Friday, August 30, 2019

The Van Apfel Girls are Gone by Felicity McLean - ESSENTIAL

The Van Apfel Girls are Gone by Felicity McLean, 304 pages. Algonquin Books (Workman Publishing), 2019. $16. 

Language: PG; Mature Content: PG; Violence: PG 



Tikka and her older sister, Laura, lost their best friends and neighbors when they were children and have never really recovered. Tikka moved away from their home in Australia to Baltimore, but even the distance didn’t fix the searching for the Van Apfel girls everywhere she went. When she returns because Laura is very ill, all of the memories of the summer their friends went missing return. Tikka flashes back and forth from the past to the present trying to figure out as an adult what really happened. 

Tikka is a limited view narrator as an adult and as a child and her descriptions of their life in wilds of Australia are compelling and reminiscent of how it feels to be a tween and only get told half of everything you want to know and needing to fill in the blanks. Even though Tikka tells the story as an adult, in so many ways, she is still a lost child and that narrator voice is tragic and endearing. The story of childhood friendships, sisters, and loss that girls all over the world will understand. 

Dina W. - ELA teacher

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