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Island of Lost Girls: A Novel Paperback – April 22, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
At the start of McMahon's haunting second novel (after Promise Not to Tell), recent college grad Rhonda Farr witnesses a child abduction in front of a convenience store in Pike's Crossing, Vt. Ernestine Ernie Florucci willingly leaves her mother's car because her six-foot-tall abductor is wearing a rabbit suit. Rhonda remembers her best friend Lizzy's father entertaining her and Lizzy in a rabbit costume in 1993, and vanishing soon after. Three years later, Lizzy disappeared en route to high school. Guilt over her inability to stop Ernie's abduction spurs Rhonda to join the search for the girl. She recalls the summer that Lizzy's older brother, Peter, had them all perform Peter Pan, which was a great success, but there were dark secrets beneath the makeshift stage. McMahon expertly shifts between pivotal events in the past and present-day action, building tension to a resolution both poignant and shattering. (May)
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As in her assured debut novel, Promise Not to Tell (2007), McMahon offers a moving if bittersweet portrait of childhood. When a person dressed up in a rabbit costume abducts a little girl out of her car, the lone witness, Rhonda, is too stunned to act. As the small rural town mobilizes a search for the missing child, Rhonda, reeling with guilt, is reminded of another girl who went missing—her closest friend from childhood, Lizzy. Joyful memories of their youth spent putting on plays and exploring the woods alternate with darker moments: losing the love of her life, Lizzy’s brother, Peter, and the year an increasingly disheveled and moody Lizzy stopped talking to her or anyone else. Past and present merge as Rhonda closes in on the costumed abductor and also on the dark family secrets that tore their perfect childhood apart. McMahon spends a good deal of time setting the stage; however, once the pieces of the intricate plot are in place, readers will be hooked on both the mystery element and the coming-of-age aspects of this atmospheric novel. --Joanne Wilkinson
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Top Customer Reviews
As usual for McMahon, she crafted an intense story that deals with multiple generations of people and the story weaves back and forth through time. I've read some reviews that say this book was predictable but I didn't find that to be so. I had my suspicions about events taking place in the book, but then she surprised me and threw in plenty of twists and turns. It's so much fun to read McMahon because you are constantly guessing and that makes you want to continue reading. To me, she's the type of author who writes books that I want to stay up all night reading, just so I know the outcome.
Even though I really enjoyed the book, I didn't care for the main character, Rhonda. She came off as a weak woman. She flip-flopped her loyalties, and even though she was missing a lot of information, it was sort of infuriating to listen to her piece things together. She was naive and weak and those aren't characteristics that are likable in a main character. She spent her entire life pining away for a man who doesn't want her, has a degree in a STEM technology and yet, blows off interviews. Who's paying for your apartment and groceries, Rhonda?!
Overall, it was a very entertaining book and if you can get over the weak main character, it's well worth the time.
Rhonda is just waiting for her gas to be pumped when Peter rabbit appears in the Volkswagen Beetle and takes little Ernestine away. She doesn't know what to do she just watches, Trudy the girl's mother is furious that she just stood by and did nothing. She has an enormous amount of guilt and begins to pour herself into finding the little girl. Rhonda works phones at the call center and starts her own detective work to find out what happened to Ernie. Her childhood friend Peter is acting awfully strange and is beginning to look very guilty of being involved in the girls abduction, and the clues Rhonda find just lead back to Peter. All this brings Rhonda back to a time when she was younger and Peter's sister Lizzy, who also went missing, Rhonda wonders are the two connected and what exactly happened in 1993 when everything changed.
I have to say I really enjoyed this book, lots of action and a ton of suspense. This is the 2nd book I have read by Ms. McMahon and this book did not disappoint me at all. It is a well written and easy to follow through all the twists and turns. I really could understand Rhonda and the dilemma she carries of loving her childhood friend and not know who to trust. I would definitely give this book 5 stars out of 5.
The writing was very good, and I saw the twist coming about halfway through, but that still did not ruin the story. The main character Rhonda was boring and uninteresting. Not my favorite Jennifer McMahon book.
About the book....
One summer day, at a gas station in a small Vermont town, six-year-old is abducted by a person wearing a rabbit suit while her mother is buying lottery tickets. Rhonda Farr is the only witness, and she does nothing as she watches the scene unfold. The incident seemed so surreal, that she hardly realized a crime was in progress, and that the girl was being kidnapped. The little girl gets into the VW Bug with the rabbit , smiling while the rabbit even takes the time to fasten her seat belt.
The kidnapping forces Rhonda to face another disappearance, that of her best friend from childhood - Lizzy Shale who disappeared (13) years earlier. A person in a rabbit suit was around at the time of that abduction as well. Rhonda helps join in the search for the latest missing girl, partly out of guilt for her lost friend.
This book was one of those creepy, psychological thrillers, that makes some people (like me), a bit uncomfortable--squirming, and feeling a little hestitant to turn the next page. There were just 276 pages, culminating in a somewhat predictable conclusion. The book was still a worthwhile read, but in my opinion, it does not compare to Promise Not To Tell.