‘The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone’ spoiler-free review!

Hey everyone, hope you’re all having a great week 🙂 Today is my stop on the blog tour for The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone by Felicity McClean. Thank you Anne Cater/Point Blank Books for providing me with an ARC!

van apfel girls are gone


‘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 – disappear.

Eleven 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 forever.

my thoughts

One of my favourite things about this book is the setting. I could picture it so vividly from the very first page. The stifling heat almost seems to radiate from the pages, which definitely adds to the tension. I always think of atmospheric books as being cold or gloomy but this is definitely an atmospheric book if ever I read one. Admittedly, some of the Australian words and phrases would throw me off occasionally – but it’s always good to learn some new lingo when reading, right? 😉

This is a slow-burning but sinister thriller, with some real jaw-dropping moments. Honestly, things would be going along quite nicely and something would happen out of the blue that would truly shock me. Yet at the book’s heart is an endearing coming-of-age story. In that sense, it’s quite difficult to categorise this book; at times it almost felt like YA due to the narrator recounting her childhood, but there are definitely a lot of dark adult themes throughout.

I will say that the book is very open-ended and doesn’t wrap everything up neatly in a bow. So if you are a reader who likes to have all of your questions answered, you might not be satisfied with how this one concludes. But I think the point is not to reach a conclusive answer; it is to make the journey with the protagonist as she deals with her emotions surrounding what happened.

It’s hard to say much more about this one without giving away spoilers. So I’ll just end by saying I think this would be a great summer read for anyone who enjoys slow-burning thrillers with a bit of a twist!

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If you’re interested in this book, check out the other stops on the tour! x

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4 thoughts on “‘The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone’ spoiler-free review!

  1. While I do love the traditional Gothic atmospheric settings, I also love it when they are different. This setting sounds amazing. I’m not sure the book itself is up my alley, though, thrillers are usually something I avoid.


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