54 likes1 comment
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RatherTooFondofBooks
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Just started reading this today and it‘s so good! I was reading in the garden in the sun earlier and it felt like the perfect place to read this. 😊 #amreading

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Madison91
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Mehso-so

This was going to be 5 stars until I got to the end. I wrote contains spoilers although I won‘t give any details away. Just the fact that I read the whole thing in a day loved every chapter and then finished it to find no more pages to help my frustration. My perfect genre the worst ending 😭

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Tashreads
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Described as Picnic at Hanging Rock for a new generation. We shall see.

AntoinetteBuchanan I have it on reserve - will be interested in your opinion.
4y
50 likes3 stack adds1 comment
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Abailliekaras
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Podcast prep with my new ‘best mum ever‘ cup. 😜 #booksonthego

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Lizpixie
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#BookMail Pt4 I‘ve been really lucky to find signed books online, especially coz in Australia it‘s hard to get them, few authors make the trip here to promote books. Booktopia.com.au has been making an effort to get books signed which is great, but it‘s mostly Aussie authors like this one. Set on the outskirts of sydney, the Van Apfel girls disappear after a riverside concert, uniting the community while suspicions swirl.

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Jbakesmcgee3
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Pickpick

😱😱😱😱

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Abailliekaras
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Mehso-so

Mixed feelings. The characters feel real, Tikka is a fun, precocious 11 year old narrator. It evokes well the feeling of summer as a teen in suburban Australia. Comparisons to Picnic at Hanging Rock are apt (haunting disappearance of 3 girls) but it doesn‘t quite nail the landscape (it‘s both a ‘valley‘ & a suburban street) which was a huge part of Picnic & why the ambiguity worked. I found the ending an anticlimax - it didn‘t resolve.

JennyM That‘s a shame. I have this lined up my next audio. 4y
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NeptunesBounty
Pickpick

This is a fantastic read for someone looking for a Picnic at Hanging Rock-esque mystery, with tones of the scary sometimes reality of religious fanaticism. A fairly short read, it makes for a good one to curl up with when you have a good cup of tea and a cat to snuggle with.

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NeptunesBounty
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Let‘s see how this one turns out! I knocked over about four books from my TBR yesterday, but I have assignments to do now, so this one may take a little longer. 😅