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Island of Lost Girls

Cover of Island of Lost Girls

Island of Lost Girls

A Novel
While parked at a gas station, Rhonda sees something so incongruously surreal that at first she hardly recognizes it as a crime in progress. She watches, unmoving, as someone dressed in a rabbit...More
While parked at a gas station, Rhonda sees something so incongruously surreal that at first she hardly recognizes it as a crime in progress. She watches, unmoving, as someone dressed in a rabbit...More
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Description-
  • While parked at a gas station, Rhonda sees something so incongruously surreal that at first she hardly recognizes it as a crime in progress. She watches, unmoving, as someone dressed in a rabbit costume kidnaps a young girl. Devastated over having done nothing, Rhonda joins the investigation. But the closer she comes to identifying the abductor, the nearer she gets to the troubling truth about another missing child: her best friend, Lizzy, who vanished years before.

    From the author of the acclaimed Promise Not to Tell comes a chilling and mesmerizing tale of shattered innocence, guilt, and ultimate redemption.

Excerpts-
  • Chapter One

    June 5, 2006

    Rhonda Farr had two Peters in her life: the Peter she loved but could not have, and now the white rabbit, which she, not unlike Alice in Wonderland, seemed destined to chase down the hole. But Alice's rabbit was not named Peter. The only Peter Rabbit Rhonda had known was the one in the storybook by Beatrix Potter, a common brown rabbit with a white fluffy tail, who just couldn't stay out of poor Mr. McGregor's garden.

    On the other hand, Rhonda's Peter Rabbit was Ernestine Florucci's rabbit: all white and, as she would tell the police, about six feet tall.

    "A rabbit?" the state troopers would ask, hands poised to scribble notes in black pads. "Six feet tall? Are you sure?"

    Though the police were skeptical, Ernestine's mother, Trudy, believed Rhonda's story; she believed her but refused to forgive her.

    The lives of Ernestine, Trudy, and Rhonda—maybe the lives of everyone in Pike's Crossing—had changed forever in about three minutes. The time it takes to soft-boil an egg.

    It was well past Easter when Peter Rabbit appeared to Rhonda, swooping away little Ernestine. It was the fifth of June, and Rhonda had pulled into Pat's Mini Mart to fill her tank so she could make it to a job interview in Burlington that afternoon. She was running late, but she needed to stop, there was nothing in the tank but fumes. She also thought she might see Peter. Rhonda had been nearly out of gas all weekend, waiting until today to stop, because she knew Peter would be at the garage.

    Visiting him before the interview, even just a quick Hey, how's tricks, Ronnie? would give her a little jump start. She avoided his house because then she'd have to make small talk with Tock, come up with some excuse for stopping by, and, most painful of all, Suzy would come out and circle around her, jumping up and down—a cherubic reminder of the futility of Rhonda's situation.

    It was a perfect early-June day, the temperature hovering in the mid-seventies. Rhonda drove with her windows open, inhaling the scent of newly mown grass and just-opened lilacs in people's yards. The campgrounds around Nickel Lake had opened on Memorial Day and Rhonda could smell the smoke from the campfires. Brightly colored blow-up toys hung from hooks on the rafters in front of Pat's: sea monsters, inner tubes, a small yellow raft, and a grinning crocodile with handles and cup holders. Overpriced bundles of camp wood were stacked below. Two ice machines stood to the left of the front door and a sign in the window promised cold beer, camping supplies, and night crawlers inside. Summer was here. And there was Rhonda, overdressed in a pressed white shirt and khaki suit. She eyed the crocodile longingly.

    The interview she was probably going to be late to wasn't even for a job she particularly wanted. It was in her field (she'd graduated two weeks before with a BS in biology) and would look good on her résumé: research assistant for a University of Vermont study of zebra mussels—invasive mollusks that were hell bent on taking over Lake Champlain, encrusting water pipes and shipwrecks on its floors, crowding out the natives.

    Pat's Mini Mart was the only place in Pike's Crossing to buy gas. It was also close to Nickel Lake, so they got a lot of business from campers and folks with summer cottages. Pat's was also rumored to be the best place in the area to buy lottery tickets. They'd had a jackpot winner two weeks before—two hundred fifty thousand dollars—and a five thousand dollar winner before that.

    Rhonda would later learn that it was the lottery tickets Trudy Florucci stopped for that day. She carried her lucky numbers in the pocket of her acid-wash denim jacket along with enough money for four...

About the Author-
  • Jennifer McMahon is the author of Dismantled, the New York Times bestseller Island of Lost Girls, and the breakout debut novel Promise Not to Tell. She lives in Vermont with her partner, Drea, and their daughter, Zella.

Reviews-
  • Keith Donohue, bestselling author of THE STOLEN CHILD

    "Island of Lost Girls is an unsettling account of the secret lives of children, told in unexpected twists and turns, as if Alice had fallen down the wrong rabbit hole and lost her childhood. McMahon never flinches, but her readers will at every dark secret."

  • Publishers Weekly

    "Haunting . . . McMahon expertly shifts between pivotal events in the past and present-day action, building tension to a resolution both poignant and shattering."

  • Kirkus Reviews

    "Well-crafted."

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    HarperCollins
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  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

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