Books

by Jennifer McMahon
Harper Paperbacks, April 2008, $

McMahon proves her extraordinary talent is no fluke in a strong follow-up to her original and imaginative debut, Promise Not to Tell. When Rhonda Farr stops at a gas station on her way to interview for a job she doesn't want, she watches as a six-foot-tall white rabbit beckons to a small girl sitting in a nearby car. The girl smiles and climbs out to take his paw. It's not until they're out of sight that Rhonda realizes she's witnessed an abduction. Nobody knows who the man in the rabbit suit could be. And the little girl vanishes completely--just like Rhonda's best friend, Lizzy, who disappeared when they were children.

Residents of Rhonda's small New England community throw themselves into the search, and she becomes obsessed with the vanished child, feeling instinctively there's a connection with her own past and her close circle of friends, a circle that was broken when Lizzy vanished.

McMahon's genius is in the lyrical depiction of childhood relationships and the imaginative landscape they inhabit. The story weaves between past and present, with vividly realized scenes set in the past where characters, as children, acted out a performance of Peter Pan in a forest clearing, poised at the threshold between Neverland and adulthood. However, in this version of the story, it's not the boys who are lost. Though there are none of the supernatural elements of McMahon's first novel, she shows again that she has a rare gift for plumbing the emotional depths of childhood friendships. Even without ghosts, the Island of Lost Girls is haunting.

Barbara Fister

McMahon proves her extraordinary talent is no fluke in a strong follow-up to her original and imaginative debut, Promise Not to Tell. When Rhonda Farr stops at a gas station on her way to interview for a job she doesn't want, she watches as a six-foot-tall white rabbit beckons to a small girl sitting in a nearby car. The girl smiles and climbs out to take his paw. It's not until they're out of sight that Rhonda realizes she's witnessed an abduction. Nobody knows who the man in the rabbit suit could be. And the little girl vanishes completely--just like Rhonda's best friend, Lizzy, who disappeared when they were children.

Residents of Rhonda's small New England community throw themselves into the search, and she becomes obsessed with the vanished child, feeling instinctively there's a connection with her own past and her close circle of friends, a circle that was broken when Lizzy vanished.

McMahon's genius is in the lyrical depiction of childhood relationships and the imaginative landscape they inhabit. The story weaves between past and present, with vividly realized scenes set in the past where characters, as children, acted out a performance of Peter Pan in a forest clearing, poised at the threshold between Neverland and adulthood. However, in this version of the story, it's not the boys who are lost. Though there are none of the supernatural elements of McMahon's first novel, she shows again that she has a rare gift for plumbing the emotional depths of childhood friendships. Even without ghosts, the Island of Lost Girls is haunting.

Xav ID 1
1225

by Jennifer McMahon
Harper Paperbacks, April 2008, $

McMahon
April 2008
island-of-lost-girls
Harper Paperbacks