Book Buzz
Image. Advertisement:
Book Buzz is a promotional newsletter supported by the publishers.


Award-winning former ghostwriter Felicity McLean delivers a haunting debut literary mystery that’s already become an international sensation.


Advance praise

‘Sharp, mysteriously moving and highly entertaining.’—Robert Drewe

‘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 compelling mystery by Felicity McLean has a rare depth of psychological and emotional truth. It will engage your heart.’—Delia Ephron

‘Beautifully atmospheric.’—Melina Marchetta

‘I deeply admire the languid, lived-in prose of Felicity McLean’s lovely novel The Van Apfel Girls are Gone. This is a story as much about forgiving ourselves our own childhoods, as it is about acknowledging and embracing the people we’ve become because of those adolescent (and sometimes life-altering) choices.’—Hannah Pittard, author of Visible Empire

‘Engrossing and goosebumpy from start to finish … the magic of McLean’s art is not just her gift for evoking, in almost hallucinogenic detail, her haunted narrator’s childhood—a time and place linked to Australia’s notorious true-life story of a baby dragged off in the night by a wild animal—but to do so in the most charming and irresistible of narrative voices. The result is a novel that is as delightful as it is terrifying, and just scary good.’—Tim Johnston, bestselling author of Descent and The Current

‘I got the same buzz reading this novel as I did when I read Trent Dalton’s Boy Swallows Universe last year. It is addictive. It is mysterious. It is compulsive and it is going to be one of the big books of 2019.’Jon Page, Pages & Pages

‘For readers who were captivated by The Virgin Suicides or Picnic at Hanging Rock. Unforgettable.’Books+Publishing five-star review


About the book

Australian author Felicity McLean is an international publishing sensation with rights to The Van Apfel Girls are Gone already sold to the US, UK, Spain and France.

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 Molloy was eleven and one-sixth years old. The summer she never forgot. 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.

The Van Apfel Girls are Gone
Publication: 18 March 2019
Category: Fiction
Format: Trade pb
ISBN: 9781460755068
RRP: $32.99


Felicity McLean introduces ‘The Van Apfel Girls are Gone’


About the author

Felicity McLean is a writer and a journalist. Her writing has appeared in Good Weekend, the Daily Telegraph, the Herald Sun, the Big Issue and more. Her latest book, Body Lengths, was co-written with Olympian Leisel Jones. It won the 2016 Australian Book Industry Awards ‘Reader’s Choice’ for Small Publisher Adult Book of the Year, and it was Apple iBook’s ‘Best Biography of 2015′. As a ghostwriter she has collaborated with celebrities, sports stars, business leaders and others. The Van Apfel Girls are Gone is her debut novel.


Missing girls … missing chapter?

Have you already read one of our advance proof copies of The Van Apfel Girls are Gone? Well, you might be interested to know that—in a nod to the famously missing last chapter of Picnic at Hanging Rock—Felicity McLean has in fact added an extra chapter to the ending of The Van Apfel Girls are Gone. Will it explain what happens or only deepen the mystery? It’s up to the reader to decide …

Click here to read the new ending or be one of the first 20 people to email to win a free finished copy of this stunning debut.




Contact us


Kelsey Oldham

Digital editor
Brad Jefferies

Acting editor, Daily
Matthia Dempsey

Editorial assistant
Anthea Yang

Classifieds, jobs and notices

Display advertising

Select newsletters

Select which newsletters you’d like to receive here.
Unsubscribe from individual newsletters here.
Or unsubscribe from all newsletters here.

View articles

Purchase a subscription to Books+Publishing to view all articles on the website.

If you need help with your subscription, please email the Subscriptions team.