“ONE PART MYSTERY, ONE MILLION PARTS AMAZING.”
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.
In McLean's eerie debut, narrator Tikka Malloy can't forget the summer of 1992: that was the summer her three best friends, the Van Apfel sisters Hannah, Ruth, and the hauntingly beautiful Cordelia walked off into the wild bushland near their Australian suburb, never to be seen again. In a winding novel of flashbacks and hidden memories, readers see Tikka, now a woman in her 30s who has since moved to Baltimore, unable to move past that one summer. Returning to Australia to care for her sister, Laura, who was recently diagnosed with cancer, Tikka navigates the shadowy past of her childhood. Through conversations with Laura, neighbors, and her parents, Tikka stumbles upon painful feelings of guilt, hidden secrets and scandals, and memories better left forgotten. McLean peels back the layers of one scorching Australian summer, revealing the dark secrets and lies hidden behind the cheerful facade of suburbia. This debut, part coming-of-age story and part crime thriller, is both forceful and unnerving.