Felicity McLean

Books Tara Wynne, Email Tara Wynne

The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone

Longlisted for the Indie Book Awards 2020
book | Fiction | Mar 2019
ANZ → HarperCollins (Ed. Catherine Milne)
UK → Oneword (Ed. Jenny Parrott)

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.

Brilliantly observed, sharp, lively, funny and entirely endearing, this novel is part mystery, part coming-of-age story - and quintessentially Australian. Think The Virgin Suicides meets Jasper Jones meets Picnic at Hanging Rock.


Audio Rights


Film Rights


Contact Luke Speed for more information

Kate Cooper manages the translation rights for The Van Apfel Girls Are Gone

Translation Rights Sold

Presses De La Cite
Polar Verlag
Ediciones Siruela

A smart, classy thriller that blazes with the heat of
Australia and slowly reveals its many layers.

Fiona Mozley
Author of Elmet, 2017 Man Booker Prize finalist

This novel is one that will haunt readers long after they have turned the last page.

Bookseller and Publisher Australia ( Five Stars)
Full Review

A smart debut. Beautifully atmospheric with its great sense of time and place.

Melina Marchetta
Author of Looking for Alibrandi

The Van Apfel Girls are Gone calls to mind The Virgin Suicides, Picnic at Hanging Rock with a dash of To Kill a Mockingbird. Certainly the writing bears the comparison.

Kate Downey
The Leaf Bookshop

Sharp, mysteriously moving and highly entertaining.

Robert Drewe
Walkley Award-winning journalist and author

Engrossing and goosebumpy from start to finish… a novel that is as delightful as it is terrifying, and just scary good.

Tim Johnston
Bestselling author of Descent and The CurrentI

This novel is one that will haunt readers long after they have turned the last page.

Angela Elizabeth
Books + Publishing

I deeply admire the languid, lived-in prose of Felicity McLean’s lovely novel.

Hannah Pittard
Author of Visible Empire

'An entrancing, melancholy debut from a young Australian that evokes the country and its climate as the background to a mystery about what happened to the three young Van Apfel sisters, who disappeared two decades ago....Mesmerising.'

Daily Mail
Full Review

'.....readers who enjoy something haunting, atmospheric and genuinely mysterious have a treat in store.'


'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.'

Publishers Weekly

 One would expect the author, who has a background in journalism and biography, to be particularly good at detailing the who, what, where, and when of a mysterious disappearance. She is.

Washington Independent Review of Books

This is every bit a coming-of-age story, and the sense of menace and melancholy that hangs over it are enough to draw in any sort of reader. Equal parts THE VIRGIN SUICIDES and PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK, with a ton of Australian personality thrown in, McLean’s debut novel is sharp, endearing and unforgettable.”


Tara Wynne

Email Tara Wynne
Cathryn Summerhayes
+44 (0)207 393 4281
Email Cathryn Summerhayes
Translation Rights
Kate Cooper
+44 020 7393 4425
Email Kate Cooper